Aneesh Chopra, White House Chief Technology Officer (CTO), visited the Defrag Conference, www.defragcon.com/2011/ and the Startup Colorado Public Launch, www.silicon-flatirons.org/events.php?id=1042 to talk about recently unveiled initiatives targeted towards entrepreneurs and innovators in his keynote address entitled Winning the Future through Open Innovation. In an historic and groundbreaking approach to our nation’s most pressing problems, these initiatives seek to tap into the creative genius and solutions oriented focus demonstrated by those with the entrepreneurial spirit in an effort to “invent our way out” of some of the greatest dilemmas ever faced by our nation. Chief among these programs, a number of public – private partnerships arose from the push for bottom up change. Several regulatory agencies, such as the FDA, hope to benefit from the success and experience of entrepreneurs and CEOs through entrepreneurships in residences, and numerous contests have opened to the public designed to tap into innovative solutions.
Announcements of novel, low cost, technology based solutions suggest success and significant positive movement within an atmosphere of openness, transparency, and collaboration. On Monday, November 7, 2011, the Veteran’s Job bank went live just 90 days after program conception. The job bank seeks to answer the challenge issued in August 2011 to hire 100,000 returning veterans, and does so in a manner that brings the job to the veterans, in their locale. Through open innovation and collaboration, Google, Bing, and Yahoo created www.schema.org , a jointly designed job-listing schema, which they in turn brought to the job search industry. SimplyHired and other job search vendors quickly jumped on board with the program, adding tags to jobs committed for veteran employment. The job schema search engine crawls the web looking for veteran tagged jobs, allowing the end user, returning vets, to access jobs through a simple front end interface located at https://www.nationalresourcedirectory.gov/jobSearch/index.
In August, the FDA announced its entrepreneur in residence program. Seasoned entrepreneurs in the medical industry, such as the former CEO of Medtronic, who have successfully navigated FDA’s regulatory process, will help identify and implement ways for the FDA and small businesses to work together in researching, developing, and bringing new medical products and treatments to the marketplace both quickly and safely. These experienced CEOs will train FDA staff on how to engage and network with small businesses, and help the FDA more fully understand the challenges small businesses face, and the importance of timely communications during the review and approval process.
Similar initiatives are underway in numerous areas seeking to rely on the expertise of Americans for innovation and a better, faster way to address exponentially growing needs in energy, health, education, open manufacturing platforms, and a desire to spark new products and services. Through an initiative to open energy data to innovation, utilities across the nation agreed on Green Button apps for environment that allow consumers to download and view energy consumption in one hour increments. On Tuesday, November 8, 2011, an $8 million competition opened in which 12 communities across the nation can pledge their commitment to use Green Button apps to improve their eco footprint in return for eligibility for a $2 million dollar prize. Data on the environment released the same day the competition opened through Apps for Environment available at www.energy.data.gov
In education, innovation led to the launch of the www.LearningRegistry.org This tagging system allows users to discover quality content with identified links to Common Core Standards, utilization stats, and author history, and allows tracking of content via news feeds. Solution oriented apps and APIs seek to solve health care issues through open health data initiatives. One example, iTriage, a mobile look up service, empowers consumers to make positive health and life style choices and connects patients to area providers via a symptom lookup feature. Started by two emergency room physicians in Denver, CO in 2008, the company generated over 76,000 consumer health referrals in its first year of operations. www.itriagehealth.com .
Clearly greater innovation and ongoing public-private partnerships are necessary to continue inroads into these pressing problems, and interested innovators, inventors, etc. can go to www.challenge.gov to submit ideas, apps and APIs, as well as check out ongoing and new contests for ideas and solutions. Finally, in an effort to spark new products and services by building entrepreneurial communities across the Front Range, Startup America launched Startup Colorado on November 9th. This regional initiative seeks to spur new company creation and foster success through community, collaboration and mentorship. To read more about Startup America, visit www.startupamericapartnership.org/ or go to http://co.startupamericapartnership.org/ to learn more about Startup Colorado.
A two part video of Aneesh Chopra's Closing Address at the Startup Colorado Launch at the Silicon Flatirons Center,
Wolf Law Building at CU-Boulder, can be viewed on YouTube by following these links:
Part 1 of 2 http://youtu.be/Z6wrdZF6kSI
Part 2 of 2 http://youtu.be/oZotdLephe8