August, 2018

Welcome to InnOvation, bringing you news about innovations to improve services and operations in the public sector, sponsored by the American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC) Institute for Innovation. Each newsletter will feature stories, upcoming events, and opportunities for you to engage with a growing community of innovators. Learn more about ACT-IAC here and the Institute for Innovation here.

Innovation Highlights

Coming Events


Data Integration Effort Delivers Savings, Better Decision Making for HRSA - Igniting Innovation 2018 Overall Winner!
From Federal New Radio Health Resources and Services Administration awarded $11 billion in grants across 90 programs in fiscal 2017. And with that comes petabytes of data and the need to analyze that information. Adriane Burton, the Health Resources and Services Administration’s chief information officer, said a new modern data analytics platform holds the key for improving how HRSA manages its grants process.

“We developed this platform as a framework to
automate the collection of data, automate data analysis and improve data reporting for many of these programs,” Burton said on Ask the CIO. “This is important because 26 million people in the United States use our health center programs. Over 500,000 people use our Ryan White programs. This is just two of our 90 programs. Our solution is innovative because we are automating the collection of health center data. This reduces the burden for more than 1,400 grantees that provide service delivery at 10,400 sites. This improves data quality and use. It helps us to better describe the impact of the health center program.”

HRSA’s efforts won them the prestigious Igniting Innovation grand prize from ACT-IAC.

MITRE Launches Challenge To Solve Government's Improper Payments Problem 
MITRE is offering innovators the chance to solve a national problem, safeguard billions of tax-payer dollars, make government connections, and win up to $50,000. The MITRE Challenge is an 8-week-long competition that is open to individual entrepreneurs, college teams, state and local government representatives (if their organizations support their participation), and large and small for-profit and not-for-profit entities. MITRE is launching this Strengthening Eligibility Verification Challenge on August 6 to engage creative inventors to find groundbreaking approaches to solving the problem of improper enrollment in federal benefit programs.


Accelerating IT Modernization Through Acquisition Innovation Initiative Kicks Off
On June 13th, ACT-IAC’s Institute for Innovation launched the cross-disciplinary “Accelerating IT Modernization Through Acquisition Innovation Initiative”. This effort, sponsored by OMB’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy, will identify and share innovative acquisition practices to help speed up federal IT modernization efforts and promote broader adoption. The need for this initiative was identified as the highest priority area for innovation by a focus-group of senior government executives. The initiative will focus on helping agencies achieve the number one cross-agency priority (CAP) goal in the President’s Management Agenda - IT Modernization. Over 50 ACT-IAC members volunteered for this initiative including members of the IT Management and Modernization and Acquisition Communities of Interest. Four teams will focus on specific problems, process improvements, resources and authorities, and effective organizations. Their goal is to deliver initial results by the Imagine Nation ELC 2018 conference in October.

Why the Next White House Cyber Czar Should Be An Economist
by Chip Block
There has been a lot of press lately about the need for a White House level cybersecurity coordinator, or czar as it was termed in the last administration. The topic has gained a lot of attention since the position was eliminated in May by the Trump administration. Members of Congress have pushed back and are considering ways of requiring the position be reinstated. I offer up a new idea: make this person an economist. 

This may sound like an odd qualification for something traditionally led by highly technical types or those that have led large governmental cyber organizations. The position has, in the past, focused on the implementation of technologies and policies designed to protect the networks of the federal government. The reason I recommend an economist is that the cyber problem, at its core, is an economic issue. 


Hot Tech Topics Series - Data Pipes are Data Pipes?

Data pipes are cloud-based services that capture, transform, route, and deliver data. The source might be Internet of Things (IoT) devices, web sites, mobile apps, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions, databases, you name it. Data Pipe services can be configured to collect, aggregate, combine, cleanse and format the data, then deliver it to a specified destination in a specified way. Typical destinations include serverless applications designed for event processing, data scientists and their artificial intelligence tools, and cyber security teams and tools.

Note – Michael Conlin, the author of our Hot Tech Topics series and Institute for Innovation member from Perspecta, recently became the Chief Data Officer for the Department of Defense. Congratulations to Michael for his new position. We look forward to continued collaboration. 

Jim Cook Appointed Vice President for Strategic Engagements and Partnerships at MITRE MITRECorporation has appointed Jim Cook Vice President for Strategic Engagements and Partnerships. In this role, Cook will lead the company’s strategic engagement and partnership with government, the private sector and congressional stakeholders; and promote development of new impact opportunities across the federal, state and municipal space. Jim Cook has been a staunch supporter of ACT-IAC’s Institute for Innovation and MITRE’s representative to the Institute for many years. Congratulations to Jim for his new position.

Innovate IT or Lose IT - Think Big, Act Small, and Deliver Modernization
By Stu Hammer and Judy Douglas
Change is in the air! Laws have been passed that promise to change the fundamentals of government investment in modernized Information Technology-FITARA, Data Act, MGT Act. But laws don’t guarantee action. The imperative of IT modernization is the forcing function for government. Laws can support innovators pursing that imperative. Laws allow us to “think big” about overall improvements in government. But successful execution requires us to smartly “act small”. ACT-IAC has been at the forefront of helping organizations consider how best to take advantage of these opportunities and execute through the collective expertise and work products of its government and industry members.


Featured Articles

The Virginia Serious Game Institute - Dedicated to Supporting Innovation in Serious Games
by Nate Smith and Calvin Carlson
Accelerators are growing in number across the region, to target market-centric start-ups and support new innovations and entrepreneurship in areas such as cybersecurity, technology, and other growing sectors. Accelerators are designed to provide start-ups with new connections and a collaborative learning environment which typically consist of institutional and corporate partners, investor networks, as well as support on product development, customer expansion, and building a community relationship. Accelerators are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to resources available for new business, as academic institutions are coming to the playing field to participate in the fast-paced incubator space.

One such institution is George Mason University (GMU) Virginia Serious Game Institute (VSGI), a product of a public-private partnership between George Mason University and Prince William County, Virginia. As the U.S. affiliate of six related institutions around the world, VSGI is dedicated to the research and cultivation of serious games and simulations.

Onward to Opportunity: Veterans Career Transition Program 
Onward to Opportunity – Veterans Career Transition Program (O2O-VCTP) is a training and job placement available to active duty service members (within six months of separation or retirement), National Guard and Reserve, post-9/11 veterans, and spouses in all three categories. Training and professional certification is provided at no cost in over 30 top paying fields in business management and information technology. The program uses in-person and online learning options to best fit your needs. Lee Moreland, recent U.S. Army graduate of the program working as an IT program manager at Starbucks said “My first reaction to O2O was it was too good to be true but O2O – VCTP is opening doors for me. As a graduate, with industry credentials in hand, I have expanded my technical capabilities and am now in a better position to lead and impact in the business environment, just like I have in the military.”  Apply at or get more information by emailing Sandy Smith, O2O-VCTP Program Manager National Capital Region at

Zero Trust Approach Can Address New Threats, Forrester Analyst Says
From Meritalk
With new threats emerging to and from the data economy, a zero trust IT security approach can solve some of the problems that come with digital transformation, said Jeff Pollard, principal analyst at IT sector research firm Forrester at MeriTalk’s Akamai Government Forum on June 14. “For the security leader that’s looking to make a different kind of case to explain what zero trust is … zero trust is a way to protect the apps, the engagement, and the experiences you deliver to your business,” said Pollard.

Pennsylvania, Colorado, federal DOT Add Services to Gov2Go App - Igniting Innovation 2018 "Impacter" Award Winner
For many government technology leaders, the ultimate in service delivery would be an app or online portal where residents could conduct all of their government business from a single interface. Recent additions to Gov2Go, a state government services app developed by Kansas-based technology firm NIC Inc., are helping bring that idea closer to reality.
Gov2Go won the Impacter award for the innovation with the greatest magnitude of results and benefits at ACT-IAC’s 2018 Igniting Innovation Conference and Awards.

Featured Innovation Programs and Web Sites

Additional innovation programs and web sites you may be interested in:

LAUNCH Innovation Challenge
June 26, 2018
Submissions due by September 1st
Click here for more information

DARPA D60 Symposium
September 5-7, 2018
Gaylord National Harbor, Oxon Hill MD
Click here for more information

Identity and Access Management Forum
September 11, 2018
Renaissance Hotel, Washington DC
Click here for more information

Imagine Nation - ELC 2018
October 14-17, 2018
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 
Click here for more information

Monthly Tours of the Lab at OPM
August 13September 10
Click here for more information

Connect and Collaborate with Other Innovators

Now, you can connect, learn, and share your innovation challenges and successes with other innovators using tools developed by ACT-IAC’s Institute for Innovation. The “Government Innovators” group on LinkedIn ( is a community-wide gathering spot to share information, help each other, and grow the government innovation community (including private companies and individuals). The LinkedIn Showcase ( is your go-to resource for Institute-specific information, like upcoming events and original content. And, we encourage you to use the #GovInnovatorshashtag in your tweets.

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