- First, 10x collects a broad range of ideas.
- Next, we select ideas based on their potential impact and scalability.
- Finally, 10x funds each selected idea in phases, as the project matures.
Diverse ideas from civil servants
10x believes that federal civil servants — with their front row view to the inner workings of our government — are uniquely positioned to identify the key problems that impede our government from achieving its mission. 10x aims to uncover and elevate the most promising ideas from the federal workforce.
To do this, we explore a lot of ideas at once with a small initial investment in each. The goal is to identify the immediate opportunities as well as the risks that an idea might present without spending too much money too quickly. This approach enables us to identify – within a few weeks – ideas and approaches that are most likely to have an impact.
Each subsequent phase of funding allows for a greater investment into an idea and requires project teams to continue to prove potential impact and demonstrate that a project can succeed. Between phases, we review progress to determine if we should continue investing in a project and many projects do not proceed beyond Phase 1. This way, only the best ideas receive large investments and we avoid spending millions of taxpayer dollars on ideas that won’t work.
How 10x selects projects
10x accepts ideas from federal employees throughout the year. A few times a year, 10x collects all the ideas and evaluates them for funding. The most promising ideas proceed to Phase 1.
Your idea will be evaluated based on the following 3 criteria, each given equal weight:
Clarity. Does the idea understand and explain a real problem?
Alignment. Does the idea help develop new, good-for-government technology?
Impact. Does solving this problem have an important effect on the federal government or the public?
If selected, 10x starts its funding small — only magnifying its investment as an idea develops, step-by-step, into a sustainable project. This iterative approach, based on modern technology and investment practices, ensures that the best ideas turn into the best government products and services — funded with fewer taxpayer dollars.
10x projects are managed and staffed by project teams within the Technology Transformation Service department of the General Services Administration.
10x project phases
Identify a problem
Point to the pain. We start by gathering ideas from federal civil servants. These proposals are intentionally short — only about 2–3 sentences — to stay focused on a specific, concrete problem. If your idea is selected, 10x will notify you and will hire a small team for Phase 1 to further evaluate the idea.
Phase 1: Investigation — $20,000
Think it through. Accepted ideas spend 2-3 weeks exploring the idea to define what it would take to be successful — uncovering risks, roadblocks, and opportunities. At this point, people who submit ideas can act as subject matter experts for a research and strategy team dedicated to quickly evaluating the idea. Only the most promising ideas will proceed into Phase 2.
Phase 2: Discovery — $175,000
Go deep. Gain a detailed understanding about the industry, problem, market fit, finances, timeline, regulatory environment, and how to scale. Analyze what could go right and wrong, and create an initial strategy to address these issues. For this and later phases, you are welcome to work alongside the team that is developing this idea.
Phase 3: Development — $500,000
Build it out and plan for the future. Develop a functional minimum viable product with at least one active customer. Create a product roadmap tied to a customer acquisition strategy. Provide a data-backed market analysis. Estimate the cost and effort required to continue sustainably building and maintaining the product over the long-term.
Phase 4: Scale — Up to $1.28 million
Bring the product or service to the largest possible audience.
10x sits in the Technology Transformation Service (TTS) at GSA, and TTS manages the Digital Services Fund. That means that all 10x projects, regardless of where they originated, are owned by TTS. If your idea is funded, a member of the 10x team will serve as project sponsor for your idea to shepherd the project to success. Your role will be that of a subject matter expert and you can be involved in the process as much or as little as you are able. TTS will be the default home of any deliverables or outcomes of your project; however, our team will advocate for any project deliverables to live in the most logical place.