Summer 2014 Project Proposals

Ash Center Summer Fellows in Innovation spend the summer working side by side with the some of the most innovative public servants in the nation. Below is the list of opportunities for Summer 2014. Please check back again throughout January as additional opportunities will be added.

The Summer Fellowship program also considers positions and projects identified by students, either on their own or through an Ash Center contact. Please contact Tim Glynn-Burke with inquires.

Atlanta City Youth Development Strategy
In his 1st term, Mayor Kasim Reed re-opened several recreation centers with private support and turned them into after school programs with comprehensive offerings. The summer fellow will help develop an expanded youth development strategy for the Mayor’s 2nd term. Working directly with a Project Officer in the Focus on Results Team in the COO’s office, the fellow will identify current resources and map how they tie together, identify new potential youth development opportunities, understand and show cost/benefit, and develop a 1, 3 and 5 year vision for youth development strategy with milestones, expected outcomes and metrics. Read more about Focus on Results.

Atlanta Customer Service and Operational Efficiency
Customer service and efficiency are priorities of Mayor Kasim Reed, and his administration is seeking opportunities for operational improvement by better utilizing technology, data, and operational optimization. The fellow would help the city develop opportunities to improve customer service and operational efficiency of the City's municipal court, which handles 200k+ citations and $21MM in revenue annually. Working directly with a Project Officer in the Focus on Results Team in the COO’s office, the fellow would identify best practices in data management, case management, and scheduling and operations; assess current resource allocation and utilization; and identify missed opportunities to optimize adjudication and collection rates. Read more about Focus on Results.

Boston Participatory Budgeting Project
This year, Boston youth will determine how the City spends $1 million in its capital budget. The Participatory Budgeting Project is the first participatory budgeting process in Boston and the first in the nation that is youth-focused. Working with the City’s Special Assistant in Capital Planning, the fellow would help evaluate the impact of this project and suggest how it could grow in future years. The fellow will have the opportunity to interview individuals involved in this process, review survey work from the project and talk to other participatory budgeting practitioners across the globe. Read more about the Participatory Budgeting Project. Read about the work of 2013 Summer Fellow Alex Lawrence who worked at the Boston Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Created by the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in the wake of the country's financial crisis, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) aims to make markets for mortgages, credit cards, and other consumer financial products and services work for Americans. Project proposal forthcoming. Read more about the CFPB.

Denver Peak Performance Initiative
Mayor Michael Hancock’s Peak Performance effort invests in Denver's employees by giving them the tools to solve city problems. Working with the Chief Performance Officer and Manager of Peak Academy, the fellow would help facilitate two to three Rapid Improvement Events. The fellowship would begin with a deep immersion and certification in Lean concepts. The fellow would use the new skills to conduct deep data analysis within one city department, including prepping for the events, determining and verifying metrics, observing the process, meeting with stakeholders, and co-facilitating the events and follow-up meetings. Read more about Peak Performance.

Denver Peak Academy
Peak Academy is creating a culture of innovation and continuous improvement through a team of eight trainers and facilitators embedded across city government. Working with the Chief Performance Officer and Manager of Analytics, the fellow would learn how the Peak Academy gathers process innovation ideas from City colleagues and tracks their progress. The project would include streamlining the process of submitting ideas; developing more robust program metrics; improving how the metrics are tracked; and ensuring that participants are capable of utilizing the new tracking method and metrics. Read more about Peak Academy.

General Services Administration: Challenge.gov
GSA launched Challenge.gov in July 2010 to build a platform that allowed entrepreneurs, innovators, and the public to compete for prestige and prizes by providing the government with novel solutions to tough problems. Working with Challenge.gov program manager, the fellow will explore three years of data from federal challenge and prize competitions, which will be the most comprehensive cache of material since its launch. This project will benefit the entire Challenge.gov program through an in-depth analysis of the trends and opportunities and will provide context for encouraging even greater adoption of this innovation tool, as well as providing a growth plan for the next five years. Challenge.gov was a winner of the 2013 Harvard Innovations in American Government Award.

The Gettysburg Project
The Gettysburg Project, led by Marshall Ganz and Archon Fung, is an HKS executive session convening activists, technology innovators, educators, and scholars for candid and pragmatic exploration of ways to reinvigorate meaningful and consequential civic engagement for the 21st century. The summer fellow will help to identify and prepare curricular materials, to coordinate organizing committee meetings and tasks, to support communication with participants and other logistics. Read more about The Gettysburg Project.

Indianapolis Office of the Mayor: Local Income Taxes
Indianapolis/Marion County has a large number of people who work in the county but live outside of it (one study found Indianapolis has the largest population commuting from outside the county in the country). In the State of Indiana, local incomes taxes go the county of residence and not county of employment. Therefore, Indianapolis/Marion County loses over $100M a year in local taxes, which could be used to improve city services, etc. The fellow will conduct research across the country to examine whether citizens pay income taxes to the municipalities they work in or those they live in. The findings could serve as a tool in attempting to change the manner in which the State distributes local income taxes.

Indianapolis Office of the Mayor: Citizen Engagement and Budgeting
Facing an annual budget deficit of approximately $60M, Indianapolis would like to educate citizens on the current state of revenue and expenditures and allow them to work with City leaders to determine budgeting priorities for 2015. The fellow will help determine how to better educate citizens regarding revenue limitations and service delivery, and what citizens want to prioritize when making tough budget decisions. The product developed would be a curriculum, game or presentation that would be used every budget season with community groups, neighborhood organizations, community leaders and others to educate on current revenue limitations and assist the City on priorities going forward.

Los Angeles Mayor's Office of Homeland Security and Public Safety
The City of Los Angeles Mayor's Office of Homeland Security and Public Safety is working with Dr. Lucy Jones, of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) on a project aimed at providing the City with technical assistance in understanding the potential for future losses from earthquakes, as well as information that will be critical in supporting the development and implementation of thoughtful, attainable, and comprehensive policies to reduce those losses. The Ash Fellow would assist the Deputy Mayor of Homeland Security and Public Safety and Dr. Jones in working towards the project goal of recommending policies in areas of particular vulnerability and high social consequence.

Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development
Massachusetts’ Career Readiness Initiative (CRI) is an inter-agency partnership focused on assessment and remediation of reading, math, problem-solving and technology skills needed in the current job market. Working with the executive director of the Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board, the summer fellow will help the CRI steering committee to identify, recommend, and implement solutions to align policy and operations across agencies and develop a business engagement strategy. Read more about the Workforce Investment Board.

Memphis Office of Talent and Human Capital
‘Advancing a Culture of Excellence’ is a strategic priority for the City of Memphis and Mayor AC Wharton. One of the objectives incorporated in this priority is to establish a pipeline for continuous growth and development of government leaders via succession planning. Working with the Executive Director of the Office of Talent and Human Capital, the fellow would assist in development of a blueprint that includes supporting activities for succession planning, benchmarks, and a protocol timeline. Read more about the Office of Talent and Human Capital.

New Orleans Office of Performance and Accountability
The City of New Orleans launched Perform to assist department directors to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of City government. We are seeking an individual with excellent analytical and communication skills, as well as a unique talent for government or business operations improvements. Working with the Director of the Office of Performance and Accountability, the fellow would tackle one or more projects that emerge as part of the Perform effort, which may include contributing to the Health department’s efforts to expand access to health insurance for New Orleans’ citizens, developing reporting dashboards for frontline supervisors to help them better manage the day-to-day performance of their employees, or other opportunities for transformation the fellow identifies. Read more about the Office of Performance and Accountability.

Reading Partners-Silicon Valley
Reading Partners is an education nonprofit that aims to help close the literacy gap across the country, giving K-5 students an opportunity to learn to read and be lifelong learners. Over 80% of the students served in Silicon Valley last year accelerated their rate of literacy skills. Reading Partners has recently grown from three regions in California to eleven regions in seven states and Washington, D.C. Working directly with the executive director of the Silicon Valley office, the fellow would help to strategize a growth and scale plan for Reading Partners, including communications/PR, financial modeling, and public policy. Read more about Reading Partners.

U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division
The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division is responsible for enforcing minimum wage, overtime, and child labor standards. The summer fellow would undertake an in-depth analysis of compliance and enforcement data to assist in the review of agency policies.

White House Office of Management and Budget Health Division
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Health Division is responsible for Medicare, Medicaid, private health market reforms, and a wide variety of public health and health research programs that are operated under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Project proposal forthcoming. Read about 2013 Ash Center Summer Fellow Dhruv Khullar who worked in the OMB Health Division.

Additional host agencies forthcoming. Please contact Tim Glynn-Burke with questions.

Amelia Mann, 2013 Ash Center Summer Fellow