Will you take the Obama challenge?


Want a chance to meet President Barack Obama? Come up with a way to save a lot of money at your agency.

The president laid out a challenge to federal employees this weekend in his weekly blog/radio address, calling for new thinking and creativity among the federal workforce:

“That’s why we’ll establish a process through which every government worker can submit their ideas for how their agency can save money and perform better. We’ll put the suggestions that work into practice. And later this year, I will meet with those who come up with the best ideas to hear firsthand about how they would make your government more efficient and effective.”

There is far to go in modernizing federal agencies to better apply technology, but there also is far to go in modernizing the mindset of how government operates and views itself, he said:

“So much of our government was built to deal with different challenges from a different era. Too often, the result is wasteful spending, bloated programs, and inefficient results. It’s time to fundamentally change the way that we do business in Washington. To help build a new foundation for the 21st century, we need to reform our government so that it is more efficient, more transparent, and more creative. That will demand new thinking and a new sense of responsibility for every dollar that is spent.”

In that spirit, President Obama said he plans to motivate agencies to find savings within their current budgets by allowing them to keep a portion of money they don’t spend and reinvest it elsewhere toward programs that are more effective. The end goal, he said: a smaller budget and more effective government programs.

In addition, Obama said he’s also looking for ideas from businesses and reform experts on how to make government operate leaner and more smartly. Later this year, he said he will host a forum on reforming government for the 21st century as a way to bring outside voices into the government reform discussion.

So, will you take the Obama challenge? Tell us what great ideas you have for saving money.


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  1. Pingback: Fedline » Got Ideas?

  2. How to make government operate leaner and more smartly from a business and reform expert.
    President Obama’s suggestion to involve government workers in developing strategies to improve their agencies’ performance and save money is a wise idea. QualPro has more than twenty-seven years of experience in helping organizations use employee-generated ideas to dramatically improve their results. Our business improvement process captures hundreds of ideas for improvement from all levels of the organization and quickly tests them in the real-life circumstances to prove which ideas actually work. Our work with over 1000 organizations shows that about 25% of employee generated ideas actually make a significant improvement in an organization. While collecting ideas for improvement from employees is beneficial, testing those ideas in the real world to understand which ones work is critical.
    Our process for gathering employee ideas and testing them is called MVT® (multivariable testing). MVT® is a powerful, inexpensive, efficient way to use statistics to test dozens of business improvement ideas simultaneously, quickly proving with certainty which ones are the most powerful and profitable under real-world conditions.
    Any government agency can quickly know with certainty which changes will help any area of their business and statistically quantify how much the changes will help.

    QualPro Inc.’s twenty seven years of testing ideas gathered from workers, executives, and mid-managers, has shown that there are two key parts to improving performance: (1) gathering improvement ideas and (2) selecting the ideas that will be effective when implemented. After participating in 15,000 improvement efforts with more than 1,000 companies, QualPro has mastered both of these.
    Following are some tips to ensure success of President Obama’s effort.
    1. Focus on ideas that are:
    o Practical – can be easily executed. Big improvements do not have to require complicated solutions. Evaluation of 15,000 improvement projects reveals that simple actions very frequently make big differences.
    o Fast – are able to be rapidly implemented. Results from much of the Fortune 500 demonstrate that there is no reason to wait on solutions that cannot be put in place quickly.
    o Cost Free – do not require incremental investment. Testing of more than 150,000 improvement ideas shows that 80% of the benefits come from “methods changes” that cost nothing or save money.
    2. Be sure to test the ideas before implementing them.
    o Data compiled from more than 1,000 companies prove that no one, not even the experts, can accurately predict which ideas will be effective.
    o Results of scientific testing with these companies show that “good ideas” are helpful 25% of the time when their impact is objectively measured. The remaining ideas either make no difference (53%) or are hurtful (22%).
    o Testing 20 to 30 improvement ideas at a time and implementing those demonstrated to be helpful (while avoiding ideas that hurt or make no difference) achieves dramatic improvements without fail.

    MVT® is the solution to solve our government’s greatest challenges. http://www.qualproinc.com

  3. This is quite easy. It is obvious our elected officials have no incentive for change. Oh sure, we hear all about it at election time, “I’m going to change the way DC operates” and some such nonsense. The only way the president can effectively change anything is by introducing and ramming term limits through congress. I’d guess 85% of American voters would be in favor of term limits and 0% of congress. If he really wants an issue to unite Americans and change the way politics are played, push through term limits of 2 terms for the Senate and 6 terms for the House. Do the job to the best of your ability for 12 years then return to private life as our founding fathers envisioned. Being a professional politician is akin to being a professional criminal… neither have a place in society.

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