In the year since its launch, Challenge.gov has provided the federal government with a tremendous return on its investment in everything from procuring new technologies to creating public awareness on key initiatives, but now there’s a question if the site will survive in an environment of intense budget scrutiny.
General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies Associate Administrator Dave McClure said today that Challenge.gov is not specifically on the chopping block, but with the significant cuts Congress made to the eGov fund in April (slashing the program from $34 million to $8 million as part of budget negotiations) could make it an area for elimination going forward as the program was created largely with eGov funding.
“The office I run is very committed to this and, if eGov funding disappears, we’re going to need to step back and find a way to keep this program running,” McClure said, “but there is a lot of uncertainty going forward.”
McClure added for the project to continue to flourish it needs increased resources – not much, but some – to improve the site’s usability and continue public outreach, not to mention the energy and manpower required to fuel the program.
As with most citizen engagement projects, he said the key is finding ways to stop the site from becoming static.
“It’s one thing to keep the site up, but we want to see it continue to grow and become and continue to be a viable tool for agencies to use,” McClure said. “We want this to be seen as a long-term commitment and not just, ‘Well, we threw up 60 contests, success declared’ and then walk away.”
In the year since it’s launched, Challenge.gov has run more than 125 contests and given away more than $38 million in challenge prizes.