Innovation Initiatives

Posted by Goldhirsh Foundation Team on

Over the past several years, the Federal government has been working with local communities across the country on a wide range of initiatives that support innovation and opportunity. Several of these initiatives are listed below along with links that offer more information. Many have existing communities of practice that are open for new participants to join.

Promoting Diverse Talent

Inclusion Pledges: To tap into talent across the country, companies and universities have taken pledges to take specific steps to be more representative of the American people.

  1. Tech Inclusion Pledge
    Eighty companies have joined an industry-led pledge to make their technology workforces more representative of the American people by (1) implementing and publishing company-specific goals to recruit, retain, and advance diverse technology talent; (2) annually publishing data and progress metrics on the diversity of our technology workforce; and (3) investing in partnerships to build a diverse pipeline of technology talent.
  2. American Society for Engineering Education Pledge
    More than 200 universities committed to building a more diverse student talent pipeline.
  3. National Venture Capital Association Pledge
    40 venture-capital firms with more than $100 billion under management committed to help advance opportunities for all Americans, including women and underrepresented minorities.
  4. Diversify Access to Capital Pledge
    More than 30 angel investor groups with over $800 million deployed in early stage science and technology investment dollars across the country committed to promoting inclusive entrepreneurship.
  5. Computer Science for All (CSforAll)
    CSforAll aims to provide all Pre-K through grade 12 US students with access to high quality computer science education. CSforAll builds on efforts already being led by parents, teachers, school districts, states, and private sector leaders from across the country. More than 500 organizations have made public commitments and actions to support this goal.
  6. TechHire
    President Obama launched the TechHire initiative in 2015 to get more people from all backgrounds into the over 600,000 open tech jobs that pay 50 percent more than the average private- sector job. A little over a year after launch, more than 1,500 employers in 70 communities – including Los Angeles – are working with new training programs such as coding boot camps, resulting in thousands of new hires.
    TechHire Nationwide

    TechHire in LA
  7. Image of STEM
    Inclusion of diverse and compelling STEM images, stories, and positive messages in mainstream entertainment media, social media, and everyday materials can be a positive driver of broad inclusive talent engagement for the STEM workforce. There are key opportunities to work with public and private sector partners to: 1) highlight STEM role models (past and present); 2) emphasize social impacts and exciting aspects of STEM work to inspire students to tackle pressing challenges of the 21st century; and 3) debunk STEM stigmas and misconceptions.

Collaborating to Tackle Big Challenges

Grand Challenges: As part of President Obama’s pledge to restore science to its rightful place, the Administration launched several Grand Challenges to enlist support from across the country – and across sectors – to tackle pressing issues. For more information on:

  1. Ending the wait for organ transplants
    where it is possible to save thousands of lives and billions of dollars in health care costs
  2. BRAIN Initiative
    where scientists are working collaboratively to understand the human brain and neurological illnesses.
  3. Precision Medicine Initiative
    where researchers are hoping to move to tailored medical treatments.
  4. Cancer Moonshot
    where partners aim to accelerate cancer research to make more therapies available to more patients – see here.
  5. Citizen Science, Crowdsourcing, and Incentive Prizes
    The Federal government expanded opportunities for entrepreneurs, researchers, students, teachers, and indeed all Americans to participate directly in technology development and scientific research through open challenges and prize competitions.
  6. Tour of Duty in Government
    Individuals of all skillsets currently working in the private sector can be encouraged to take a ‘tour of duty’ to lend their expertise to their city, state, or Federal government. At the Federal level over the last 8 years, more than 450 individuals have signed on for a tour of duty to serve in over 25 agencies alongside dedicated civil servants to improve how government delivers modern digital services to the American people.
    Presidential Innovation Fellowship Program

    U.S. Digital Service


Additional LA-focused innovation initiatives of interest

  1. Innovation Corps (I-Corps)
    I-Corps is an entrepreneurship initiative led by the National Science Foundation in collaboration with universities across the country, designed to accelerate discoveries from lab to market. Los Angeles has its own I-Corps hub – Innovation-Node Los Angeles (IN-LA) – a collaboration of the University of Southern California (USC), California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). IN-LA has touched more than 150 engineering teams in corporate and university environments in Southern California and beyond, offering leading educational programs, world-class research, support for new ventures, and ecosystem-developing programs to link innovators with capital and other resources.
  2. Smart Cities Los Angeles – with California State University
    Smart Cities Los Angeles is part of the network of local government/policymakers sharing best practices on the intersection of big data and human services.
  3. Startup in a Day
    Los Angeles won a Federal $250K grand prize to streamline the process of starting a business.
  4. Manufacturing Institute
    Los Angeles is home to one of the nation’s 14 manufacturing institutes. LA’s Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC) won a $70 million Federal award to develop advanced energy efficient manufacturing technology along with a supporting workforce and educational pipeline.
  5. Police Data Initiative (PDI)
    Both Los Angeles and LA County participate in PDI to support law enforcement efforts to better use data and technology to increase transparency and accountability and to build trust with the citizens they serve and protect. They are part of a coalition of more than 130 law-enforcement agencies – covering more than 44 million people across the country – that have collectively released more than 175 datasets on policing, such as: Use of Force, Officer-Involved Shootings, and Citizen Complaints.
  6. Data-Driven Justice Initiative (DDJ)
    Los Angeles is part of a coalition of 140 city, county, and state governments that have committed to using data- driven strategies to identify and divert people with mental illness away from the criminal justice system and into effective, community based treatment.