FY 2017 Annual Performance Plan and Report - Goal 2 Objective B

Fiscal Year 2017
Released February, 2016

Goal 2.  Objective B:  Foster and apply innovative solutions to health, public health, and human services challenges

HHS depends on collaboration to realize its goals.  Every day, HHS agencies work with their federal, state, local, tribal governments, urban Indian organizations and other tribal organizations, nongovernmental, and private sector partners to improve the health and well-being of Americans.  HHS is using technology to identify new approaches to enable citizens to contribute their ideas to the work of government that will yield innovative solutions to our most pressing health and human service challenges.  HHS employs an array of innovative participation and collaboration mechanisms to improve delivery of consumer information on patient safety and health, provide for medical research collaborations on patient engagement, provide technology for teamwork, and find creative ideas in the workplace.  These innovations include engaging Web 2.0 technologies with several functional capabilities, including blogging to rate and rank ideas and priorities, crowdsourcing to identify public opinion and preferences, group collaboration tools such as file-sharing services, idea generation tools, mobile technologies such as text messaging, and online competitions.

Innovation is a key element of HHS’s intra-agency Open Government initiative.  Through this initiative, the administration is promoting agency transparency, public participation, and public-private collaboration across federal departments.  Every part of the Department contributes to making HHS more open and innovative.  The Office of the Secretary led this Objective’s assessment as a part of the Strategic Review.

Objective 2.B Table of Related Performance Measures

Increase the number of opportunities for the public to co-create solutions through open innovation (Lead Agency - IOS; Measure ID - 1.4)

  FY 2012 FY 2013 FY 2014 FY 2015 FY 2016 FY 2017
Target     N/A 31.0 20.0 20.0
Result     16.0 22.0 Sep 30, 2016 Sep 23, 2017
Status     Historical Actual Target Not Met but Improved Pending Pending

Increase the number of innovative solutions developed across the Department (Lead Agency - IOS; Measure ID - 1.5)

  FY 2012 FY 2013 FY 2014 FY 2015 FY 2016 FY 2017
Target     N/A 180.0 90.01 90.02
Result     157.0 198.0 Sep 30, 2016 Aug 30, 2017
Status     Historical Actual Target Exceeded Pending Pending

Analysis of Results

In FY 2015, 16 challenges were completed and 6 new challenges were launched at HHS, not meeting the target of 31 but improving over the previous year’s result.  The four major trends across these challenges are: 1) HHS challenges are becoming more ambitious and sophisticated (i.e., more multi-phase competitions, better problem statements); 2) HHS challenges are more collaborative (public-private partnerships, interagency collaborations); 3) the purse prize is higher and more staff time is being dedicate to design and execution; and 4) more challenges are developing not only solutions but providing a structure to pilot and test them.

The HHS Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship, and Action (IDEA) Lab received 198 innovative solutions in FY 2015, representing participation from all of the Operating and Staff Divisions, exceeding the target.  The HHS Innovates program received 70 submissions, of which 7 were personally recognized at the HHS Innovates Awards Ceremony.  The HHS Ignite Accelerator received 115 proposals across two rounds of Ignite, of which 24 were selected for scale-up and training.  The Ventures program received 10 applications of which 3 were selected for financial support.  The Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program, which has moved to a rolling basis, received three final submissions and recruit for 5 Entrepreneurs-in-Residence.  All three of the EIRs have been asked to extend their stays, which speaks to the satisfaction of their work. 

Plans for the Future

A high priority for the Open Government Plan is to increase the public's capacity to co-create solutions through challenge competitions.  Challenge competitions can provide a fresh approach to solving problems, including implementing new methodologies and mechanisms for spurring innovation, helping agencies to advance their core missions, and providing new acquisition methods.  Some of initiatives being undertaken to increase the number of high-quality challenges issued by HHS include: 1) Launch of a new HHS Competes Ambassadors group that serve as points of contact within the HHS agencies, and steer the program forward by discussing policy and process issues, as well as effective prize design; 2) Development of a strategic sourcing mechanism and guidance for those who wish to hire a challenge management firm to assist with the running of challenges; and 3) a bi-weekly newsletter that highlights exciting new challenges being issued by HHS as well as non-HHS agencies.  The bi-weekly newsletter has a readership of over 300 individuals, and is expected to grow during FY 2016.  The HHS Open Innovation Challenge Manager plans to expand the network and capability of agency heads within HHS to manage the policy and guidance of prizes and challenges; build on the two-week pilot accelerator run in 2015 to support HHS in the design and launch of a prize (anticipate hosting another one in 2016); and expand the offering of prize/vendor platforms through the HHS strategic sourcing vehicle.

The IDEA Lab anticipates making several changes to its innovation offerings in FY16.  The IDEA Lab will work closely with the HHS Innovation Council, comprised of HHS leadership, to determine the types of offerings that will be most relevant to the innovation needs of the HHS Operating Divisions.  In FY 16, the IDEA Lab will focus its efforts on providing seed funding and entrepreneurial training through the HHS Ignite and HHS Ventures.  For example, the HHS Ignite Accelerator will provide design-thinking training to all the finalists before selecting a cohort (this is intended to allow more teams to receive training).  The HHS Ventures Program will focus on high areas of need (e.g. re-engineering core processes, strengthening the Department's workforce, increasing citizen engagement with the government, improving energy usage and water operations, and promoting security and innovation).  The Entrepreneur-In-Residence program is spending more time up front with operating and staff divisions to ensure that this pathway best meets their need; thus, while the number of submissions may be reduced, the quality of projects in expected to improve.  The HHS Innovates Awards program, which has been led by IOS for eight rounds will sunset, and Operating Divisions will be encouraged to develop their own awards programs. 

FY 2014 Strategic Review Objective Progress Update Summary

Please note that this section summarizes the result of the FY 2014 HHS Strategic Review process, limiting the scope of content to that available prior to spring of 2015.  Due to this constraint, the following may not be the most current information available.

Conclusion:  Progressing

Analysis:  HHS is utilizing open innovation strategies to enhance how it collaborates with other federal, state, local, and private sector partners to develop innovative responses to the range of health, public health, and human services challenges.  For example mobile technology is being used to increase the reach of resources.  In August, 2014 the “Know Bullying” app was released empowering parents, caregivers and educators with the tools they need to start the conversation with children about bullying.  Know Bullying received a Bronze Award in the Mobile category from the Web Health Awards.

The Accelerating Medicines Partnership is a public-private partnership that is working to transform the current model for developing new diagnostics and treatments.  A critical component of the partnership is that all partners have agreed to make the data and analyses publicly accessible to the broad biomedical community.

The Department continues to invest in longitudinal databases to create research-based knowledge about the outcomes experienced by people as they live with spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, or burn injuries.  By working in cooperation with the American Spinal Injury Association interventions and outcomes measures that support recovery of functions are being developed.

In 2014 there were 31 jurisdictions operating child waiver demonstrations.  These waivers provide states with an opportunity to use federal funds more flexibly in order to test innovative approaches to child welfare service delivery and financing.  Priority consideration is provided to applications focusing on promoting social and emotional well-being and addressing trauma.

HHS is working to translate innovations into practical, scalable applications to improve outcomes, but that work is not without challenges including delays in reauthorization for several programs have limited opportunities for legislative changes to foster or allow innovation.  While technological advances have produced a wealth of data on the biological causes of disease, translating these discoveries into treatments has been far more difficult.  As smartphones become more ubiquitous and health related applications gain acceptance there will be challenges to compete for consumers’ attention. 

In the coming year HHS will work with the Accelerating Medicines Partnership is supporting the development of a Type 2 Diabetes Knowledge Portal incorporating datasets including DNA sequences, functional genomic and clinical data from studies on type 2 diabetes and its heart and kidney complications.  In addition, the Department will work to increase adoption of mobile apps in the behavioral health space.

1,50The HHS Innovates Awards program is being discontinued, therefore the awards for this program are no longer included in the target calculation.



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