We are very excited to announce the latest cohorts of projects chosen to begin Phase 1 of the 10x process.

Out of more than 100 ideas, we selected the 15 ideas we believe have the most potential to improve the American public's digital experience with the U.S. government. We appreciate the thoughtfulness and creativity of the many federal employees who raised a hand and submitted an idea to 10x. Your ideas will make a difference!

The ideas we selected for Phase 1 are:

Opt-In Research Opportunities

We have observed multiple instances of government programs successfully creating opportunities for the public to opt into user research. The Civic User Testing Network and OPM's Open Opportunities platform are two examples of platforms that the government has used to find users with specific lived experience and demographic criteria for their research topics. Partnering with Community Benefit Organizations (CBO) to recruit people for research is another tool that agencies have used, but it isn't a perfect solution. If there was a universal platform for opting into Federal research opportunities that all agencies could use, or a standardized template for agencies to use when engaging with CBOs, it could both reduce research participant confusion and improve the quality of research outcomes.

10x will explore if a platform, training process, or other technology could allow federal researchers to quickly connect with specific communities to conduct research that will improve the public's experience with the government.

An idea submitted by a civil servant at: General Services Administration ~ Federal Acquisition Service

Demystifying 508 Compliance

We have observed that determining the applicability of 508 is not always a simple "yes" or "no" answer, and that smaller agencies sometimes lack expertise in 508/accessibility implementation. Existing 508 guidance often references other standards and guides that are difficult to interpret, which can lead to them being ignored or implemented incorrectly.

10x will explore the viability of developing an interactive resource that could help agencies gain a deeper understanding of 508 obligations, leading to more accessible digital services for millions.

An idea submitted by a civil servant at: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Expanding the USWDS

Over the years, we have observed the US Web Design System transform into an invaluable resource for federal web managers. While the USWDS has helped the government deliver exceptional digital experiences for millions of public users, it cannot be easily absorbed by most products in its current form. Many Federal web teams use development frameworks like ReactJS that require the USWDS component to be recreated in order to be used. This is time-consuming and introduces points of failure.

10x will build on its long history of making valuable investments in the USWDS to help take it to the next level again. 10x will explore how to alleviate burdens for key groups of users by building a bridge between developers who use JavaScript frameworks and modern, native web components offered in USWDS.

An idea submitted by a civil servant at: Department of Defense

Baked-in Accessibility for Government Documents

We have observed that, despite many high-level Federal priorities and requirements centered on accessibility, many civil servants lack expertise on 508 compliance and struggle to deliver fully accessible documents to the public. This prevents a diverse group of individuals from receiving the information they need or the services they should receive.

10x will explore a new technical capability to make accessible government documents more compliant and templatized.

An idea submitted by a civil servant at: Office of Personnel Management

Beyond Plain English

We have observed that the government still has room for improving how it serves non-English speakers. For example, despite promoting the adoption of Plain Language, the government does not currently offer similar guidelines for other languages.

10x will explore if there's value in offering Federal web managers and designers the resources to deploy multi-lingual, plain language versions of their public-facing content. 10x will prioritize languages that are often overlooked when translating content, such as Native American languages, and see if there is a model that could easily be reused and scaled to other languages.

An idea submitted by a civil servant at: General Services Administration ~ Federal Acquisition Service

Coming to the United States

Leaving one's home behind, struggling with a new language, and difficulties finding employment are just a few of the taxing experiences that new immigrants can face. Among all the difficulties, we have observed that navigating the bureaucratic hurdles involved in immigration are a top contender for most headache-inducing of them all.

For example, some families resort to paying hundreds or thousands of dollars in attorney fees seeking help moving through the process, which privileges those with means over low-income immigrants.

10x will explore how technology can help demystify the bureaucracy of immigration.

An idea submitted by a civil servant at: Department of Homeland Security

Inclusive Recreation

We have observed that people with disabilities and certain other needs (like low sensory environments) do not have a reliable, human-centered resource for locating federally managed recreational opportunities. Meeting this need could lead to a more equitable public service for millions of Americans.

10x will explore how to create a platform for people to find recreational activities based on their specific situations, without having to contact a help line and divulge private information in order to find ways to enjoy the country's protected recreational offerings. If successful, we can make recreation more successful.

An idea submitted by a civil servant at: Department of Agriculture

Online Proofing for Public Officials

The social media landscape is changing. Emerging internet phenomena like deep fake technology and AI systems capable of impersonating human language are proliferating. This trend makes it increasingly difficult for people to find reliable information on the digital identity of elected officials, agency executives, and others which risks breaking trust with the public and opens the door to malicious misinformation.

We believe there is an opportunity to help verify the online identities of American officials. Hosting a Mastodon server on .gov domains is one possibility. 10x will explore this changing internet landscape, validate the extent of the problem, and identify if government technologists can play a positive role in solving it.

An idea submitted by a civil servant at: Department of Health and Human Services

Design for Security, Build for Trust

If the federal government is going to deliver resilient technology with exceptional digital experiences for the public, we need systems that are both elegant and secure.

But we have observed that federal product teams often overlook the critical connection between security and design, missing out on delivering top-notch websites for the public. There is potential to help civil servants build better technology by shedding light on the missed connection between design and security.

10x will explore the value and viability of shared assets and guidance for Federal designers that demonstrate the how and why of designing for security. Examples could include reusable service-design patterns or annotated real world scenarios where failing to intertwine security and design considerations meant breaking trust with users.

An idea submitted by a civil servant at: General Services Administration ~ Federal Acquisition Service

Preventing Abuse of the Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a major engine for transparency and is of enormous benefit to the public. The dedicated agency staffers in charge of FOIA requests play a critical role in safeguarding and responding to the public's right to transparent information.

But we have observed an emergent trend where agencies are inundated with FOIA requests that overwhelm the agency's capabilities and hinder their operations.

10x will explore ways of making the FOIA process more efficient for all parties.

An idea submitted by a civil servant at: General Services Administration ~ Federal Acquisition Service

We have observed that the consent process for information collection is a barrier to the public participating in federal research. Usually, the ask for consent is a word document that requires a signature and can appear like a daunting legal contract. This results in participants not showing up for meetings or feeling uncomfortable fully sharing about the topic being discussed.

10x will explore possible solutions that would result in participants better understanding their rights, how their information will be used by the federal government and will feel like a meaningful exchange with a researcher. If successful, Federal agencies will be better able to conduct equitable research with members of the public, many of whom generally have low trust in government.

An idea submitted by a civil servant at: General Services Administration ~ Federal Acquisition Service

Enabling Data-Driven Decision Making

We have observed that the government manages a mind bogglingly large amount of program reports, regulatory documents, and historical information containing a huge volume of qualitative and quantitative data. As Federal agencies adopt data-driven decision-making practices, they need new ways of leveraging existing data. There is technology on the market today that can help extract data from hard-to-reach places. We see an opportunity to help agencies take data-driven decision-making to the next level by using existing technologies – or by developing new ones – to make use of hard-to-access Federal data.

10x will explore new ways to leverage data lost in hard-to-access formats, such as pdfs, and see if unlocking the wealth of inaccessible data could have a hugely positive impact for agencies that want new ways to use data-driven decision-making to fully deliver on their mission for the public good.

An idea submitted by a civil servant at: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

De-Biasing Public Infrastructure Investments

We have observed that the federal government's investments in infrastructure have not always been planned with an emphasis on equity. Less advantaged Americans have often been either excluded from or directly harmed by these projects.

10x will explore ways that modern technology can help the government plan and execute future infrastructure projects more equitably, starting with racial bias in public transportation investments.

An idea submitted by a civil servant at: Department of Commerce

Shared Web Components for Human Services

10x has previously funded work exploring the market opportunity for deploying federally managed and built reusable web components for human services programs (e.g. eligibility APIs) at all levels of government over the years.

We believe it's time for 10x to re-invest in this problem space and leverage the institutional knowledge it has built over the years to revisit the potential here. This is particularly relevant because COVID-19 changed how the government uses technology to serve the public. 10x will explore if the landscape has changed and opened new opportunities for investment.

An idea submitted by a civil servant at: General Services Administration ~ Federal Acquisition Service

Data-Driven Service to Tribal Nations

We have observed that the government is developing data tools and applications to better ensure equitable delivery of federal programs and services, but the data is often not granular enough to understand tribal nations' needs and impacts. Work is being done at the Department of Transportation on blending transportation-related data from federal agencies with geographical boundaries of tribal nations. This work typically requires modeling or other statistical methods to correctly apportion data to tribal communities. Census block level data can be mapped to tribal nations but is rarely available. The lack of available data means a lack of inclusion in tools and apps.

To help ensure that Native Americans can be included in data equity tools and applications, and their needs better understood and met, 10x will explore building a shared tool for government agencies that can help model and apportion some data for tribal communities and/or at the Census block level.

An idea submitted by a civil servant at: Department of Transportation