- About HHSentrepreneurs
- Internal Entrepreneurs
- External Entrepreneurs
- Apply to HHSentrepreneurs
HHS is working to attract entrepreneurial talent to create a culture that supports risk-taking and accelerates innovation.
HHSentrepreneurs is based on the HHS Innovation Fellows Program launched in 2012. HHSentrepreneurs builds on lessons learned during the pilot HHS Innovation Fellows Program, and will:
- Identify HHS staff who are working on some of the Department’s toughest challenges and
- Match these talented individuals with External Entrepreneurs for a period of 6-12 months.
HHSentrepreneurs provides a novel framework to attract outside talent in areas including open innovation, agile development, and lean methodologies to accelerate innovation within HHS. Startup organizations have demonstrated that rapid iteration between various versions or features of a product can yield successful results, and HHS would like to promote these methods internally to address high-priority projects.
Two groups of entrepreneurs will work together to tackle some of the Department’s toughest challenges:
- Internal Entrepreneurs are dynamic HHS employees who are working to find and scale solutions to complex challenges. HHSentrepreneurs allows Internal Entrepreneurs the flexibility to take professional risks and converge with like-minded individuals to establish innovation as a key business process and core capability at HHS.
- External Entrepreneurs are talented professionals with a demonstrated track record of entrepreneurship and innovation (in areas such as business development, business models, design thinking, evaluating and financing companies, evaluating new ventures, technology product development or marketing). External Entrepreneurs are paired with Internal Entrepreneurs to establish innovation as a key process and core capability at HHS.
- More information on External Entrepreneurs can be found on the External Entrepreneurs blog. Keep up with the External Entrepreneurs with their firsthand accounts about their experiences in the program, what it’s like to work in federal government and the progress of their project. To read the blog go to: http://hhsinnovationfellows.tumblr.com/.
Cohort 2 – Now Accepting Applications
This year, HHS has selected 20 Internal Entrepreneurs (formerly Host Fellows) and is currently accepting applications for External Entrepreneurs (previously External Innovation Fellows) to work on the following project:
- Application of Design Thinking to Grants
- Cloud-Based GIS Maps Displaying Aggregate Data on Medical Malpractice
- Health Information Exchange Accelerators
- Modernizing the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System
- Predictive Analytics: Merging Innovation and Business Operations
- Publication Planning and Clearance Process Improvement Project
- Accelerating clinical quality measures for the Affordable Care Act
- Designing the infrastructure for Medicaid and CHIP eligibility
- Building “health resilience technology” to withstand natural disasters
- Electronic tracking and transport of the nation’s organ transplant system
Internal Entrepreneurs are talented HHS employees want to change the way government works and operationalize new methodologies in problem solving and government. Internal Entrepreneurs must be able to dedicate sufficient time to a game-changing project and continue project implementation after the departure of the External Entrepreneur. The project must be a well-defined problem of high importance (with a goal of some quantitative or semi-quantitative measures of success/failure).
What does the ideal Internal Entrepreneur look like?
The following skill sets are desired:
- Identified the most pressing problems within their agency and are looking for a ‘game-changing’ solution
- Motivated to change the way government works and operationalize new methodologies in problem solving and government
- Skilled in the “best practices” of innovation (demonstrated experience of identifying problems and devising solutions through rapid iteration) and are well-positioned to make a positive change to an existing problem at HHS
- Supported by Operating/ Staff Divisions who have the up-front human and service capital necessary as well as funds for implementation and process adoption
- Eager to share innovation approach principles so that they are used as a basis for individual and team decisions
Why should I apply to be an Internal Entrepreneur?
HHS Internal Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to work with a team dedicated to rapidly solving high-value problems, and the freedom to iterate and open the doors to co-creation and collaboration. Internal Entrepreneurs will have the air cover and resources to develop, test, and implement innovative ideas with External Entrepreneurs.
Participating in HHSentrepreneurs provides HHS staff with the opportunity to gain new skills and expertise, collaborate and network with some of the best and brightest innovators in and out of government. Internal Entrepreneurs will have the highest levels of support from HHS leaders and the White House and the chance to collaborate with some of the best and brightest entrepreneurs inside and outside of government.
Additionally, Internal Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to participate in networking, mentorship and “lunch and learn” events with some of the most recognizable people in venture capital, lean startup, business, technology and innovation.
The application period for Internal Entrepreneurs and Project Nominations is now closed.
External Entrepreneurs will be paired with Internal Entrepreneurs from participating Operating / Staff Divisions to work on a specific, high-priority project over a period of 6 - 12 months.
External Entrepreneurs have a passion for solving pressing problems in healthcare through innovative and game-changing solutions. External Entrepreneurs may be academics, policymakers, business gurus, or non-profit leaders who have demonstrated a significant record of achievement in their field.
The following other skill-sets are desired:
- Advanced degree or an equivalent combination of education and experience
- Innovative and entrepreneurial ability and potential, as demonstrated by leading innovative processes and/or solutions. Specific entrepreneurial or start-up activity is particularly desirable
- Minimum of 5 years experience designing, developing, and implementing new ventures, including a track record of taking risks to develop new products and/or solutions
- Expertise in open innovation, agile development, and/or lean methodologies, and iterative program design
- Experience in organizational development and executive-level decision making, particularly around change management and/or the introduction of disruptive technologies or practices into an organization
- Strong analytical and research skills and a demonstrated capacity for creative thinking
- Experience in program evaluation methodologies, including quantitative analysis skills
- Excellent communication and leadership skills
HHSentrepreneurs is an opportunity to participate in an innovative, forward-thinking team at HHS and directly contribute to the mission of the organization. This bi-directional facilitation of innovation is an unparalleled chance to enhance the effectiveness of collaborative learning and move beyond traditional efforts in problem solving. You and your team will have the freedom to experiment, try out new ideas and concepts and contribute to the improvement of health and health outcomes for millions of Americans.
HHS would like to nurture new ideas and practices and draw on your talent, experiences, and cross-disciplinary skills necessary to develop solutions and transform discoveries into products. Additionally, External Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to participate in networking, mentorship and “lunch and learn” events with some of the most recognizable people in venture capital, lean startup, business, technology and innovation.
The application period for Internal Entrepreneurs and Project Nominations is now closed.
The application period is open from June 27 - August 16, 2013.
External Entrepreneurs will be hired under a term appointment status, thus will be subject to all Federal ethics rules, including submitting a confidential financial disclosure. An HHS Subcommittee will review each External Entrepreneur on a case-by-case basis prior to making an offer.
Based on review of applications, a short list of candidates will established and select candidates will be invited to an interview with the HHSentrepreneurs Subcommittee of the HHS Innovation Council as well as the Internal Entrepreneur Project Teams. Final selection of External Entrepreneurs will take place in August/September 2013.
How many positions are available?
The program is highly selective: HHS is looking to select up to 20 Internal Entrepreneur Projects and potentially 6 - 8 External Entrepreneurs depending on needs.
How long is the project period?
HHSentrepreneurs projects are expected to last 6 – 12 months.
What is open innovation?
Open innovation is a practice in which organizations use external as well as internal ideas to advance technologies, products or business. The concept of open innovation assumes that knowledge is widely distributed and that organizations should actively seek the best ideas or solutions, regardless of where they originate.
What is agile development?
Agile involves iterative and incremental development completed by self-organizing teams. Agile methodologies emphasize individuals and interactions over processes and tools, developing working software over comprehensive documentation, emphasizing customer collaboration over contract negotiation, and responding to change over following a set plan.
Agile is most commonly used in software development, but can also be used for other types of projects.
What are “lean startup” techniques, and why are they valuable / applicable to HHS?
Startup organizations have demonstrated that rapid iteration between various versions / features of a product can yield successful results. In contrast to traditional methods for developing products and/or solutions, which involve an extended design phase, “lean startup” techniques focus on providing prototypes to consumers/users as quickly as possible. Rapid prototype release allows for quick and iterative refinements to product/solutions based on real-life feedback. Therefore, the “lean startup” process creates valuable products and/or solutions quickly while minimizing waste (time, effort/or and money) in the development cycle.
How have rapid iteration and “lean startup” techniques been used at HHS in the past?
One example of the use of rapid iteration at HHS is the development of the healthcare.gov website, which provides a tool for consumers to find public and private insurance options online.
Using rapid and iterative prototype testing, the healthcare.gov website was launched in 90 days. Another element that was critical to the success of this effort was to build an interdisciplinary team of internal and external experts to work on the project, including: top HHS web designers, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services staff with extensive knowledge of Medicare coverage with an external expert with experience using “lean startup” techniques in the private sector.
How are Internal Entrepreneurs compensated?
Internal Entrepreneurs will continue to be paid under the same compensation structure prior to joining the HHSentrepreneurs program.
How are External Entrepreneurs compensated?
It is up to the participating Operating / Staff Division to determine the compensation for the External Entrepreneurs. External Entrepreneurs will be brought in as Term Appointments and will receive the same employee benefits as any other Federal employee: FEHB, FEGLI Programs, and Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS); Annual and sick leave.
Do External Entrepreneurs have to relocate?
In order to maximize the effectiveness of the project, we recommend that External Entrepreneurs relocate to the project site for the duration of the program.
- What are project eligibility requirements?
- High priority for the participating HHS Operating / Staff Division with the potential to affect major change within the organization; ability to be implemented in 6-12 months
- Can uniquely benefit from input from outside entrepreneurial talent, and/or experts in open innovation, agile development or lean startup
- Strong support from the HHS Operating / Staff Division leadership
- Participation of outstanding existing HHS Operating / Staff Division employees as Internal Entrepreneurs
- Committed funding from the HHS Operating / Staff Division to support the External Entrepreneur and ongoing implementation after the External Entrepreneur departs
How will HHS select External Entrepreneurs?
HHS is interested in candidates who have innovative and entrepreneurial ability and potential, with experience in open innovation, rapid iteration, agile development and/or lean methodologies and are passionate about helping to solve some of our most pressing healthcare problems.
The Internal Entrepreneur Project Teams complete final selection of External Entrepreneurs from a short list of extremely qualified candidates identified by the HHSentrepreneurs Subcommittee of the HHS Innovation Council and the HHS Office of the Chief Technology Officer.
Who can apply?
For the Internal Entrepreneurs, anyone within HHS who can dedicate sufficient time to a game-changing project and continue project implementation after the departure of the External Entrepreneur. The project must be a well-defined problem of high importance (with a goal of some quantitative or semi-quantitative measures of success/failure).
For the External Entrepreneurs, HHS seeks individuals with a passion for solving pressing problems in healthcare through innovative and game-changing solutions. External Entrepreneurs may be academics, policymakers, business gurus, or non-profit leaders who have demonstrated a significant record of achievement in their field.
When can I apply?
HHS Employees ONLY may submit an application to nominate projects and be Internal Entrepreneurs . The application period is now closed .
The application for External Entrepreneurs will be open June 27 – August 16, 2013.
What happens if I am selected?
Internal Entrepreneurs will be notified of their selection in June 2013 and will serve as the selection committee for possible External Entrepreneurs who may match their needs. If there is a suitable match, External Entrepreneurs will be notified in August/September 2013 and can be expected to start as early as September/October 2013.