GSA honored for challenge.gov

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The General Services Administration’s website challenge.gov won Harvard University’s Ash Center Innovations in American Government Award on Jan. 23, after competing with more than 600 applicants.

The website, launched in 2010, has been used by 59 federal agencies to crowdsource solutions to problems. The site has garnered 3.6 million visitors and conducted more than 300 challenges.

“Challenge.gov is a powerful, yet practical, example that any jurisdiction or level of government could follow to enable its agencies to tap into the collective wisdom of completely new and creative audiences of problem solvers,” said Dan Tangherlini, GSA administrator, in a statement.

Challenge.gov was chosen as a top five finalist for the award Nov. 26. Two of the programs it competed against were the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, a program based in Boston that uses technology, such as smartphones, to enhance civic engagement, and the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, which works to revitalize the nation’s most distressed neighborhoods.

Some of the innovations that have come from challenge.gov include the Robocall Challenge, which has stopped more than 84,000 robocalls and a challenge to create a 100-mpg vehicle.

“Challenge.gov demonstrates the power of collaborative problem solving in the public sector,” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in American Government Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

The award was created in 1985 and has had more than 27,000 applicants.

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Agencies, Applications & Software, Dan Tangherlini, Departments, General Services Administration (GSA), Harvard University, open source, Stephen Goldsmith, Tech
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