the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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Wanted: A Few Good Women and Men to Serve as Presidential Innovation Fellows

A new initiative will bring top innovators from outside government for focused “tours of duty” with our best federal innovators on game-changing projects

Today, we are very excited to be launching the new Presidential Innovation Fellows program.  This new initiative will bring top innovators from outside government for focused “tours of duty” with our best federal innovators on game-changing projects. Combining the know-how of citizen change agents and government change agents in small, agile teams that move at high speed, these projects aim to deliver significant results within six months.      

We are kicking off the program with five projects that seek to save taxpayers money, fuel job creation, and improve the return government is delivering to the American people:   

  • The Open Data Initiatives Program: This program aims to stimulate a rising tide of entrepreneurship that uses data from governmental and non-governmental sources to create tools that can help Americans better navigate their world, such as by finding the right health care provider, identifying the college that provides the best value for their money, saving money on electricity bills through smarter energy shopping, keeping their families safe by knowing which products have been recalled, and much more. Building upon prior success stories in which entrepreneurial innovators built amazing products based on the release of  weather, GPS, and health-related data, this program will speed and expand the release of government data and voluntarily-contributed private-sector data in machine-readable form in realms including health, education, energy, safety, the nonprofit sector, and personal finance.  Through ideation workshops, codeathons, and “datapaloozas” that showcase the best innovations, the program will actively stimulate the creation of new apps and services by creative entrepreneurs– improving the lives of Americans in many tangible ways and creating jobs of the future at the same time.              
  • Blue Button for America: This initiative will seek to expand nationwide adoption of Blue Button, a capability that enables consumers to securely download electronic copies of their own health information.  It will create tools that make adoption and operation of Blue Button even easier by public-sector and private-sector organizations, and also stimulate the development of new apps and services by entrepreneurs that can help consumers use Blue Button data to improve their health and care.  
  • MyGov: This project will reimagine the relationship between the Federal Government and citizens by rapidly prototyping a streamlined, intuitive online system that Americans can use to easily access the right information and services for them from across the U.S. Government and also provide feedback about their interactive experience.   
  • RFP-EZ: This project will develop a process and a platform that makes it easier for the Federal Government to procure innovative technology solutions from small, high-growth companies. This will enable more startups to access the government marketplace, fueling job growth, and will also result in the adoption of lower-cost, higher-impact IT solutions by agencies, saving taxpayers money and improving results delivered.    
  • The 20% Campaign: This USAID-led initiative seeks to create a system that enables US Government programs to seamlessly move away from making cash payments to support foreign policy, development assistance, government operations, or commercial activities and transition to using electronic payment mechanisms such as mobile devices, smart cards, and other methods. Moving from cash to electronic payment promises to reduce waste and administrative costs while simultaneously improving outcomes significantly. 

We’re looking for about 15 amazing innovators who are interested in coming to Washington, DC, for 6- to 12-month Fellowships, beginning in July, to work on these projects. We’d also like to connect with folks who may not be able to come to DC to be a Fellow, but who are interested in following the progress of these five projects and participating in them in some way – for example, entrepreneurs who are interested in learning more about government data resources that are becoming available and developing innovative products that make use of these data. 

You can express interest in being a Fellow or in following and participating in one of the five projects in another capacity at

This is a terrific opportunity to sign up to create, and drive change for your country!  If you are an accomplished innovator and if one of these five projects gets you fired up, we encourage you to throw your hat into the ring to join the team!