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August 22, 2012

White House Innovation Fellows

The White House is announcing the White House Innovation Fellows who are going to work on five projects.

Here are the projects:

1. RFP-EZ – twitter: @ProjectRFPEZ

Building a prototype process for federal agencies to source low-cost, high-impact solutions from innovative tech companies and startups.

2. My Gov – twitter: @ProjectMyGov #gov

Building a prototype that streamlines the 1,2000+ government/service websites, with more intuitive interfaces and the ability to accept feedback.

3. Open Data – Twitter: @ProjectOpenData #opengov

Open Data will continue the path set by NOAA’s release of data by further scaling the Health Data Initiative and releasing new databases in the energy, education, public safety, and nonprofit sectors

4. 20% Initiative – twitter: @ProjectTwenty

USAID-led project to transition from cash to electronic payments across public and private sectors. Aims: reducing corruption, improving safety, further opening the door to entrepreneurial innovation. (The name comes from the aim of getting 20% more bang per buck.)

5. Blue Button For America – twitter: @ProjectBlueBtn

Developing tools that enable individuals to utilize their own health records – current medications and drug allergies, claims and treatment data, and lab reports, etc. – to empower them to improve their own health and healthcare.

700 people have applied for the Fellowships. They’ll be announced on Thursday. The fellowships last for six months. The projects will combine the private and public sectors, and will be done in full public, with as much crowd participation as possible. (TechPresident has a good post about it.)

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January 11, 2010

State of the Union opened up

The White House is inviting us to talk with the President’s advisers in the runup to the State of the Union. The first is at 3:30pm EST today, on the environment. How open the conversation will be of course remains to be seen, and presumably the speech is already drafted. Still, it could be toward the high end of expectation, and, in any case, it’s interesting to watch the White House try to figure out how to scale conversation.

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December 18, 2009

Grants for education projects

HASTAC and MacArthur have announced the third year of the Digital Media and Learning Competition, awarding grants for innovative educational projects. This year, the White House is one of the sponsors. Also, this year the proposals will be open for public comment. Here’s what you’ll need to put in your application; submissions begin Jan 7.


December 4, 2009

Anil Dash on Expert Labs

Anil Dash, a person I both like and admire, has become the head of a new project under the auspices of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, with MacArthur Foundation backing. Expert Labs will be a platform that enables federal agencies (and eventually others) to pose questions and get answers from social networks of credentialed experts and the public. I’m excited about this because I think it will do good things, because I’m writing about networked expertise these days, because I like to see knowledge addressed socially, and because the White House stimulated the creation of this project. (I was at the initial discussions between the White House, the AAAS, and some people they pulled in for a day of brainstorming.)

This is one of the half dozen interviews I did at Supernova, which I will be posting as I get around to uploading them.


November 1, 2009

Whitehouse goes Drupal

From Personal Democracy Forum: has gone Drupal. After months of planning, says an Obama Administration source, the White House has ditched the proprietary content management system that had been in place since the days of the Bush Administration in favor of the latest version of the open-source Drupal software, as the AP alluded to in its reporting several minutes ago.

This is a pragmatic decision because open source software is more likely to withstand time’s arrows (time’s arrow faces forward but it seems to fire them backwards at us), but it’s also important as a symbol: It is yet another validation of open software’s robustness and capabilities; it says that the White House is of and by the people, just as open software is; it symbolizes the Obama administration’s understanding of tech and its embrace of openness.

So, this is good techie news, but also a bit more.

(Here‘s the NYT on the news. And I heard about this from my friend Britt Blaser, whose Open Resource Group citizen-to-government software runs on Drupal. (Disclosure: I volunteer as an adviser to Britt’s group.)