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Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs


“Innovation Competition” Begins at Veterans Affairs

September 10, 2009

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VA Employees Asked to Submit Recommendations for Transforming Service to Veterans

WASHINGTON – To speed its transformation into a 21st Century organization that is Veteran-centric, results-oriented and forward-looking, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has launched one of the largest innovation competitions in the agency’s history.  The competition solicits ideas from VA employees and co-located Veterans Service Organizations who are on the front lines of the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) and encourages them to submit entries addressing everything from claims processing times to better process transparency.

“The men and women of VA know that many Veterans are often asked to wait too long for the critical services they have earned while defending our Nation,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said.  “These employees who grapple with the claims process every day have the first hand knowledge and experience necessary to help us understand inefficiencies and improve the system.  We are confident that our team will come forward with many creative and original ways to accelerate processes and better deliver services for our nation’s Veterans.”

The on-line proposal period began on Tuesday, Sept, 8, and will conclude after Veterans Day.  Employees from the agency’s 57 regional offices have been encouraged by the Secretary to submit entries via a secure online platform.  At the close of the competition, VA administrators from each regional office will select the winning ideas, which will be reviewed by a team chaired by Patrick W. Dunne, the VA Under Secretary for Benefits.  The final selections will receive full funding for project development and execution at the Regional Offices submitting the idea.

President Obama announced the innovation competition while speaking to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in August. “We’re going to fund the best ideas and put them into action, all with a simple mission: cut those backlogs, slash those wait times, deliver your benefits sooner,” said Obama.

VA and the White House will share the winning entries with the public after selection.

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