White House selects innovation fellows for five federal projects

Thursday - 8/23/2012, 11:59am EDT

Ruben Gomez, reporter, Federal News Radio

Download mp3

By Ruben Gomez & Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park called for a few "bad- ass innovators" to help on five "high-impact" federal IT projects in a speech last spring. On Thursday, Park named 18 innovators who will spend six months in Washington working on these projects.

The Presidential Innovation Fellows were selected out of 700 applicants for their data, coding and programming expertise.

"These private sector innovators bring their entrepreneurial expertise to the table that has helped jump-start high-tech companies, increase efficiency and public engagement, and redefine how technology is used in business," Park said in a statement.

U.S. CTO Todd Park

The fellows program also aims to help the shortfalls in federal agency productivity, said Jeff Zients acting director of the Office of Management and Budget. "The best metric is some work done by [McKinsey & Company], which says that the federal sector has grown productivity, but slower than the private sector," he said. "So central to closing that productivity gap is improving innovation and technology in the federal government."

Federal agencies selected projects for the innovation program, with the goal of boosting the U.S. economy "while also significantly improving the ability of the federal government to serve the American people," Park said. The projects are:

  • RFP-EZ will create an online marketplace aimed at making it easier for agencies to contract with high-tech startup companies.

  • Blue Button America will encourage the private sector to enable citizens' electronic access to their healthcare information. The program will build on the government's success in a similar project for Veterans, service members and Medicare beneficiaries.

  • MyGov will create a prototype of an online system aimed at simplifying citizen access to agency services.

  • The 20% Initiative aims to transitions international development assistance payments from cash to electronic methods.

  • Open Data Initiatives will try to "accelerate and expand" federal efforts to publish government data online in a "computer-readable" form. The goal is to spur innovation, and ultimately economic growth, in the private sector.

Click here for the list of fellows.

RELATED STORIES

Five innovation projects win governmentwide 'bake-off'

White House looking for a few 'bad asses' to kick-start 5 projects

Federal CTO plans new networking tool to spur innovation