President Obama Signs Executive Order Making Presidential Innovation Fellows Program Permanent

White House Press Release: “My hope is this continues to encourage a culture of public service among our innovators, and tech entrepreneurs, so that we can keep building a government that’s as modern, as innovative, and as engaging as our incredible tech sector is.  To all the Fellows who’ve served so far – thank you.  I encourage all Americans with bold ideas to apply.  And I can’t wait to see what those future classes will accomplish on behalf of the American people.” –- President Barack Obama

Today, President Obama signed an executive order that makes the Presidential Innovation Fellows Program a permanent part of the Federal government going forward. The program brings executives, entrepreneurs, technologists, and other innovators into government, and teams them up with Federal employees to improve programs that serve more than 150 million Americans.

The Presidential Innovation Fellows Program is built on four key principles:

  • Recruit the best our nation has to offer: Fellows include entrepreneurs, startup founders, and innovators with experience at large technology companies and startups, each of whom leverage their proven skills and technical expertise to create huge value for the public.
  • Partner with innovators inside government: Working as teams, the Presidential Innovation Fellows and their partners across the government create products and services that are responsive, user-friendly, and help to improve the way the Federal government interacts with the American people.
  • Deploy proven private sector strategies: Fellows leverage best practices from the private sector to deliver better, more effective programs and policies across the Federal government.
  • Focus on some of the Nation’s biggest and most pressing challenges: Projects focus on topics such as improving access to education, fueling job creation and the economy, and expanding the public’s ability to access their personal health data.

Additional Details on Today’s Announcements

The Executive Order formally establishes the Presidential Innovation Fellows Program within the General Services Administration (GSA), where it will continue to serve departments and agencies throughout the Executive Branch. The Presidential Innovation Fellow Program will be administered by a Director and guided by a newly-established Advisory Board. The Director will outline steps for the selection, hiring, and deployment of Fellows within government….

Fellows have partnered with leaders at more than 25 government agencies, delivering impressive results in months, not years, driving extraordinary work and innovative solutions in areas such as health care; open data and data science; crowd-sourcing initiatives; education; veterans affairs; jobs and the economy; and disaster response and recovery. Examples of projects include:

Open Data

When government acts as a platform, entrepreneurs, startups, and the private sector can build value-added services and tools on top of federal datasets supported by federal policies. Taking this approach, Fellows and agency stakeholders have supported the creation of new products and services focused on education, health, the environment, and social justice. As a result of their efforts and the agencies they have worked with:….

Jobs and the Economy

Fellows continue to work on solutions that will give the government better access to innovative tools and services. This is also helping small and medium-sized companies create jobs and compete for Federal government contracts….

Digital Government

The Presidential Innovation Fellows Program is a part of the Administration’s strategy to create lasting change across the Federal Government by improving how it uses technology. The Fellows played a part in launching 18F within the General Services Administration (GSA) and the U.S. Digital Services (USDS) team within the Office of Management and Budget….

Supporting Our Veterans

  • …Built a one-stop shop for finding employment opportunities. The Veterans Employment Center was developed by a team of Fellows working with the Department of Veterans Affairs in connection with the First Lady’s Joining Forces Initiative and the Department of Labor. This is the first interagency website connecting Veterans, transitioning Servicemembers, and their spouses to meaningful employment opportunities. The portal has resulted in cost savings of over $27 million to the Department of Veterans Affairs.


  • …More than 1,900 superintendents pledged to more effectively leverage education technology in their schools. Fellows working at the Department of Education helped develop the idea of Future Ready, which later informed the creation of the Future Ready District Pledge. The Future Ready District Pledge is designed to set out a roadmap to achieve successful personalized digital learning for every student and to commit districts to move as quickly as possible towards our shared vision of preparing students for success. Following the President’s announcement of this effort in 2014, more than 1,900 superintendents have signed this pledge, representing 14 million students.

Health and Patient Care

  • More than 150 million Americans are able to access their health records online. Multiple rounds of Fellows have worked with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to expand the reach of theBlue Button Initiative. As a result, patients are able to access their electronic health records to make more informed decisions about their own health care. The Blue Button Initiative has received more than 600 commitments from organizations to advance health information access efforts across the country and has expanded into other efforts that support health care system interoperability….

Disaster Response and Recovery

  • Communities are piloting crowdsourcing tools to assess damage after disasters. Fellows developed the GeoQ platform with FEMA and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency that crowdsources photos of disaster-affected areas to assess damage over large regions.  This information helps the Federal government better allocate critical response and recovery efforts following a disaster and allows local governments to use geospatial information in their communities…. (More)