GovBytes: Do You Have a $50,000 Idea For Improving Government?

Do you have a great idea on how to use technology to improve government? If so, the Merit Awards want to hear from you. According to a recent story in GovTech, MeriTalk will be awarding $50,000 for the “most innovative, problem-solving and cost-saving proposal centered on technology.” Ideas can be entered in one of eight categories, citizen engagement, defense, emergency response, entitlement reform, work force management and motivation, back office operations, results achievement and waste. MeriTalk will be accepting submissions online or via tweet until August 1.

Entries will be judged by a panel of IT and government rockstars, including Federal CIO Vivek Kundra; Tom Soderstrom, IT chief technology officer for the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Mark Forman, the first administrator of e-government and IT for the Office of Management and Budget; and Vint Cerf of Google.

While a changing budgetary landscape and the need to do more with less are key drivers of the competition, Cerf believed ideas for the contest would be generated by those unhappy with some element of U.S. government operations.

“Someone needs to be discontented with the status quo in order for something to happen. Otherwise, you sit around fat, dumb and lazy,” Cerf said. “So my sense is, the kinds of actionable ideas that will come in will be from someone who isn’t satisfied. … Malcontents make the world go ’round.”

A Great Idea to Improve U.S. Government Could Net You $50,000

No one wants to be labeled a “Debbie Downer”, but Cerf raises a good point: those who are discontent seek change. If you’re dissatisfied with government, this contest could be a great way to channel that energy into some productive outcomes. So, do you have a $50,000 idea to change the status quo? Do you think this prize is big enough to generate some ground-breaking proposals?


“GovBytes” is a blog series created by GovLoop in partnership with Government Technology. If you see great a story on Gov Tech and want to ask a question around it, please send it to [email protected].

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Rohn Brown

Great Idea! Unfortunately, the link provided to go to “A Great Idea to Improve U.S. Government Could Net You $50,000” takes me to a “HTTP 404 NOT FOUND” Message… :o]