HHSignites (beta): The Selected Teams & The Bank of Ideas

The scores are in. Secretary Sebelius has reviewed the 13 finalists, and I am happy to announce that the “beta” class of HHSignites has been selected. Congrats to the 13 teams!

These teams represent 78 individuals across 9 different Operating Divisions. Their proposals range from sustainability and workforce development efforts, to process efficiencies and the testing of new technologies. You may have noticed that we said that “13” were selected. The original plan was to support only “up to 8”. However, the proposals given to the Secretary were of such high quality that she decided to support all the ones she was shown.

While the 13 proposals selected as part of the “beta” class met a caliber of innovation and were scored among the highest by a group of judges, the other 52 projects should be noted. Those proposals represent a bank of ideas that are still out there to be acted upon.

Therefore, we are making the non-selected proposals available to all HHS employees on the HHS internal Yammer Network. We hope that by simply making them available to the HHS community, connections can be made to spark further conversations and many of the ideas could be carried forward. (Note: We have given each applicant the opportunity to opt-out, and a few did choose to do so.) There’s no reason why the ideas submitted shouldn’t have other opportunities to move forward. We want the government workforce, the employees of HHS, to continually share their good ideas to be experimented, iterated, and refined – that is the culture we’re pursuing through programs like HHSignites.

We are also releasing the raw data file (XLS) and methodologies that yielded our results, presenting them in a way that respects both the applicants and the reviewers. We are confident that we weren’t perfect. Our paper-based process (and a reminder that we only anticipated 20 proposals in the first place) had many human-driven steps that left plenty of room for error. But we hope you help us find those errors so that we can incorporate the lessons learned into an improved next iteration.

I look forward to seeing where this first class of HHSignites takes us. One thing I do know: There are going to be a lot of iterations, experimentations and lessons learned for these groups. But we will all learn from their examples, as this is simply a microcosm of a larger effort to iterate, experiment and gather lessons learned in how to make health care and government better.