Harnessing Ingenuity

Stephen Voss

Sometimes, the federal government needs help solving a problem. Increasingly, it is turning to the public at large for solutions. 

Martha Dorris is leading the General Services Administration into the future of crowdsourcing with Challenge.gov, and bringing the rest of government along with it. The website, entering its third year, has helped dozens of agencies solve hundreds of problems. 

Based on an Obama administration executive order focused on “harnessing the ingenuity of the American people,” the idea is simple: Use challenges and cash prizes to incentivize the public to create marketing ideas, develop software and find scientific answers that further the missions of government agencies. 

So far, solutions have ranged from blocking robocalls to an app that enables people to track and pay their student loans. 

“It’s a great way to get ideas you wouldn’t ordinarily get through standard, traditional ways of getting solutions,” Dorris says. “You’re able to reach into communities of solvers you wouldn’t usually get to.” 

Harnessing those ideas will only get easier, as barriers such as legal difficulties and adapting to the unique culture of each federal agency are removed. 

More than 42,000 “solvers” from across the globe have already gotten involved with Challenge.gov. 

“People have always wanted to find a way to get their idea or solution in front of somebody,” Dorris says. She expects the website to evolve, as well as the entire notion of how government confronts its obstacles to change. 

“It’s the very beginning stages of what I think is possible,” she says. 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.