Craigslist founder to work with VA

Craig Newmark will help judge ideas on how the VA can improve benefits delivery

The founder of Craigslist will join a panel of judges who'll review ideas on how to improve processing times for veterans’ disability claims, the Veterans Affairs Department has announced.

Craig Newmark, Craigslist’s founder, will help review the ideas gathered during an innovation competition that let VA employees submit ideas on how to improve delivery of benefits, VA officials said Nov. 4.

VA officials from the department's 57 regional offices across the country submitted ideas that will be reviewed by the panel. Patrick Dunne, the VA's undersecretary for benefits, is chairman of the panel.

The VA has received and reviewed more than 3,000 suggestions since Sept. 8, the department said. The panel will review the top 17 submissions and choose five projects that will receive full funding for project development and execution at the regional office that submitted the idea, according to the VA.

“Leveraging the talent, innovation and creativity of stakeholders, like Craig Newmark, is just one of the many ways VA can think outside of the box to help deliver tangible results to our nation's veterans,” said Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

The Internet and other technologies can help government agencies transform how work gets done, Newmark said.

“I am very encouraged by the fact that VA is embracing new ways to look at old problems,” he said.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Mon, Nov 9, 2009

The article didn't highlight the connection between Craig's lessons leared from the Craigslist project and the goals of the VA contest. And, even if you don't know that Craig carried Craigslist on his own for a long time along with volunteers to keep it free and true to the goal of getting scaling it up and delivering that level of utility/functionality to everyone, you should know that Craigslist remains... (1) a empowering worldwide application (2) a game changer/disruptor - all the other eCommerce businesses insist on shaving nickels, dimes and personal info out of everyone every step of the process, (3) simple enough for the least tech savvy users to figure out and exploit... wouldn't he have some very valuable and inspirational insight to help REPAIR VA and other "F"ed up services programs?

Thu, Nov 5, 2009 Stephen Buckley

Do "stakeholders, like Craig Newmark" (whatever that means) have some REAL experience in the operations in the delivery system for VA benefits? If not, then I am very interested in how his Craigslist experience will translate into the insight needed to judge the best ways to improve a government bureaucracy. Hey, it's not simply a matter of "using the Internet". Sheesh, how naive can you get? What next, the head of the VA gets to judge how best to improve Craigslist?

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