ISO Good Ideas: Ask Employees Part II

Sixteen years ago in the heyday of reinventing government, if the White House wanted good ideas, it had to go look for them.  The reinvention team had a team of 250 career civil servants and a network of teams in each agency that did the looking.

But today, we have the Internet!  The Washington Post reports the “Search is On for Cost-Cutting Ideas.” Employees on the front line with good ideas can send them directly to the White House.  What kind of ideas are they looking for?  Anything that saves money, of course.  It’s called the “President’s SAVE Award,” for “Securing Americans Value and Efficiency.”

Federal employees can go to and provide their ideas.  You’ll notice it is on the OMB website (no surprise) and they have a deadline (again, no surprise) of October 14th.

The winner (to be announced in November) doesn’t get any money, but does get to present their idea to the President in the White House sometime in November.

According to an OMB memo to agency heads, there are five criteria that will be used to judge each idea:

Does the idea reduce costs in a way that is concrete and quantifiable?

  • Does the idea improve the way that government operates by: Improving the quality of output at lower costs;  Simplifying processes to reduce administrative burden; or Improving the speed of government operations to improve efficiency?
  • Does the idea have a tangible impact on citizens’ lives or environment?
  • Is there a clear and practical plan for implementing the idea?
  • Will it be possible to begin realizing savings immediately?

P.S. – Okay, for the puzzled, “ISO” stands for “in search of . . .” NOT “International Standards Organization!”