US aims to launch ‘innovation incubator’ in 2019

By on 27/12/2018 | Updated on 24/09/2020
Bulk-buying sticky notes: the US innovation incubator should be up and running in 2019 (Image courtesy: Rawpixel/Unsplash).

The US aims to establish an ‘innovation incubator’ during 2019, bringing together industry, academia and the government to address issues facing federal agencies.

Margaret Weichert, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, said on 12 December that she wants the research centre to get up and running during 2019.

The Federal Times reported that officials outlined two possible models for the Government Effectiveness Advanced Research (GEAR) Centre: a network of “hubs” with objectives set by a federal government board, or a centrally-run entity with priorities set by a cross-sector board.

Up a gear

OMB has been consulting publicly on the project since June 2018, when plans for the centre were first announced as part of the government reorganisation plan.

The GEAR centre will begin by looking at how government can approach issues such as data management and the re-training of federal workers in IT skills.

Weichert said: “We want to do this quickly. We want to seed a center and start the work in 2019,” reported Fedscoop.

Building the model

She told reporters they will use feedback from their consultation as well as drawing on examples from states and local governments who are already working in similar ways.

“What we don’t want to do is recreate the wheel,” she said. “I’m not looking to create another replica of the vehicles that we already have that work well. We also need to make sure that we don’t forget to learn [from] state and local governments.”

She added: “I have a hypothesis that because states and local governments compete for talent, they compete for businesses, they compete for innovation, they are actually at the forefront of innovation and figuring out how to bring public, private and academic parties together.”

The OMB is working on its funding structure for the centre, and says it is exploring a range of ideas – from fee-for-service models to endowments. The White House will provide a few million dollars of seed funding to get the centre going initially, officials said.

About Natalie Leal

Natalie is a freelance journalist whose work has been published by The Sun Online, The Guardian, Novara Media, Positive News, and Welfare Weekly, among others. She also writes reports and case studies on global business trends for behavioural insights agency, Canvas8. Prior to working as a journalist Natalie worked for the public sector in social services for several years. She switched careers in 2013 after winning a fully funded NCTJ in a national writing competition. She holds a Masters degree in social anthropology from Sussex University where she specialised in processes of social change and international conflict and reconciliation processes.

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