In search of more Presidential Innovation Fellows

man with light bulb sign

The federal government wants to tap private sector big data, crowdsourcing and digital services experts in the third round of its Presidential Innovation Fellows program.

The initiative, said a March 6 blog post on the General Services Administration's website, pairs talented  individuals from outside government with top federal innovators to implement projects intended to make the federal government work better.

GSA, said the post, is now taking applications for the third round through April 7.

The program, said the post by U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park and GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini, brings in original thinkers, gifted designers, tech-savvy strategists, private-sector doers, inventors, entrepreneurs, and talented developers and engineers to brainstorm and work on a wide range of.

Acquisition, open data and disaster recovery were among the projects taken up in the first two rounds. RFP-EZ, a system created by one of the 2012 inaugural teams, makes it easier for the government to seek bids on certain IT services. More recently, program fellows helped expand the Blue Button Initiative that helps Americans gain secure, online access to their own health care information.

The third round, said Tangherlini and Park, would take aim at 14 projects focused in 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 new initiative to create a “digital by default” experience that provides better, faster access to services and complements the VA’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 federal efforts to liberate government data by making information resources more accessible to the public and usable in computer readable forms, and to spur the use of 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: This initiative will leverage technology and innovation to engage the public as a strategic partner in solving difficult challenges and improving the way government works—from helping NASA find asteroid threats to improving the quality of U.S. patents to unlocking information contained in government records.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.

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