Department of Transportation

Coordination of inhouse software innovations

A lesser known government resource is employees that are able to develop innovative software to streamline office processes. This talent exists and is used, but often only at a local level. The resulting innovations could be used by multiple offices or organizations, but often are unknown beyond the inventor's office. This limits their use, results in duplication of efforts, and hinders cooperation. The inventors are usually not professional software engineers, which can place limits on their creations. However, attempts to solve this problem by turning the programs over to contractors can backfire, as what made the original solution uniquely functional was the inventor's close connection to the process.

 

I propose that we unify and support these efforts by identifying experts who would provide professional assistance to the inventors, publicize their creations, and foster an open-source style culture of cooperation between individuals. These persons would actively seek new programs being developed, provide software engineering assistance and resources to the inventors, and establish connections between persons working on the same problem. The right person for the job would serve as a mentor, publicist, and coordinator for these projects.

 

The benefits include expanded development and availability of novel improvements to government processes, reduced expenditure of government personnel time on duplicated efforts to solve the same problems, and decreased expenditures of funds on having contractors rewrite programs developed in the field.

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Idea No. 13638