GSA Celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the Presidential Innovation Fellows Program
August 23, 2022
A decade of private sector tech innovators in government
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. General Services Administration celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) program. The program plans to celebrate the anniversary over the next year with activities to highlight the program’s impact and community since it launched August 23, 2012.
Housed within the Technology Transformation Services (TTS), participants in the program are senior-level career technologists from the private sector who bring their track record and expertise to federal agencies. These PIFs serve as senior advisors for one to two years to help agencies better serve the American people. Notably, some PIFs have remained in government beyond their initial tour of duty, including the current Chief Technology Officer and the Deputy Chief Technology Officer at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the current Chief Experience Officer at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS).
Since 2012, over 200 PIFs have supported initiatives at more than 50 agencies, providing expert advice in specialized disciplines such as artificial intelligence, data strategy, product management, human-centered design, software development, and digital strategy. These efforts have enhanced agencies’ abilities to provide the best customer experience for their stakeholders and the public. The PIF program – which was signed into law through the TALENT Act in 2017 – is also aligned with recent Biden-Harris Administration efforts to improve internal operational efficiencies and external performance impact. This includes targeted outcomes for agencies in the Presidential Management Agenda (PMA) and the Executive Order on Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government.
“The PIF program is a smart way for federal agencies to access new ideas and extraordinary tech talent and put both to work solving hard problems and delivering better government services to the American people,” said GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan. “The program has been delivering outstanding results and saving money for taxpayers for the past 10 years and we look forward to supporting even more technologists interested in serving a tour of duty in government.”
“As first-class technologists and entrepreneurs, we look to Presidential Innovation Fellows to help us deeply understand the experiences of those we seek to serve,” said Ambassador Susan Rice, Director, Domestic Policy Council. “Their skills and expertise enhance our ability to apply technology, data, and innovative practices to make us a more equitable federal government and make people's lives better. This work is critical, urgent, and exciting. I look forward to another 10 years of PIF as we continue to design and deliver the government Americans deserve.”
“PIF represents a 10-year formalized pipeline of technologists and innovators in government. We currently have more than 50 fellows serving at 20 agencies, working toward improvement and innovation across multiple disciplines,” said PIF Director Rebeca Lamadrid. “In PIF’s next 10 years, we’ll work to attract the most diverse and brightest talent in technology and innovation that is representative of the American public. Recruiting the right fellows will enable the program to continue to create meaningful solutions that significantly improve how the government serves the American people. ”
“While working as a PIF in the 2020 cohort, I learned how decisions are made at a national scale, and whose voices are represented in the process. In my current role as Chief Experience Officer at CMS, I apply these lessons from PIF to champion the Voice of the Customer as a driver of operational excellence across our agency and the programs we deliver,” said Ariele Faber, Chief Experience Officer, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS).
Over the years, PIFs have continued to help high-profile government agencies’ efforts in numerous ways:
- In 2022:
- At the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), using digital strategy and platforms to support initiatives expanding access to key services like WIC to vulnerable populations.
- At the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), advising the Community Navigator Pilot Program that enhances equity-focused data-driven targeted outreach for small businesses in underserved communities.
- Developing and launching the new Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), providing invaluable cross-agency perspectives and expertise on the role of data in healthcare, digital strategy, and engagement to this once-in-a-generation initiative.
- In 2021:
- Served as inspiration for GSA to launch the U.S Digital Corps, which welcomed its first cohort of early career technologists in 2022.
- As part of the American Rescue Plan, partnered with agencies to increase awareness and access, especially with underserved communities, to the expanded Child Tax Credit.
- From 2020 to present, served the public and frontline workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in many ways:
- Launched telehealth.hhs.gov, which served 1 million healthcare providers and millions of patients;
- Developed chatbots to better serve patients at the VA;
- Helped to lead one of the largest public health campaigns in history at the Department of Health and Human Services. The "We Can Do This" campaign focused on education and trust in the COVID-19 vaccine and engaged the public with creative and modern marketing tactics.
- In 2016, partnered with the National Cancer Institute as part of the Cancer Moonshot Initiative to help redesign how people think about, find, and participate in cancer clinical research.
- In 2014, formed part of the founding teams of both 18F, a technology and design consultancy within the federal government, and U.S. Digital Service (USDS), a program that deploys small, responsive groups of designers, engineers, and product managers to deliver services quickly.
About GSA: GSA provides centralized procurement for the federal government, managing a nationwide real estate portfolio of nearly 370 million rentable square feet and overseeing approximately $75 billion in annual contracts. GSA’s mission is to deliver the best value in real estate, acquisition, technology and other mission-support services across government, in support of the Biden-Harris administration’s priorities. For more information, visit GSA.gov and follow us at @USGSA.