GSA’s 10x to take deeper look at 16 ideas submitted by feds

Ideas to improve public services submitted by employees from FEMA, CFBP, Treasury and others rose to the top of GSA’s 10x priority list.

An employee at the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the Homeland Security Department believes automation would help federal inspectors at disaster recovery sites to generate comprehensive documentation that includes photos for each site.

An employee at the Federal Acquisition Service in the General Services Administration suggested using modern technology like 3D scanners to improve the maps of federal buildings to benefit emergency responders and others.

And two federal employees at the departments of Veterans Affairs and Commerce’s Census Bureau submitted an idea to translate ethical artificial intelligence principles into technical steps by developing processes to assess AI at every level, from inception to development, production and continuous performance evaluation.

These are just three of the 16 ideas from 10 agencies that GSA’s 10x program is considering for possible funding in 2024.

“Our fiscal 2024 investment priorities centered on ideas for reimagining public engagement and promoting equity in delivery. We also emphasized ‘Moonshot’ ideas: the biggest, boldest and most ambitious ideas to transform digital public services,” GSA wrote about 10x in a new blog post. “This round, ideas for artificial intelligence projects emerged as a standout category. Nearly one fifth of all the submissions we received were related to AI.”

GSA launched the 10x program in 2015, and it is now part of the Technology Transformation Service, as a venture studio where they ask federal employees to send ideas and then makes small investments with the goal of improving federal digital experiences.

GSA 10x to begin analysis

For the 2024 funding opportunity, 10x received almost 200 ideas from more than a dozen agencies. Along with AI, other topics included accessibility technology, public-to-agency communications and improving data sharing.

10x now will move these 16 projects into phase one of the program where cross-functional teams of technologists will try to answer the simple question, “Is there a there there?”

“They investigate the problem, get a sense of how and if this idea could impact the public, and explore whether a technology solution is possible,” GSA wrote. “We use the phase one findings to guide our investment decisions as we decide whether or not to move a project into subsequent phases.”

In a phase two, the 10x team analyzes the idea to decide if it’s ultimately a technology problem or not. If it’s more of a people, policy or funding challenge, 10x will not invest more resources in developing a product or service.

In phase three, the 10x team makes sure the solution integrates with the agency partner’s existing priorities and technology capabilities. The team is reviewing workflow processes and how the agency can continue to sustain and support the technology. Most 10x projects end after Phase 3, when the product is handed off to its agency product owner.

Then in phase four, 10x and the agency sponsor look to scale the technology to support different use cases across agencies and programs that drive the biggest impact with an ultimate goal of transforming digital services for the public.

10x says most ideas never make it to phase 2. For instance in 2022, of the 25 ideas that made it to phase one, only seven received funding for phase two. Additionally, 10x says fewer ideas actually make it to phase three and four where the team scales the solution to the public.

The project is an example of a 10x funded program that made it to phase four.

Another example is the site scanning platform that offers real-time intelligence to help agencies improve website performance and compliance with government mandates by providing web managers with a customizable, automated scanning service.

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