Park, VanRoekel seek next class of change agents

CTO Todd Park

Todd Park, federal CTO

The Presidential Innovation Fellows program is again looking for top innovators and entrepreneurs from the private sector, non-profits and academia to collaborate with government officials for 6-month to 12-month tours of duty focused on developing solutions to nationally important issues.

The program seeks applicants to work on the next phases of four projects launched last year – open data initiatives, MyData initiatives, RFP-EZ and MyUSA projects – as well as applicants to help launch five new projects in 2013.

The new projects are detailed in a Feb. 5 White House blog post by Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel and Federal CTO Todd Park. They are:

  • Cyber-Physical Systems will work with government and industry to create standards for a new generation of inter operable, dynamic, and efficient "smart systems"—an "industrial Internet"—that combines distributed sensing, control, and data analytics to help grow the economy and new high-value American jobs.

  •  21st Century Financial Systems will work to move the financial accounting systems of Federal agencies out of the era of large-scale, agency-specific implementations to one that favors more nimble, modular, scalable, and cost-effective approaches.

  •  Innovation Toolkit will develop a suite of tools that empowers our Federal workforce to respond to national priorities more quickly and more efficiently.

  •  Development Innovation Ventures will help enable the US government to identify, test, and scale breakthrough solutions to the world’s toughest problems.

  •  Disaster Response and Recovery will collaboratively build and "pre-position" critical tech tools ahead of future emergencies or natural disasters in order to mitigate economic damage and save lives. Applications will be accepted from Feb. 5 through March 17.

Success stories

Some results of the previous class of Presidential Innovation Fellows:


"We are looking for incredibly talented, entrepreneurial people from a diverse array of backgrounds and with a wide range of experiences," the blog post stated. "We are also looking for gifted and accomplished change agents with skills in user experience design, product management, project management, business development, operations reengineering, and more. In a nutshell, we are looking for people who can help make big things happen rapidly to advance the public good."

The first round of five projects was launched in August 2012 with 18 inaugural fellows, building on President Barack Obama’s Digital Government Strategy. In recent months, results have begun to emerge.

In December, for example, the fellows released a pilot RFP-EZ system to improve procurement efficiency across the government. And in late January, the fellows released an experimental one-page website that showcases the federal government’s best open data resources,

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

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