VA to rename Innovation Initiative this fall

WASHINGTON: The Department of Veterans Affairs is rebranding one of its most high-profile offices, the VA Innovation Initiative (VAI2), to The Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation.

WASHINGTON: The Department of Veterans Affairs is rebranding one of its most high-profile offices, the VA Innovation Initiative (VAI2), to The Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation.

The rebranding will take place this fall with the goal of showing that the federal agency is always searching for innovative ideas, something the word “initiative” does not convey, said Jonah Czerwinski, director of the unit.

With the change, “comes the burden of increasing awareness among the VA workforce and the stakeholders in the private sector that we engage with,” he said.

District Communications is working on various materials for the rebranding. Later this fall, the firm may contribute to the awareness campaign that's expected to launch, Czerwinski added.

Czerwinski has been working since late 2011 to get authorities at the department to agree to the change. He said he felt it was imperative to continue to find new ways to assist veterans.

The VA Innovation Initiative launched in 2010 in response to a presidential effort to have cabinet departments be more interactive with and transparent to the public. Its specific goal was to invite VA employees, private sector entrepreneurs, and academic leaders to contribute ideas to increase access to VA services, reduce or control costs, enhance the performance of VA operations, and improve quality of service.

The unit identifies, prioritizes, funds, tests, and deploys solutions to meet the VA's challenges. It has more than 100 innovations in the implementation stages. Technologies that help veterans with spinal injuries better communicate with loved ones and an organization that funds businesses run by veterans are some of the ideas that have come to life.

As part of its scope of work for the rebranding, District Communications is redesigning the initiative's logos, creating print materials and videos, writing a report on some of the program's achievements, and redesigning the organization's website. The contract is worth more than $150,000, said Adam Clampitt, president of The District and a veteran himself.

“When we were approached with the [project], we really saw it as an interesting opportunity to think outside the box and shape something new that could help bring services to millions of veterans,” Clampitt said.

He added that The District is still waiting to hear from VA on whether it will work on the project's awareness campaign, which would be a separate scope of work from its current duties.

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