Our program is powered 100 percent by ideas — our sole purpose is to fan the flames of tech innovation, one investment at a time.
We invest in individual ideas from federal employees about how to improve the government’s use of technology to serve the public. But instead of spending a lot of money on a potential solution up front, we start small with the exploration and development of those ideas, only moving forward after rigorous analysis that proves the idea can deliver impact. Think of it like venture capital investments — by government, for government — except the return on investment is making government work better for all.
Many government technology projects fail to deliver value. Sometimes it’s because the contract wasn’t set up for success. Sometimes projects fail because of budget overruns. And some projects are just duplicative of efforts happening elsewhere. By researching and monitoring the potential impact of each project at several steps along the way — and not being afraid to pull the plug if we discover something won’t be successful — we don’t waste time or resources pursuing dead-end projects. We expect some projects not to be feasible and fizzle out. We fail fast so we can fall forward.
We’re different, by design
All our projects come from public servants who submit ideas to see if they can move the needle forward to solve a real problem.
We use a phased, incremental funding approach, which allows us to minimize the amount of funding we put behind unfeasible projects, so we can focus investments on the most promising, impactful ideas.
We demand that our projects demonstrate feasibility and opportunity for impact at every stage of the process. If they don't, we wind them down.
Prioritizing solutions with impact
At 10x, we recognize that not all ideas will evolve into successful products that will be embraced by users. We look at a lot of ideas and then focus on the ones that can make the biggest difference for the most people, nurturing them with expertise along the way. Solutions developed by 10x have broad applications across the government and provide substantial improvement to how we serve people.
Because of 10x...
10x began as a one-time experiment to bring private sector practices to government. What started in 2015 as a one-time-only competition evolved into a monthly mini-pitch competition based on ideas from employees. We then added more structure and rigor to our investment strategy. Taking everything we’d learned thus far, we founded 10x in 2017 and continue to refine and improve the process — for instance, we now use a four-phased approach, while providing project teams with better guidance and support.
Exploring dark matter
We believe that there is more to technology innovation than shipping new products. We always try to see the bigger picture to find broader lessons, observations, and theories that we can share with the government technology ecosystem. We call these insights dark matter, which is a phrase we're repurposing from our friends at NASA, another federal agency that isn’t afraid to think big and try new things. Dark matter is essentially the value gleaned from technology projects that isn't product-shaped. It's the intriguing nuggets of possibility discovered along the way. We apply these lessons across the program and the projects, and share our experiences so they can inform work throughout the government.