Secretary Shinseki created the predecessor of the Center for Innovation, the VA Innovation Initiative (VAi2), in 2010 as part of his strategy to transform VA into a 21st-century organization that is people-centric, results-driven, and forward-looking.
At the onset, VAi2 used a competition-based format to gather and vet ideas to solve some of the organization’s most pressing challenges. Contests and competitions were a fresh approach that enabled the Department to access the talent and expertise of entrepreneurs, industry and non-profit leaders, and the more than 300,000 VA employees. So far, five employee challenges and three industry competitions have generated nearly 19,000 ideas, more than 135 of which were selected for implementation. Click here to learn more about the selection criteria.
Because of the track record and momentum of VAi2, in 2012 Secretary Shinseki transitioned VA’s innovation effort from an initiative to a more permanent entity, creating the VA Center for Innovation (VACI).
Now, VACI comprises programs and competitions that provide a forum for innovators in the Federal Government, academia and the private sector to test ideas and contribute solutions that improve VA’s services to Veterans.