We exist because traditional government sourcing (e.g. grants and contracts) alone cannot make us an innovative and effective organization.
Traditional ways of government sourcing can be slow and overly complicated.
Traditional ways of government sourcing usually reward those who understand contracting best, not necessarily the most talented or qualified.
Many of today’s innovators have never nor are they currently seeking contracts with or grants from the U.S. government.
Traditional ways of government sourcing often require choosing winners before any results are achieved.
Not all HHS Agencies and programs are aware of the flexibilities of the COMPETES Act prize authority to source solutions from all American innovators.
On January 4, 2011, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 was signed into law, providing clear legal guidance for Federal agencies to use appropriated funds towards the use of challenges and prize competitions as a tool for innovation.
Soon after, the HHS Open Innovation Program was established out of the HHS Office of Assistant Secretary for Administration (ASA) and Office of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO), providing guidance to HHS Agencies on use of the authority.
HHS is continually pushing the boundaries on the benefits and uses of COMPETES Act challenges. They can inform strategy by motivating the public to share their ideas, improve operational efficiencies by quickly identifying best practices from other industries, and drive mission goals by the accelerated development of new product and services.
We work with HHS agencies directly, providing guidance on how crowdsourcing and incentive prizes can benefit agencies and its mission, resources on how to run a competition, and communities that bring together innovators from across the Department who can share experiences and collaborate on future projects.
Since 2011, 140+ challenges, $34 million in cash prizes, and over 9,000 innovators have participated across the U.S. Current and past challenges can be found on Challenge.gov.
Each year, HHS and the White House publish a report on its use of challenges. These reports offer quantitative and qualitative reports on what the challenges have achieved.
We offer guidance at any stage of the process. We offer the following services:
Help brainstorm problems appropriate for a challenge
Connect you with others within HHS, the Federal government, or beyond for help
Provide expedited access to a set of challenge vendors and platforms, through the HHS strategic sourcing vehicle
Co-design challenges with you
Broker partnerships with other Federal Agencies and private entities
Promote and market your challenge
The development of challenge concepts should be guided by your OPDIV’s or STAFFDIV’s internal policies on how it wishes to use the challenge mechanism and procedures for development. Challenges must also adhere to HHS-specific and federal-wide policies on the use of challenges. The Secretary’s Delegation of Authority policy delegates authority to OPDIV and STAFFDIV heads, and this authority may be re-delegated to sub-agencies.