Innovation

Four finalists left in SAVE Award competition

concept art innovation

Obama administration officials have picked four finalists in a search for inventive ways to lower costs in the government.

The ideas that made the almost-final cut for the 2012 Securing Americans Value and Efficiency (SAVE) Award are:

Post customs inspection information online. Laurie Dempsey from the Homeland Security Department suggested putting the Customs and Border Protection’s weekly bulletin of all imported items that have completed the inspection process on CBP.gov. CBP currently prints the bulletin that can be hundreds of pages long. It would save paper, reduce costs and make it easier to find items without coming to the office.

Use digital transcription instead of court reporters. Federal meetings and hearings often require a transcription of what is said. James Szender from the Interior Department said digital equipment is significantly cheaper than contracting with a certified court reporter to attend, record, and then transcribe the proceedings.

Host more conference calls and video calls to lessen the demand for shuttle buses. Angela Leroux from the Internal Revenue Service said buses often shuttle a few passengers from one office to another, but largely sit idle. The government could also offer Metro cards for employees who must travel.

Have older federal employees use the reduced senior fare, when they are eligible. Frederick Winter of the Education Department suggested the lower fares could save 50 percent on travel in the Washington, DC, metro area, with no loss of benefits.

Traditionally, the winner gets to present her or his idea to the president in the Oval Office. Agencies will consider other proposals for potential action or inclusion in the president’s budget proposal.

Government employees and the public can vote for the winner. To get more information and vote, click here.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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