Department of Better Technology

Date Awarded
Grant Period
10/03/13 to 11/07/14
Focus Area
Media Innovation
Knight News Challenge

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Making government contract bidding more transparent by simplifying the way smaller companies bid on government work

The government procurement process can be both highly complicated and time-consuming  - making it difficult for small businesses to discover and bid on contracts and for journalists and transparency advocates to see where public money is going.  As White House Presidential Innovation Fellows, Clay Johnson and Adam Becker built a simple tool for governments to easily post requests for proposals, or RFPs. Based on its early success at the federal level, the team is planning to expand the software to help states and cities. In addition, they will build a library of statements of work that any agency can adapt to their needs. The goal is to bring more competition into government bidding, as a way to both reduce costs and ensure that the most qualified team gets the job.

Note: Grant ID 2013-45680.

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Project Team

Clay Johnson

Clay JohnsonClay JohnsonClay Johnson may be best known as the author of “The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption.” Johnson was also one of the founders of Blue State Digital, the firm that built and managed Barack Obama’s online campaign for the presidency in 2008. Since 2008, Johnson has worked on opening government, as the director of Sunlight Labs until 2010, and as a director of Expert Labs until 2012. He was named the Google/O’Reilly Open Source Organizer of the Year in 2009, was one of Federal Computing Week’s Fed 100 in 2010, and won the CampaignTech Innovator award in 2011. In 2012, he was appointed as an inaugural Presidential Innovation Fellow and led the RFP-EZ project, a federal experiment in procurement innovation.

Adam BeckerAdam Becker is a software developer and entrepreneur. He co-founded and served as chief technology officer of GovHub, a civic-oriented startup that was the first to provide users a comprehensive, geographically calculated list of their government officials. In 2012, he was appointed alongside Johnson as an inaugural Presidential Innovation Fellow and led the development of RFP-EZ.

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