• Ideas

HHS Ignite

Recent Updates:

What Is HHS Ignite?

Incubating New Ideas. HHS Ignite catalyzes early-stage project ideas that can be completed within very compressed time frames. Teams selected into HHS Ignite are guaranteed an appropriate amount of their time to complete the project. By exposing teams to a network of innovators and equipping them with the methodologies and tools used by successful startup companies, HHS Ignite provides a space in which small teams can try something new in a start-up environment.

By supporting the continual pursuit of the problem that should be addressed, Ignite projects are exploratory in nature. Selected teams are introduced to lean startup as a methodology for problem solving and project implementation. In the entrepreneurial spirit, Ignite projects are iterative, their impacts measurable, and their solutions scalable.

What you get with Ignite:

      • 3 months of support to test your idea
      • Access to a network of innovators
      • A suite of tools (technologies) typically not available to staff
      • On-the-job exposure to new methodologies and tools used by successful startup companies
      • Coaches & mentors to advise on your efforts
      • $5,000 to go towards your project idea

What Ignite requires:

      • 3-days of an immersive “Accelerator Kick-off”. Teams selected into Ignite but not in the DC area will be flown in by HHS.
      • 25% of your time over the three months. This is particularly true for the project lead. Other team members may be less depending on their role.

At the end of their Ignite project, a team will have demonstrated the viability of an idea, gathering data and lessons learned to support their next steps. Project plans, approaches, and efforts are conducted in the open to allow for feedback and real-time sharing of lessons learned and experiential knowledge.

 

Why was HHS Ignite Developed?

Whether launching awareness campaigns, developing internal processes, or implementing technology enhancements, most projects carried out within government are large and complex. Simple problem solving becomes difficult, and project implementation often ends up unnecessarily bigger and more complicated than originally conceived.

New methodologies brought from the private sector, particularly small startup companies, encourage customer-centric explorations of a problem and data-driven iterations to support decision making. These approaches go by various terms that all overlap: agile development, lean startup, co-designing, human-centered design, design thinking, and others. While each has slightly different meanings, they each recognize the importance of engaging the end-user, understanding the root problem, prototyping and testing, building information feedback loops, and never calling a product final.

Many parts of HHS were beginning to experiment with these new methodologies and finding early success. The HHS Innovation Council sought a way to formalize a pathway that promoted these methodologies while supporting HHS staff with innovative ideas for how the Department can better carry out its mission.

 

Partnering with the University of Maryland

The HHS IDEA Lab is partnering with the Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland and DC I-Corps to carry out this round of HHS Ignite. The Academy, a “signature initiative to infuse the University with a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship”, brings technical advising and a proven program structure for iterating toward solution. In addition to having access to the top experts within HHS and the federal government, teams accepted into HHS Ignite will be able to leverage UMD and DC I-Corps staff, resources, and mentorship provided by their network of innovators in the private sector and academia.

 

Launched in “Beta”

HHS Ignite was launched by Secretary Sebelius in March of 2013 as a “beta”. That “beta” year supported 13 teams – selected among a pool of 65 applicants – which were given 6 months and up to $10,000 of support to test out their idea.

As a “beta”, the primary goal of the first year was to learn, to work with these 13 selected teams to better understand their needs prior to the full launch of HHS Ignite. A number of programmatic and philosophical shifts occurred based upon the experiences working with the “beta” class. We’re currently bringing together our lessons learned for sharing with everyone.

At the end of this “beta” year, Deputy Secretary Bill Corr announced that Ignite would be moving forward and leaving its “beta” stage. In March 2014, we began accepting applications for the first class of HHS Ignite.

Eligibility

All HHS employees are eligible to apply for HHS Ignite support. Teams of up to 5 may include individuals from outside of HHS or from outside government. However, Project Leads must be a full-time employee (FTE) of the Department.

Teams should collectively hold the skillsets and expertise to begin their effort on day 1.

 

The Reviewing Criteria and Selection Process

Proposals submitted into Ventures will be evaluated by a panel of Reviewers based on the following criteria:

      1. Proposed project’s importance to and potential impact on OpDiv and HHS mission [15 points]
      2. The likelihood that the methods and metrics proposed will produce and demonstrate reliable results (How would you measure impact / success?) [15 points]
      3. Transferability and/or scalability of the innovation [20 points]
      4. The novelty and disruptive nature of the innovation concept being tested [25 points]
      5. The feasibility of the project proposed in terms of timeline, capital resources, personnel and program support. [25 points]

Teams submitting the top proposals will be asked to present and discuss their project with members of the HHS Innovation Council. The Council will make recommendations to the Secretary who will make the final selection.

 

How to Apply

Proposals for HHS Ignite support were accepted from March 3 through March 28th. Many thanks for all who submitted their proposal! Please stay tuned for updates. We are currently in the review stage of our process. Our target date for notifying  the top teams is April 15th.

 

Now Accepting Your Funding Proposal

We began receiving proposals on March 3, 2014 for the Ignite class that runs from June 2014 into September 2014. The specific 2014 dates are as follows:

Apr
22
Tue
HHS Ignite: Interviews with Top Applicants @ TBD
Apr 22 – Apr 24 all-day

Teams that submit the best proposals – as scored by our panels of Reviewers – into HHS Ignite are given a 20 minute window in which they discuss their idea with members of the HHS Innovation Council. This are done in-person (if you’re in the DC area) or via some sort of video teleconferencing (if you are not in the DC area).

May
7
Wed
HHS Ignite: Selected Teams Expected to be Announced
May 7 all-day

Incubating New Ideas. HHS Ignite catalyzes early-stage project ideas that can be completed within very compressed time frames. Teams selected into HHS Ignite are guaranteed an appropriate amount of their time to complete the project. By exposing teams to a network of innovators and equipping them with the methodologies and tools used by successful startup companies, HHS Ignite provides a space in which small teams can try something new in a start-up environment.

By supporting the continual pursuit of the problem that should be addressed, Ignite projects are exploratory in nature. Selected teams are introduced to lean startup as a methodology for problem solving and project implementation. In the entrepreneurial spirit, Ignite projects are iterative, their impacts measurable, and their solutions scalable.

Learn more about HHS Ignite.

Jun
9
Mon
3-Day “Accelerator Kick-Off” (Projects Begin) @ TBD in the D.C. Area
Jun 9 – Jun 11 all-day

June 9th is the first day for HHS Ignite and HHS Ventures. Teams selected into these Pathways will kick-start their efforts through an immersive three-day “Accelerator Kick-off”. For selected teams not in the D.C. metro area, at least 2 individuals will be flown to D.C to participate.

 

 

HHS Ignite Projects

Below is the HHS Ignite Project Gallery. Each project is associated with one of our Pathways which is denoted with a Pathway logo (HHS Ignite Logo, Ignite Icon). To read more about each project click on the beaker icon (beaker icon) under the project title.

  • All
  • beta
CDCOLOGY Logo
CDCOLOGY: A Microtasking Project
Ignite Icon Beaker: CDC Microtasking Project; CDC-Ology
CMS Press Project
CMS Coordinated Press Response Strategy
Ignite Icon  Beaker: Coordinated Press Response Strategy
Data-Driven Website Optimization Using Multivariate Testing
Data-Driven Website Optimization Using Multivariate Testing
Ignite Icon Beaker: Data-Driven Website Optimization Using Multivariate Testing
Ignite Project Logo
Developing a Data-Driven ACF Workforce
Ignite Icon Beaker: Developing a Data Driven Child Welfare Workforce
Fast-Screening CE-MS Method for Bacteria Through Protein Pattern Recognition
Fast-Screening CE-MS Method for Bacteria Through Protein Pattern Recognition
Ignite Icon Beaker: Fast-Screening CE-MS Method for Bacteria Through Protein Pattern Recognition
IHS Workforce Development: Going Lean to Understand Needs
IHS Workforce Development: Going Lean to Understand Needs
Ignite Icon Beaker: Building a Bigger Pie: IHS Workforce Development
Increasing Efficiency in Rule Making with Natural Language Processing
Increasing Efficiency in Rule Making with Natural Language Processing
Ignite Icon Beaker: Increasing Efficiency in Rulemaking by Organizing Public Comment
Integrating Health Insurance Marketplace Data to Visualize Efforts and Impact
Integrating Health Insurance Marketplace Data to Visualize Efforts and Impact
Ignite Icon Beaker: Streamlining Project Management in Marketplace Communication & Outreach
Moving Towards Energy Efficient NIH Laboratories
Moving Towards Energy Efficient NIH Laboratories
Ignite Icon Beaker: Moving Towards Energy Efficient Laboratories
The CDC Health Game Jam 2013
The CDC Health Game Jam 2013
Ignite Icon Beaker: CDC Health Game Jam 2013
ROAR Project Logo
Recruiting Older Adults into Research (ROAR)
Ignite Icon Beaker: Recruiting Older Adults into Research (ROAR)
The NIH 3D Print Exchange
The NIH 3D Print Exchange
Ignite Icon Beaker: The NIH 3D Print Exchange
The NLM Pillbox: More Efficient Data Cleanup and Outputs
The NLM Pillbox: More Efficient Data Cleanup and Outputs
Ignite Icon  Beaker: Pillbox Takes the Red Pill

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