Today at TechCrunch Disrupt NY, Steven VanRoekel, the US Chief Information Officer and Todd Park, the U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President announced the Presidential Innovation Fellows, a six month program that will bring in innovative developers and designers across the US startup scene to Washington DC, where they will collaborate with the public sector on “game-changing solutions” that will “deliver significant business results.” In other words, the US Government knows it’s inefficient and lacks the kind of innovation that the private tech sector knows best, so it is boldly taking a startup-inspired approach to rapidly improve itself.
Each team of innovators will work together “on focused sprints while being supported by a broader community of interested citizens throughout the country.” According the the announcement, “what makes this initiative unique is its focus on unleashing the ingenuity and know-how of Americans from all sectors.”
Within the complete program, there will be five projects launching this summer with “straightforward goals: to improve the lives of the American people, saving taxpayer money, and fueling job creation. This is innovation aimed at making a difference for all Americans.”
From The White House:
Reimagine the relationship between the federal government and its citizens through an online footprint developed not just for the people, but also by the people.
Stimulate a rising tide of innovation that utilizes government data to create tools that help Americans better navigate their world, whether it’s finding the right health care provider, identifying the college that provides the best value for their money, saving money on electricity bills through smarter shopping or keeping their families safe by knowing which products have been recalled, and much more.
Develop apps and create awareness of tools that help individuals get access to their personal health records — current medications and drug allergies, claims and treatment data, and lab reports – that can improve their health and healthcare.
Build a platform that makes it easier for small high-growth businesses to navigate the federal government, and enables agencies to quickly source low-cost, high-impact information technology solutions.
Create a system that enables US government programs to seamlessly move from making cash payments to support foreign policy, development assistance, government operations or commercial activities to using electronic payments such as mobile devices, smart cards and other methods.
This announcement is just one piece in a larger push for an all around better Digital Government, where everything from consumer-facing resources to complex APIs should be made more accessible and readily available.
All in all, this is simply an unavoidable decision, as the US Government will undoubtably be left behind in the wider-reaching digital revolution if they don’t fight to keep up — that is, if the US wants to provide first-class services for citizens and dive into the tech that it is legislating around.
Visit the Presidential Innovation Fellows site to learn more and apply.