Administration asks public to help solve government problems online

The Obama administration is challenging the public to help solve the government's problems through an online platform to debut in July, according to the General Services Administration (GSA).

The program aims to tap the knowledge of the masses to help simplify government operations at minimal cost to federal agencies, according to a statement  Thursday from GSA. 

The ChallengePost platform will allow agencies to post their problems online and give the public an opportunity to suggest, discuss, and judge potential solutions. First lady Michelle Obama also used ChallengePost to create AppsforHealthyKids.com as part of her campaign against childhood obesity.

"By providing an online challenge and prizes platform governmentwide, GSA is helping agencies promote and harness innovation to more effectively engage with the public," said David McClure, Associate Administrator for GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies. 

The initiative is part of President Obama's Open Government Directive, which attempts to increase public engagement with the federal government. The administration recently challenged agencies to increase the use of prizes and challenges as tools to promote participation. 

"The use of prizes and challenges spurs innovation and brings ideas to bear on some of our nation's most pressing problems," McClure said.

GSA said the prizes should help mobilize new and diverse talent to help tackle the government's problems.