VBA Innovation Initiative

Department of Veterans Affairs

Veterans Benefits Administration employees submit groundbreaking ideas to improve the claims process for Veterans.

Download Video: mp4 (34MB)

The Challenge

The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is looking for solutions to reduce the number of days to complete a claim, improve overall rating quality, increase transparency, and--ultimately--to better serve our Nation’s Veterans.

The Solution

On August 17, 2009, President Obama called on the collective knowledge and wisdom of the individuals that work on the front lines of claims processing to propose strategies to improve the claims process: We’re going to challenge each of our 57 regional VA offices to come up with the best ways of doing business, of harnessing the best information technologies, of cutting red tape and breaking through the bureaucracy. And then we’re going to fund the best ideas and put them into action, all with a simple mission: cut those backlogs, slash those wait times, deliver your benefits sooner.

Through a web-based “idea management tool,” the VA’s 19,000 employees were able to submit ideas to improve the current processes within VBA. The platform allows them to strengthen and challenge others’ ideas by posting comments and voting for ideas they believe will have the greatest impact. After the initial collection, local directors will review their offices’ ideas and submit the strongest for national review. A limited number of proposals will be selected, and those individuals whose ideas are chosen will then travel to DC where they can present their ideas. Senior leadership will then choose the best ideas to implement.

The Benefit

Employees who are deeply involved in the claims process have the opportunity to present groundbreaking solutions to the challenges they face each day. The Innovation Initiative creates a new channel for the very best ideas to reach VBA and VA leadership for implementation. It is these new channels of communication that allow those individuals who present an idea to participate in the development of the solution. This creates ownership of the solution and a dedicated champion with a vested interest in the success of the proposal, if chosen. This process empowers the employees and boosts morale. Most important, it is the empowered and active participant who will provide better service to our Veterans and their families.

Additional Details

In the opening two weeks, the site collected over 3,000 ideas and 6,000 comments from 7,000 active users.

For more information, email innovation.vbaco@va.gov (Note: The innovation.vbaco@va.gov email address is intended for questions about the Innovation Initiative and is not equipped to provide VA benefits support. If you are a Veteran, spouse or dependant and have questions about your benefits, please visit http://www.vba.va.gov/VBA/.)