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Announcing the “Fellows in Innovation:” A Coalition Contributing Fresh Ideas on National Priorities

In the coming months, OSTP will help organize a series of events giving fellows working in Federal government new, exciting opportunities.

One of the Federal government’s great assets is the talented cadre of individuals who join its ranks each year as part of a variety of fellowship programs. Participants in these programs bring enthusiasm, new ideas, and fresh perspectives to Federal departments and agencies every day. Last year, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) convened a workshop of 100 participants in fellowship programs that place individuals in the Federal government to discuss how to apply creative 21st century tools to their fellowship projects, and how to use these tools to inspire and ignite innovation in government.

The workshop catalyzed the creation of a new, grassroots innovation community: “Fellows in Innovation.” Over the last year the email distribution list for this open community has grown to include over 400 people from a wide variety of fellowship programs, including the Presidential Innovation Fellowship, Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF), PMF STEM, American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellowship, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education Fellowship, and many more. These fellows are ambitious, creative, smart, and focused on results—adding enormous value to the Federal government. After their fellowships conclude, many fellows will continue to work in government, or return to government later in their careers, and some will eventually serve in the next generation of Federal leadership.

This year, we at OSTP—in collaboration with grassroots leadership from the Fellows in Innovation community and their host agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the General Services Administration—are building on the momentum of the emerging Fellows in Innovation network with a series of events that will give fellows working in Federal government a new opportunity to contribute to priority initiatives and pitch their innovative ideas, while developing skills and collaborating with new colleagues across the Federal government.

The event series includes:

  • A kick-off event at HHS on February 29, 2016, where fellows will have the opportunity to meet with innovation practitioners and learn about the Innovation Toolkit—a set of high-impact innovation practices they can use—while learning about opportunities to collaborate on OSTP-led policy projects and contribute their own ideas.
  • A workshop at GSA in Spring 2016 to help fellows connect with one another, acquire skills needed to successfully develop and pitch their best ideas for Federal innovation, and create opportunities to work together on new, meaningful efforts.
  • A closing event at the White House complex later in the year for participating fellows to pitch and present their innovative ideas and projects.

Through the event series and associated opportunities, fellows will be exposed to innovative tools such as human-centered design, cost-effective interventions, lean start-up methodologies, open data, prizes, crowdsourcing, and a focus on outcomes rather than inputs. These activities will help empower fellows working in the Federal government to maximize the impact of their public service and advance the missions of their respective agencies.

If you are a current participant in a fellowship program within the Federal government and you would like to learn more about how to RSVP for the inaugural event at HHS on February 29, 2016, please visit the Fellows in Innovation website.

Because we firmly believe in Joy’s Law, which states that "no matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else,” we want to work with you!

Dan Correa is Senior Policy Advisor for Innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

Jenn Gustetic is Assistant Director for Open Innovation at OSTP.

Kristen Honey is Policy Advisor for Open Data at OSTP.