These 3 Federal Government Jobs Might Actually Just Change Everything

presidential innovation fellows

Round 1 + Round 2 Presidential Innovation Fellows

What does it mean to be an artist? It means to be creative, to take risks, and hopefully, change everything. The Beatles. The Piano Guys. Frida Khalo. Kyle LambertDa Vinci. Karen X Cheng.

A typical government bureaucrat is NOT an artist. A bureaucrat follows the rules, isn’t very skilled at what he or she does, and never accomplishes anything particularly remarkable.

But not every government employee is a bureaucrat.

As a Presidential Innovation Fellow, I’ve met some amazing people in Federal Government (not just the other fellows, but career government people) who do creative, difficult, and meaningful work. And yes, I would call them artists.

Right now, there is an amazing opportunity to do some really innovative work within “USG” and show that the word “government artist” is not an oxymoron. If you really care about making federal government more tech-savvy and innovative, then I dare you to put your money where your mouth is.

And if you can stay flexible and creative in the face of red-tape jungle of the federal government, and bust your butt in the service of something greater, then you just might change everything.

The 3 Roles

  • Presidential Innovation Fellowship Director – We need someone who is going to lead the Presidential Innovation Fellowship. The program has done very well with its first two rounds but needs a visionary who can turn an emerging and promising program into a powerhouse within government. They need to be able to articulate their vision, create buy-in within government agencies, and select & incubate good projects. They need to also be a leader for the fellows – helping unite groups of diverse talent. Ideally they have experience in government, in startups, and with managing fellowship programs (tall order, I know, but ).
  • GovX Program Director – There has also been a program created that will work side-by-side with the Presidential Innovation Fellowship that needs a leader. This role will require more sales, marketing, and business development chops since it is newer and thus less defined / known. Note that the specialized experience sought after is: “using efficient and cost-effective approaches to integrate technology into the workplace and improve program effectiveness; developing strategies using new technology to enhance decision making; utilizing analytical methods to gauge the impact of technological change on an organization; utilizing technology to improve work processes; identifying the concept of minimally viable product, and the steps needed to develop plans and/or processes to meet organizational goals. “
  • Communication Specialist – We also need a marketing, communications and PR specialist who’s going to work with the fellows, the PIF + GovX directors, and the communications teams at various federal agencies. As a fellow, I saw first hand how much great work was happening with this program, but it was difficult to figure out who could really help us get the word out about our efforts. Additionally, these programs are in major need of brand strategy and marketing collateral, and this person would lead the creation of those assets. This person would report to the head of the Office of Comm / Marketing but would work side-by-side with the other two people.


How long will these jobs be open?

Unfortunately, the timing is very tight. I encourage you to apply ASAP if you are interested. The Communication job will stop accepting new candidates at 11:59pm Eastern on Wednesday December 4th, 2013.

The PIF and GovX director roles end not much later, Tuesday, December 10th and Wednesday the 11th (also 11:59pm Eastern)

Is there anything special I should do with my resume?

Great question! I would advise you to really flesh out your resume.

The way government jobs are evaluated require them to map the requirements of the job against things that they can find on your resume. So while you might be used to the one-page resume for industry, it is not unheard of to have 15 page resumes in government. Not saying you have to make yours that long, but consider expanding on the work you’ve done in your career and find way to map those to the job requirements.

What’s the deal with GSA?

Some people are confused about why a program called “The Presidential Innovation Fellowship” is sitting in something called US General Services Administration.

Well, GSA is basically the institutional home for the program. Fellows work very closely with the White House’s Office of Science Technology and Policy, but the White House itself is not the ideal place to be hosting a rotating group of professionals who get deployed across government. But GSA can. Just to be clear, this is the norm for government. The White House Fellowship and Presidential Management Fellowship, which are separate from the Presidential Innovation Fellowship, are hosted at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

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Jason Shen

Jason is a tech entrepreneur and advocate for Asian American men. He's written extensively and spoken all over the world about how individuals and organizations develop their competitive advantage. Follow him at @jasonshen.

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  1. How the hell can you put some skinny girl thrashing around on the subway in the same league as Leonardo Da Vinci? How is she a “world changer”? Maybe take her on a tour of the most blighted cities in America (Detroit, Camden, Flint, etc…) to amuse the population and distract them from their misery? Capture the waste heat from her gesticulating to power a turbine (alternative energy)? What a joke.

  2. Drinkycrow Your reaction is a great example of how art can inspire very strong yet very different responses from different people. Millions of people have been inspired by Karen X Cheng’s learn to dance video because it shows what is possible with great effort and courage.

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