The Opportunity Project (a.k.a. ‘TOP’) offers a framework for government agencies to facilitate collaboration between technologists and community organizations in order to rapidly design digital solutions for the public good.
TOP operates through 12-week technology design sprints, focused on the nation’s toughest challenges, from the opioid crisis and disaster relief to improving STEM education and workforce development. To date, over 200 digital products have been created, using open data to serve families, businesses, and communities nationwide.
The Opportunity Project is a program of the Census Open Innovation Labs (a.k.a. ‘COIL’) at the U.S. Census Bureau. Learn more about COIL.
TOP has been operating since its launch in 2016. Since then, TOP’s thousands of participants have created 200+ digital products.
A TOP sprint is what we call the 12-week product development cycle during which government agencies, technologists, and community organizations rapidly design digital solutions for the public good.
A TOP sprint works through a 12-week product development cycle. Prior to the sprint launch, federal agencies first define problem statements, and then collaborate with technologists and community advocates outside of government, who rapidly build digital products to solve those challenges using open data. The process from start to finish can take between three and five months.
If our summer and fall sprint timelines do not suit your needs, the TOP team has developed the TOPx Toolkit for federal agencies, a step-by-step guide on how to facilitate a TOP sprint at your agency. The TOPx Toolkit enables federal agencies to run a TOP sprint on a flexible and modifiable timeline. It provides users with the necessary information and tools to execute a TOP sprint.
Participation in The Opportunity Project takes many forms and is open to the general public. Participants are selected based on skill sets, expertise, and alignment with specific problem statements that have been selected in a given year.
If you’re from a government agency, tech company, university, community organization, NGO, or other entity and would like to participate in a future TOP sprint, please contact us.
What each participant does in each sprint varies depending on their role:
- Tech teams build products with federal open data that help solve national challenges.
- User advocates provide feedback and ensure the products meet real user needs.
- Data stewards provide feedback and help teams find and use relevant federal open datasets.
- Product advisors help tech teams develop products with a viable long term strategy.
Learn more about each role and sign up to receive updates about upcoming sprints and opportunities to engage with us.
TOP sprints are fully remote and participants are distributed all across the country. There may be opportunities in the future for in-person workshops and events.