Thursday, September 10, 2009

"Innovation Competition" Begins at Veterans Affairs

"Innovation Competition"

VA Employees Asked to Submit Recommendations for Transforming Service to

WASHINGTON (Sept. 10, 2009) - 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

"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

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

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

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