'Rockstar' innovators descend on Washington

The newly minted Presidential Innovation Fellows will take a half-year to work on projects benefiting all citizens.

A dream team of innovators have descended on Washington, D.C., where they spend six months within the federal government to work on initiatives to support entrepreneurs, small businesses and the overall economy.

Federal Chief Technology Officer Todd Park on Aug. 23 announced the inaugural batch of the Presidential Innovation Fellows – 18 innovators from academia, nonprofit organizations and the commercial sector. The fellows were picked from a pool of nearly 700 applicants.

The fellows “agreed to drop everything, come to D.C. in the middle of the summer and work incredibly hard to do great things for the American people,” Park said at an event held at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in downtown D.C.

Park was joined by U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel, Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Jeffrey Zients, Office of Personnel and Management Director John Berry, and Veterans Affairs Department CTO Peter Levin, among other officials.

In discussing the process of releasing and implementing the Digital Government Strategy, VanRoekel said he and Park soon realized technology wasn’t the only thing needed to build an innovative, 21st-century federal sector.

“Just releasing toolkits and just unleashing technology wasn’t enough; we needed to bring to bear the power of people in government,” he said.

Following that "aha" moment, VanRoekel and Park on May 23 launched the Presidential Innovations Fellows, calling on entrepreneurs to come to Washington for a fixed period of time to work on five innovation projects.

Within three weeks of announcing the program, more than 700 applicants had applied for 18 positions, VanRoekel said, and thousands more expressed their interest in supporting the initiative.

“There was an explosion of civic-mindedness . . . of dedication to the nation’s future,” Park said. “It was an incredible difficult task if you take the 700 applicants who were amazing and somehow boil them down to just 18 folks that would actually come to D.C. and be fellows.”

Despite the challenge is selecting just 18, the officials succeeded in paring them down. The five projects and the newly minted fellows - 16 men and two women - include:

Blue Button for America:

  • Henry Wei, MD – Practicing doctor and informatics expert, New York, N.Y.
  • Ryan Panchadsaram – Founder of Pipette, San Francisco, Calif.
  • Matt McCall – Information systems expert, Baltimore, Md.

RFP-EZ:

  • Clay Johnson – Best-selling author, open government technologist and entrepreneur, Washington, D.C.
  • Jed Wood – Interaction designer, web developer, and entrepreneur, Chicago, Ill.
  • Adam Becker – Web developer and co-founder of civic engagement startup GovHub, Oakland, Calif.

MyGov:

  • Kara DeFrias – User experience writer from TurboTax San Diego, Calif.
  • Phil Ashlock – Open government program manager and co-founder of Civic Commons, Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Danny Chapman – Award-winning website designer, Riverside, R.I.
  • Greg Gershman – Software engineer and serial entrepreneur, Baltimore, Md.
  • Ben Balter – Software engineer, Washington, D.C.

The 20% Initiative:

  • Karl Mehta – Serial entrepreneur and founder of PlaySpan, Fremont, Calif.

Open Data Initiatives:

  • Ian Kalin – Navy veteran and managing director of an energy sector startup, San Francisco, Calif.
  • Marina Martin – Web developer and business efficiency expert, Seattle, Wash.
  • Raphael Majma – Open data researcher, Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Nick Bramble – Director, Law & Media Program, Information Society Project at Yale Law School, New Haven, Conn.
  • Dmitry Kachaev – Software engineer, Arlington, Va.
  • Nathaniel Manning – Robotics entrepreneur and member of the World Economic Forum’s Personal Data team and Google’s Data Colloquium team, San Francisco, Calif.
X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.