State Department asks for private sector help with innovating

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The State Department’s Office of Global Partnerships is gathering information, strategies and ideas from all areas of the private sector to facilitate innovation and modernization in diplomacy, according to a request for information filed in May.

The RFI was inspired by the increased need for efficiency within the department in the aftermath of federal budget cuts and sequestration. The Trump administration’s fiscal 2018 budget request would reduce “foreign assistance funding and reprioritizes funds to make the U.S. Department of State ‘leaner, more efficient and more effective,'” the RFI says.

The State Department is also expecting office restructuring and is restating the need for an effective, innovative platform that can be used throughout the department.

The RFI represents a non-binding, open request on behalf of the State Department for private sector entities to share expertise in blending innovation and collaboration.

Ultimately, the Office of Global Partnerships hopes to file a request for proposal for a “comprehensive innovation platform and toolkit” to be utilized throughout the State Department that will ideally cut costs and foster an environment of innovation across the department.

Likewise, with the solicitation the office hopes to “modernize the way the Department engages in diplomacy by institutionalizing private sector collaboration across bureaus and missions within the Department through a web-based one-stop resource center that captures our range of services and technical assistance, as well as provides offices guidance on how to integrate and implement innovative tools and practices (e.g. challenges, competitions, crowd sourcing, etc.) within their missions.” according to the RFI.

While the State Department is interested in establishing and implementing a department-wide  toolkit with private sector services identified through the RFI, there’s no guarantee that the State Department will move forward in the acquisition process, a department official told FedScoop.

A comprehensive list of 16 questions directed towards players in the IT industry is included in the RFI, which is open for responses until June 12.

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budget, Innovation, IT Modernization, State Department
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