Today, we are very excited to announce that applications are now being accepted for the third round of the Presidential Innovation Fellows program. This initiative pairs talented, diverse individuals from outside government with top Federal innovators to implement game-changing projects that make the Federal Government work better for the American people.
At its core, the Presidential Innovation Fellows Program is as strong as the incredible people that are willing to join this effort and serve their country. That’s why we want the best and brightest individuals—original thinkers, gifted designers, tech-savvy strategists, private-sector doers, inventors, entrepreneurs, and talented developers and engineers—to offer up their skills and expertise to create huge value for the American public.
Round 3 will include 14 projects that focus on addressing three high-impact initiatives:
- Making Digital the Default: Building a 21st Century Veterans Experience: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is embarking on a bold new initiative to create a “digital by default” experience for our Nation’s veterans that provides better, faster access to services and complements the Department’s work to eliminate the disability claims backlog.
- Data Innovation: Unleashing the Power of Data Resources to Improve Americans’ Lives: This initiative aim to accelerate and expand the Federal Government’s efforts to liberate government data by making these information resources more accessible to the public and useable in computer readable forms, and to spur the use of those data by companies, entrepreneurs, citizens, and others to fuel the creation of new products, services, and jobs.
- By the People, for the People: Crowdsourcing to Improve Government: Crowdsourcing is a powerful way to organize people, mobilize resources, and gather information. This initiative will leverage technology and innovation to engage the American public as a strategic partner in solving difficult challenges and improving the way government works—from helping NASA find asteroid threats to human populations to improving the quality of U.S. patents to unlocking information contained in government records.
More information on each project is available here.
Since the initiative launched two years ago, Presidential Innovation Fellows, along with their government teammates, have been delivering impressive results—at start-up velocity. Fellows have unleashed the power of open government data to spur the creation of new products and jobs; improved the ability of the Federal government to respond effectively to natural disasters; designed pilot projects that make it easier for new economy companies to do business with the Federal Government; and much more. Their impact is enormous.
For example, Fellows recently helped expand the Blue Button Initiative, which is helping Americans across the country gain secure, online access to their own healthcare information. Through the work of Fellows and their government teammates, the Blue Button Initiative has expanded its reach to more than 150 million Americans who are today able to use Blue Button-enabled tools to access their own health information from a variety of sources including healthcare providers, health insurance companies, medical labs, and state health information networks.
Another recent example of the Fellows in action is their work at the Smithsonian Institute to develop a crowdsourcing platform that allows the public to transcribe handwritten historic documents and records. This kind of innovative approach will not only support important research, but provide an important avenue for the public to help preserve our Nation’s history. In just six months, Fellows developed and launched an end-to-end solution for creating digital records for historic files, which in turn engaged thousands of volunteers who have helped to transcribe and review more than 3,000 historic and scientific records —which are now easily accessible to the public for the first time.
Looking ahead, the next round of Presidential Innovation Fellows will continue to build on these successes as well as tackle a new set of challenges.
This is an opportunity to truly transform how government works for the people it serves. The work will be challenging, but promises to be tremendously rewarding. The first step is to apply here. We can’t wait to see what the third round of Fellows will do!
Todd Park is Assistant to the President and U.S. Chief Technology Officer
Dan Tangherlini is Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration