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The Sprint Process

The Opportunity Project works through 12-week technology development sprints that bring technology developers, communities, and government together to solve problems using open data.

About Our Sprints

During our sprints, we set a pace of milestones, including user research, data exploration, development, and product launch, and help people with different roles to connect. The technologists design and build products, with input from end users, data experts, and product advisors. At the end of the sprint, products launch at a Demo Day, and then get into end users hands and start delivering impact!

Learn more about the problems that teams have tackled since The Opportunity Project started, who participates, and how the process works below.


During an Opportunity Project sprint, technology companies, universities, and non-profits build products using open data from federal agencies and other sources. Data and policy experts from federal, state and local government, advocacy organizations, and product specialists participate to share their expertise and provide feedback during the sprint.


Tech Team

Tech Teams are the private sector companies, universities, non-profits, and even students who participate in sprints to build products that translate open data into valuable tools for people across the country. The tech teams design, own, and help to launch the products they build.


Federal government policy experts help to identify problems facing the public. Data stewards from federal agencies answer questions about open data to help the tech teams find and use the best data available to solve the problem. They also listen to feedback from sprint participants to make data more user-friendly.

User Advocate

User Advocates are community leaders, advocates, and people with direct lived experience that can help the tech teams design products that are realistic, useful, and solve a problem for the target end users. For example, user advocates for a veterans problem statement might include service providers and veterans themselves.

Product Specialist

Product Specialists from outside of government help the teams to ensure that the products they create continue after the sprints, so that they can reach their target end users and have real impact.


Each 12-14-week sprint includes user research, data exploration, product development, user testing, and launch.





User Research

Tech Teams work with user advocates, experts, and product specialists to learn more about the problem, and translate user needs into product design.

Data Exploration

Tech Teams explore open data available to solve the problem they’re tackling, and data stewards help them to find government open data to use in their digital products.


Teams design and build data-driven digital products, with input from all the other participants. User Advocates participate in usability testing and feedback sessions.

Product Launch

Everyone participates in Demo Day to present the new tools that have been created using open data. After Demo Day, the teams keep working together to get the products out to the public.

Problem Statements






Natural Environment Cohort

This cohort will focus on challenges related to the natural environment, and will run from June - September 2020. The four challenges include:

  • Developing efficient and effective markets for recycled materials (EPA)
  • Reducing plastic pollution in oceans (State Department, Wilson Center)
  • Helping the public understand effects of emissions on local air quality (EPA)
  • Enabling aerial and geospatial data to air agricultural decision-making (USDA)

See Problem Statements

Built Environment Cohort

This cohort will focus on challenges related to the built environment, and will run from July - October 2020. The four challenges include:

  • Paving a path to economic self sufficiency for low income families (HUD)
  • Assisting recently resettled refugees (USA for UNHCR)
  • Facilitating sustainable rural economic development (EPA)
  • Tracking the impact of emergency and disaster funding (OMB)

See Problem Statements

2020 Census Sprint

Challenge: Create digital tools and resources to help get out the count during the 2020 Census. Challenges include: Bridging the digital divide, Increasing digital literacy, Promoting 2020 Census jobs, and Reaching hard-to-count communities.

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Catalyzing investment in Opportunity Zones

Challenge: Create digital tools and resources to connect investors with community leaders, entrepreneurs, and workers of America’s 8,764 Opportunity Zones.

Target Audience: Entrepreneurs, managers of Opportunity Zone funds, and community leaders in Opportunity Zones

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Modernizing Talent Discovery for High Growth Entrepreneurship

Challenge: Create digital tools or open sourced data to transform talent discovery, matching, and retention in mid-size cities across the country, to help them achieve innovation and regional economic growth.

Target Audience: Entrepreneurs, entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs), incubators, accelerators, seed funds, state and local leaders, growth companies in rural and mid-sized cities

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Resources to Unleash American Entrepreneurship

Challenge: Develop tools to empower entrepreneurs and innovation ecosystem builders to find and navigate the variety of resources available across the federal government.

Target Audience: Individuals starting or scaling high-growth, science and technology-based companies, innovation ecosystem builders

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Helping the American Workforce Leverage Multiple Pathways for Career Growth

Challenge: Create digital tools that help American workers to consider and take advantage of the multiple pathways available to find or advance in careers, from making alternative pathways more attractive to making opportunities more discoverable

Target Audience: Young people (ages 14-24) developing their career paths, veterans, people returning from incarceration, local and state education and workforce development policymakers, community colleges and trade schools

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Promoting Access to and Interest in STEM Fields

Challenge: Develop tools for parents and students that promote students’ interest in STEM and empower them to pursue STEM education locally.

Target Audience: Parents, students, and/or STEM advocacy groups

Potential Data Sources: Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP)

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Helping States Develop Education Report Cards

Challenge: Develop parent-friendly, scalable approaches to communicating data about public schools that drive insight and engagement—and meet the requirements of a recent federal law.

Target Audience: States; parents as a secondary audience

Potential Data Sources: Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP)

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Using AI to Connect Veterans with Registered Apprenticeships

Challenge: Develop tools that use artificial intelligence algorithms or natural language processing technology to match veterans to registered apprenticeship programs.

Target Audience: Veterans

Potential Data Sources: CareerOneStop Data, ONET Occupational Data

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Increasing Government Accountability by Connecting Federal Spending and Performance Data

Challenge: Develop public facing tools that link federal spending and performance (or outcome) data to provide comprehensive insight into the use of federal taxpayer dollars across programs.

Target Audience: Engaged citizens seeking clear information

Potential Data Sources: ,

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Improving Access to and Management of Federal Grants

Challenge: Develop tools that expand on existing systems to help grant recipients manage the entire grants lifecycle, helping grant managers and recipients search for opportunities, streamline reporting, and assess risks.

Target Audience: Grant managers and recipients

Potential Data Sources: ,

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Using Geospatial Data to Help People Prepare for Disasters

Challenge: Create digital tools that use data to help individuals and community leaders gain a better understanding of national and community hazards and threats and enable the public to take appropriate preparedness actions.

Target Audience: Individuals ages 18-34 and influencers within communities, to include faith leaders, emergency managers, and leaders of civic organizations.

Potential Data Sources: US Census Bureau American Community Survey, USGS earthquake data , FEMA 2016 National Household Survey

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Harnessing Data and Leveraging Digital Tools to Combat the Opioid Crisis

Challenge: Create digital tools and data sharing capabilities to support decisions across stakeholders responding to the opioid crisis, such as public health, public safety, law enforcement, community groups, the private sector, and individuals.

Target Audience: Physicians, insurers, VA (payers), researchers; State and Local Health Departments; Policymakers; Elected Officials, Law Enforcement

Potential Data Sources: Department of Veterans Affairs Opioid Prescribing Data, Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN)

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Helping Tribal, State, and Local Governments with Local Address Data Collection

Challenge: Develop resources that help tribal, state, and local governments to create and maintain open address point data.

Target Audience: Tribal, state, and local governments

Potential Data Sources: TIGER/Line Roads with Address Ranges, The National Address Database (NAD), Local Update of Census Addresses Operation (LUCA) Address Count List files

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Identifying and Strengthening Civic Environmental Stewardship

Challenge: Develop tools that visualize and provide access to the patterns, overlaps, and gaps in environmental stewardship efforts in order to identify groups that support community quality of life and strengthen community resilience.

Target Audience: Public agencies, NGOs, designers, funders, researchers, neighborhood groups, and community organizers

Potential Data Sources: Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project (STEW MAP), US Census datasets

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Making Federal Grants Data User-Friendly for Local Leaders

Challenge: Create digital tools for Federal financial assistance that help local leaders navigate and manage Federal grants.

Target Audience: State, local, and tribal governments, nonprofits, and universities

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Engaging Communities in the Census

Challenge: Create digital tools that enable individuals and communities to see and experience the value of the Census in order to increase participation in the Census.

Target Audience: Everyone living in the United States

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Youth Homelessness

Challenge: Digital tools that better our understanding of where our homeless pre K-12 students are enrolled and how well we are serving them.

Target Audience: National, state, and local policymakers, educators, and service agencies

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Veterans Homelessness and Employment

Challenge: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is focused on ensuring that we end homelessness for our veterans and support them in the most effective way possible.

Target Audience: Veterans

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Increasing Safety and Mobility Across the Nation

Challenge: Community advocates often have a difficult time synthesizing/disseminating complete information about issues their neighborhoods are facing. Without good data, these advocates have a hard time effectively engaging with their local governments to drive meaningful change in their community.

Target Audience: Local community leaders

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Supporting Decision-Making for Student Sub-populations and their Families

Challenge: Certain mobile or disconnected student populations entering or reentering the community could greatly benefit from data and resources to support their wellbeing and success.

Target Audience: Mobile/disconnected student populations

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Identifying Equity Scores and Gaps

Challenge: Develop tools that leverage data to help stakeholders understand where educational inequities exist.

Target Audience: Decision-makers (e.g. superintendents, principals, school board members, state departments of education), municipal leaders (e.g. mayors, city council members), and parents

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Ending Homelessness

Challenge: Develop tools to connect potential landlords with the providers of Rapid Rehousing servicess to the homeless.

Target Audience: Emergency shelters, homeless advocates, landlords

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Promoting Health and Wellbeing Nationwide

Challenge: Parents and community leaders could benefit from evidence-based tools that provide information regarding Emotional Well-Being and cultivate individual and community-level EWB.

Target Audience: Parents, local officials, health advocates, policymakers

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Accessing Apprenticeships

Challenge: Job seekers who are looking for apprenticeship opportunities within their communities or in specific areas are currently unable to identify Registered Apprenticeships (RA) training/job openings.

Target Audience: Educators, college career aides, potential employers

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Connecting Americans to Skills and Jobs

Challenge: Unlocking workforce data can make it easier for Americans who are chronically unemployed or underemployed to find and access new training and job opportunities.

Target Audience: Job placement professionals, community advocates

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Small Town Resource Guide

Challenge: Many small towns lack the capacity/human capital to take advantage of programs (e.g. grants and low cost loans for broadband, health facilities, water systems, businesses, housing) for which they are eligible.

Target Audience: Local officials, community leaders

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Summer Food Programs

Challenge: During the academic year, many students rely on school meals for breakfast and lunch. In the summer, students and families seek a reliable alternative, but information on summer meals sites is often lacking.

Target Audience: Parents, local officials, health advocates, policymakers

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Depending on results and mission priorities, government agencies may engage with notable TOP tech teams on their solutions or technologies for continued collaboration in similar or pressing national challenges, as well as engage participants in testing, feedback, development, and/or deployment of digital tools. Future opportunities may include an organized dialogue or event with TOP partners and/or a competitive opportunity such as America COMPETES prize recognition or purchase.

Have Additional Questions?

Reach out to our team through the form below.