How can we reduce the backlog in disability claims for our nation's veterans?


As a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow I worked at the leadership level helping transform the VA and how they create and deliver user-centered, modern product management

  • Advocated for unified veteran-centered product and service culture that across siloed products and programs
  • Evangelized for enterprise level API-first strategy for product development and drafted key strategic priorities of the overall VA around modular product development
  • Introduced a Human Centered Design (HCD) perspective at the team level and on the ground research with veterans
  • Did strategic review and architectural redesign of an automated claims processing engine

How to scale innovation in government? 

Building a modern digital agency inside the Federal Government

  • Early member help found 18F to grow from work Presidential Innovation Fellows started to a scaled digital agency for the world’s largest government
  • Provided product and design leadership across a wide variety of projects
  • Helped lead a redesign of 18F client intake process
  • Founding team of GSA investment accelerator that eventually led to the Technology Transformation Service’s 10X

The nation’s best people working on its hardest problems

First as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow (PIF) helping to modernize the Veterans Administration (VA), then as Director of Strategy and finally Director the PIF program, I've had the honor of hiring and working with the nation’s best entrepreneurs, designers and technologists to team up with government innovators to tackle hard problems for the American people.

  • Hired, sourced agency projects for and mentored over two dozen fellows for over a twenty projects and agencies including the VA, Dept. of Commerce, EPA, FBI, DOL, NCI and more.
  • Led an EPA innovation project over 18 months to modernize the information systems and transform the product culture of 600 scientists. 
  • Helped found GSA’s innovation venture program that invested $8 million in early stage product and technology ideas that have the potential to have a wide impact
As a designer, Ben is extremely curious, empathetic, and collaborative, and he combines these skills with unusually strong technical expertise. ...with his genuine desire to help others grow, I would often find myself learning from Ben, and felt lucky to be able to.
— Justin Koufopoulos, Presidential Innovation Fellow

I love a good question even more than good answers.

After spending five years in the broader US Digital Services movement I’m interested in what questions we need to tackle in the next five:

Moving beyond Digital Service teams - how do you create change across agencies at the program level - where everyday business decisions are made? 

How can we balance private sector experience with the need for long term champions and transformative leadership inside an Agency? 

When most initiatives at agencies are run at a project level, how does a coherent whole emerge - especially with strategic technology capabilities?