Through our supporting teams over the last couple years, we’ve gained better insights into 1) the particular value this Ventures Fund program plays within the Department; and 2) the particular strengths we have at the IDEA Lab to best support particular innovations. We are continually refining our investment approach to ensure we are having optimal impact.
Now entering our third round of funding, we are seeking applications for projects that address these domains of innovation.
Re-engineering Core Processes
We are seeking projects that improve processes critical to the mission of an office or agency. These projects may – though are not required to – leverage technologies such as those involved with digitizing paper-based processes or fully automating manual ones. The projects may focus on simplifying, streamlining, or expediting information pathways, perhaps turning sequential approvals into parallel processing. These projects may be externally- or internally-facing.
Strengthening the Department’s Workforce
We are seeking projects that target human resources operations to strengthen the Department’s capacity to carry outs its mission. Projects may focus on personnel recruitment, on-boarding, training, and/or other elements of HR.
Increasing Citizen Engagement with Government
We are seeking projects that help promote meaningful engagement with citizens. These projects may focus on one or more of the following: enhancing the value of Federal Advisory Committees (FACAs), leveraging crowdsourcing mechanisms, increasing our capacity to respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, cultivating the maker movement, propelling citizen science, or other issues.
Improving Energy Usage and Waste Operations
We are seeking projects that help the Department reduce its carbon-footprint on the world. These projects may focus on improving our own operations or they may spur sustainable solutions for our operational partners, such as for grant recipients. Projects may focus on one or more of the following areas: using “smart” technologies and connected networks, innovative implementations of solar cells or other renewable energy converters, reducing physical waste, scaling repurposing programs, converting waste to energy, and other projects that help reduce waste and improve energy efficiencies for the Department.
Promoting Security + Innovation
We are seeking projects that represent paradigm shifts in our approach to security within the Department. These innovative projects should not only increase security but also better support program staff’s ability to carry out their work. These projects may focus on physical security, data-systems security, block-chain technologies, FISMA-related policies, employee awareness trainings, or others.
While we will be showing some preference to the above, we are still accepting proposals that don’t fall into any of the mentioned categories. As with all categories above, these other projects may be internally- or externally-facing.