One big theme in Washington is that people in private industry and government can work together to get results. They talk about "public/private partnerships" and really mean it, and it's working. The public sector is learning a lot from the private sector.
A high priority area which has already delivered results is the innovation initiative effort at the Department of Veterans Affairs. They're had two internal efforts where they got employees to tell management what really needs to get done, and it's working. (I've participated, which is my kind of do-it-myself public/private partnership, check out the most recent results.)
Now, they're announcing a new partnership for more innovation. [link here]
The VA Innovation Initiative (VAi2) is a department-wide program that brings the most promising innovations to VA's most important challenges by involving employees and the private sector in the creation of visionary solutions in service to Veterans.
"Creativity in the private sector generates a wealth of technology capability that can help drive VA forward," said Dr. Peter Levin, Senior Advisor to the Secretary and Chief Technology Officer of Veterans Affairs. "By targeting innovations that are nearing commercialization, the Industry Innovation Competition provides a bridge between creative ideas in the private sector and real-world deployments that improve the services we deliver"
Public and private companies, entrepreneurs, universities and non-profits are encouraged to participate in the Competition, which targets advancements in:
- Innovative Housing Technology to Address Veteran Homelessness
- Telehealth: VA is a leader in telehealth implementation and currently serves many thousands of Veterans with solutions such as home health monitoring.
- New Models of Dialysis and Renal Disease Prevention
- Improvement of Polytrauma Care
- Reduction of Adverse Drug Events
- Integrated Business Accelerator: A wide array of services and benefits are available to assist Veterans, and Service Disabled Veterans in particular, in starting and sustaining new businesses.
The deal is that this is real, and based on the VA track record in innovation, promises to be effective.