• Ideas

I want to helpAt the HHS IDEA Lab, we recognize that there are a lot of problems that need solving and that we don’t have all the answers. We believe that engagement with the public and  the injection of new ideas, problem solving methodologies and experiences leads to effective solutions. There are a number of ways for members of the public to get involved, from using health data to create an IT application to being a technical advisor to the HHS IDEA Lab. All the options can be found in the tabs below.

We need you. If you are an innovator, entrepreneur, or thought leader, we need your help in transforming government from an environment that is a static, bureaucratic and risk adverse to a modern more effective government that is flexible, risk aware, accountable and responsible.

The injection of new ideas and expertise from external innovators is essential to the culture change internal to government and the results government produces.  Exposure, consultation, guidance and training are all key components offered by external innovators as technical advisors to the IDEA Lab.

As a technical advisor you will have the option of:

  • Being assigned to consult and advise on a specific project from one of the IDEA Lab’s pathways (e.g. Entrepreneurs, Ignites, etc.) which can range from 3 – 12 months.
  • Providing training on new methodologies or innovative practices (e.g. Lean, Agile, Design Thinking) via in person session, webinar.
  • Being a guest speaker for the HHS Innovation Council. The HHS Innovation Council meets once a month and is a forum for cross-departmental discussion of innovation and the Department’s innovation activities. Past speakers have discussed innovation techniques, government policy, and their own experiences.

We want your data! Are you a state or local government that wants to get more out of your health data? Share it with us and we will catalog it in HealthData.gov. HealthData.gov is the Department of Health and Human Service’s one stop data shop. Currently HealthData.gov has cataloged over 1,000 data sets from the 9 Operating Divisions and 11 Staff Divisions of the Department.

In addition to cataloging our own data, we are currently looking for opportunities to catalog other government health data, which we are currently doing with the State of New York. By federating your data, it will receive increased visibility, accessibility and use. At the IDEA Lab we see the value of data in that it is the fuel to innovation and is a catalyst in the transformation of modern health care.  To share your data, email us at idealab@hhs.gov. More information on our health data activities can be found on the HHS Data page and on HealthData.gov.

Are you a developer, entrepreneur, physician or academic that has created an application, product or service using health data? We want to know about it! Tell us about what you have developed using health data, what problem you are solving and what data you are using. As part of our Health Data Initiative, we are looking for applications, services and products that are using health data to demonstrate the power of health data and how it is transforming health care. By sharing your story you are not only exposing your product, service or app to an interested audience but also helping build the health data ecosystem.  Your story could be featured on HealthData.gov, the IDEA Lab blog, and in our data story gallery. Tell us your story!

Currently HHS is running multiple open innovation challenges that address problems such as insurance enrollment, general public outreach, and improving government processes.  Challenges and competitions provide the government an opportunity to bring external ideas and expertise in to government  in an unconventional way to solve some of the toughest challenges we face.  More information on challenges and competitions can be found under the HHS Competes pathway.

Bring your expertise and innovative spirit to Washington and work on some biggest challenges government and healthcare face by becoming an External Entrepreneur as part of the HHS Entrepreneurs pathway. HHS Entrepreneurs matches internal innovators with external expertise as a way of bringing the entrepreneurial spirit into government to provide fresh and innovative problem solving approaches to The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Operating and Staff Divisions. The IDEA Lab has completed the first cohort of four projects and has launched the second cohort of six new projects. To learn about the projects, go to the HHS Entrepreneurs page. To become an HHS Entrepreneur apply when applications are open in Summer 2014 and stay up to date with new announcements and progress of the projects by following the IDEA Lab blog.

If you want to get involved with an Entrepreneurs project now, consider becoming a Technical Advisor to the IDEA Lab. More information on becoming a Technical Advisor can be found under the Technical Advisor tab.

Help revolutionize government while still working in the private sector! The Innovator in Residence Pathway is a whole new way government can operate. It gives an outside organization a chance to bring a person into government to work on a mutually held goal. Some of the most current organizations to have Innovators in Residence are West Health and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMMS). If your organization is interested in being an Innovator in Residence Organization please contact us at idealab@hhs.gov. If you would like to apply to be an Innovator in Residence, watch the IDEA Lab blog for new opportunities.

Help us select the best innovative project in the Department of Health and Human Services. Once a year, the Department of Health and Human Services holds an innovation competition, HHS Innovates, to identify and recognize the most innovative projects across the Department. Last year we wanted to add the public’s voice to the equation and established the People’s Choice Award. The People’s Choice Award is awarded to the agency whose project receives the most votes during the voting period. The next round of HHS Innovates will launch in early 2014. For more information on HHS Innovates including descriptions of past winners, go to the HHS Innovates page. For updates on the upcoming HHS Innovates follow the HHS IDEA Lab blog for the most up-to-date information.

Many members of the public and HHS employees have some fantastic ideas or projects that we don’t know about.  These ideas could be in the infant stage of pure concept, or could be in a full on pilot testing stage.  Regardless of where you are, we want to know about it. If you have an idea about how to solve a specific problems in health care or government or just want to add to the conversation, go to the HHS IDEA Lab forum and be part of the conversation.

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