2017 Semifinalist
Office of Personnel Management
January 1, 2017

GovConnect is an initiative sponsored by the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to improve talent development and workforce agility across the federal government. It provides background for federal employees to work beyond their current role, organizational or geographic location to collaborate and innovate against the boundary-crossing challenges of 21st-century governance. Initially, the design team did an experimental demo for the President’s Management Council at the White House; following the demonstration, OPM launched the initiative government-wide in an April 2014 memo, inviting additional agencies to test the concept. The invitation sparked imaginations across the government and many agencies proposed initiatives, including the Department of Commerce’s Skills Marketplace, which helps connect employees with professional development opportunities and mini-projects based on specific opportunities and skill-based matches, not grade or seniority; Housing and Urban Development’s Innovation Time program, which allows employees to use up to 10 percent of their time to develop innovations outside their current responsibilities; and Social Security Administration’s Skills Connect, open to 21,000 staff located in Baltimore, Atlanta, and Boston and enables access to staff’s diversity of thought, talent, and experience without regard to geographic or organizational boundaries. Many other agencies are currently undertaking similar experiments. The General Services Administration developed the Open Opportunities software platform, and the Department of State is continuing to develop new models for collaboration. OPM is using these pilots to identify emerging models suitable for government-wide adoption and is currently supporting agencies through an ongoing community of practice.