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Catalyst Projects & Initiatives

Current and past projects of the Institute for Innovation.  For more information, click on the project or contact Mike Howell at

Current Projects

Acquisition Innovation

The Institute for Innovation, in coordination with the Acquisition and IT Management and Modernization Communities of Interest (COIs), is conducting a project to speed the adoption of innovative acquisition practices in support of the goals in the President’s Management Agenda (PMA).  The project is sponsored by OMB’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy and led by Tim Cooke. In 2019, the project created the "Periodic Table of Acquisition Elements" - a platform to capture best practices across the acquisition lifecycle. Efforts in the coming year will focus on maturing the platform, enhancing its content, and promoting its adoption and use.

2020 Presidential Election

For the fourth election cycle, the Institute for Innovation will lead an ACT-IAC wide effort to develop and deliver thought-leadership on important issues related to improving government through technology. The project is being led by Jim Cook from MITRE. To view the full capstone report click here. 

Implementing the Evidence-Based Policymaking Act and the Federal Data Strategy

The new law and the related federal strategy pose significant challenges and opportunities to federal agencies. The Institute for Innovation is undertaking a project, sponsored by OMB's Office of Information Regulatory Affairs and led by Diana Zavala from Perspecta, to help agencies address those challenges and opportunities and accelerate their progress

Case Studies

Many agencies are facing the same goals and priorities, issues, and challenges. The Institute for Innovation is conducting a project, led by Dave Powner from MITRE, to collect and share case studies about agency experiences and lessons learned to benefit the federal community.

Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Chief Information Officer (CIO) Success Story

GSA Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) Case Study (Short Version)

GSA Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) Case Study

Acquisition Innovation Project Case Study

DHS Procurement Innovation Lab Fiscal Year 2019 Yearbook: Coaching Innovation

Supporting OMB ICAM Guidance

Strong Identity Credential and Access Management (ICAM) is an essential component of federal agencies' cybersecurity. OMB issued guidance to all agencies and the Institute for Innovation is conducting a project, led by Duane Blacburn of MITRE, to help agencies implement that guidance.

Past Projects

Presidential Transition Project (2016)

In this third Presidential Transition Project, ACT-IAC developed recommendations for the incoming Administration on how to create a more effective and innovative government through the strategic application of information technology.

Harnessing Life Events to Connect Services to Citizens (2015)

Governments at all levels —federal, state, local and tribal—are focused on designing citizen-centered services that deliver value to customers and meet or exceed expectations. This project was undertaken to help agencies become more citizen-centric by leveraging a life event framework to transform customer service, advance service delivery, and exceed customer expectations.

Recommended Functions for a Customer Experience Office (2015)

As part of its strategy to improve services to America's veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs decided to establish a new customer service function.  At the request of VA management, ACT-IAC provided recommendations on the functions and structure of such an office.  After submitting the report to VA management, ACT-IAC removed VA-specific information and produced the "Recommended Functions for a Customer Experience Office" report that could be used by other government departments and agencies.

Transforming the Way Government Builds Solutions (2014)

The Offices of the Federal Chief Information Officer and the Federal Chief Technology Officer asked ACT-IAC to develop recommendations to enable the government to transform the way it buys, builds and implements successful 21st century solutions through modular development, open data, rapid innovation, agility, and seamless integration of reusable components. The overall goal of this project was to provide actionable recommendations to accelerate successful implementation of the digital government strategy and shared services policies.

Presidential Transition Project (2012)

In 2012 the Institute for Innovation sponsored its second Presidential transition project.  The 2012 Quadrennial Government Technology Review produced six reports that were submitted to the Administration.  These reports were:


Implementing a Sustainment Strategy for Federal Financial Management Systems (2011)

ACT-IAC was asked by the Office of Management and Budget to provide industry input on key issues related to financial system modernization and to address questions: (1) Given that agencies usually maintain a hybrid environment including modernized system components integrated with legacy systems, how can agencies most effectively maintain functionality and improve performance over time? Is change management of this magnitude within the capability of most federal agencies?  (2)  When is a system truly on its “last legs”? What criteria should be used to make decisions between incremental investments in an existing system and larger investments in a modernization initiative? (3)  Is there a way to incentivize software providers to introduce upgrades in a manner that best serves the tax payer? And (4)  What new paradigms exist or are just emerging that might help apply game changing approaches to the first three questions? 

VISTA Modernization (2010)

The Department of Veterans Affairs' Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) healthcare management system is critical to provide healthcare to America’s veterans and is used throughout the VA medical system.  VistA is a legacy system that relies upon rapidly aging technologies and whose support costs are growing rapidly.  At the time of this report, VA spent over $800 million annually to maintain the VistA system.   The VA’s Chief Information Officer asked ACT-IAC to evaluate the VistA system and recommend strategies for transforming it using the latest technologies and best practices.

Presidential Transition Project (2008)

In 2008 ACT-IAC undertook its first Presidential transition project.  Called the Transition Study Project, the report produced the following eleven reports: