What would you do if you were in charge of RFP-EZ — Insights from our expert panel and fellow Clay Johnson

The DorobekINSIDER has compiled a list of government and industry experts in procurement. On the panel today are:
  • RFP-EZ Presidential Innovation Fellow, Clay Johnson
  • Allan Burman is President of Jefferson Solutions (Solutions), the government consulting practice of the Jefferson Consulting Group. Before joining Jefferson, Al Burman had a lengthy career in the Federal government, serving in policy positions in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and in the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton. He served as the administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.
  • Dave Drabkin is the Corporate Director of Acquisition Policy for Northrop Grumman. Dave is responsible for influencing and representing the formation of Acquisition Policy by the Federal government from Northrop Grumman’s perspective. Dave previously served as the Senior Procurement Executive of the US General Services Administration.  Dave served as one of the FAR signatories, supervised FAI and IAE.  He served as a staff member of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.  Dave was appointed by the President and served as a member of the Section 1423 (SARA) Panel.
LISTEN TO THE PANEL HERE. Today, we’re going to talk about RFP-EZ, one of the Obama administration’s projects for the Presidential Innovation Fellows, and we’re going to do some real collaborating... We’re going to talk to two experts and try to help them out. First, some background for those who not have heard about the Presidential Innovation Fellows or the projects. Project RFP-EZ is one of five initiatives that are part of the Obama administration’s Digital Government Initiative. The initiatives are led by Presidential Innovation Fellows -- these are small teams that were being called in for a six-month stint to provide outside the box thinking to vexing problems. And the initiatives range from MyGov, which is tasked to reimagining the relationship between the federal government and its citizens through by essentially creating an online portal for the government. How’s that for a challenging task. So here's your chance. What would you do?

Here are some of our questions...

  • The concept... Comedians often say if you don't buy the premise, you won't buy the bit. The goal of RFP-EZ is above. Is this something that can be done in this kind of "Little Bet" way -- are there small things that can be done to move the ball forward? (Here is how Clay Johnson described it: to make it so businesses who wouldn't ordinarily contract with government, contract with government. To make it so new small businesses can easily get small contracts with the government, and so that government doesn't spend so much money on IT.)
  • What are the biggest challenge here?
  • One of the big challenges for small businesses is government can seem overwhelming. What can they do to help?
  • The RFP-EZ team is working on a suite of tools that they believe will make the process more agile -- a Statement of Work producer... a bid tracker...
  • The fellows have said that these are relatively inexpensive projects -- they fall under the $150,000 threshold where agencies can do simplified acquisitions. Does that make sense?
  • The fellows highlight the language barrier as one of the big challenges -- government and government contracting speak. Thoughts?
  • The list of challenges -- language... culture and adoption... policy and regulation -- which of these should they really be focusing on? Are they missing any?
Resources: 
  1. Presidential Innovation Fellows: RFP-EZ | The White House
  2. Here is an update from one of the fellows on what they are currently working on...
  3. RFP-EZ: What We're Thinking
  4. RT @ProjectRFPEZ: We Ship Software. Update #3
  5. GovLoop's Ressler re 5 Ideas on Project RFP-EZ
  6. ProjectRFPEZ on Twitter
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