Citizen Engagement

New challenges face the new Presidential Innovation Fellows

RFP-EZ Components

RFP-EZ, a system to make it easier to receive bids for certain services, was one of the noteable successes of the 2012 Presidential Innovation Fellows program. Launched in January, the system has already slashed bid prices and drawn hundreds of new businesses into federal contracting.

The White House's Presidential Innovation Fellows program has deployed 43 new recruits from around the country to serve 6- to 12-month tours of duty building on the program's first-year successes in 2012.

These private-sector imports will work directly with top government innovators to solve government-specific problems such as saving taxpayer dollars, spurring job creation and designing solutions that could help save lives during disasters.

Last year's initial class of 18 fellows experienced several major successes in tackling five inaugural projects, including RFP-EZ, a system created by one of last year's teams that makes it easier for the government to seek bids on certain IT services. The program attracted 270 new businesses to federal IT procurement and slashed bid prices by 30 percent compared to FedBizOpps, the government's standard procurement vehicle.

This year's PIF program is a major expansion over last year's effort, according to a White House blog post authored by Jennifer Pahlka and Dan Tangherlini, deputy federal CTO for Government Innovation and acting administrator for the General Services Administration, respectively. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Office of Management and Budget have partnered with GSA for the program's second round, hoping to ensure that fellow-driven innovations can be better distributed by GSA to myriad other federal agencies.

"Through this new partnership with GSA, which already works with every agency in the Federal Government, the prototype solutions that PIFs build will spread more efficiently throughout Government, enabling the program's positive outcomes to reach more people more quickly," Pahlka and Tangherlini wrote.

The expansion is also reflected in the increased number of projects fellows will undertake.

Some will work on second phases on last year's projects: RFPEZ, Blue Button, Open Data and MyUSA. Others will focus on the following all-new efforts: Disaster Response & Recovery, Cyber-Physical Systems, MyData Initiatives, Innovation Toolkit, 21st Century Financial Systems, Development Innovation Ventures and VA Modernization.

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group