18F is “an office within GSA that collaborates with other agencies to fix technical problems, build products, and improve how government serves the public through technology.” 18F is part of the Technology Transformation Services, the office within GSA that also houses Data.gov. The mission of 18F is summarized this way: “We envision a country whose government consistently offers digital services that instill pride and trust, meet user needs, are secure, and are delivered quickly and at reasonable cost.”
18F uses a partnership model to work with federal agencies, solving technology challenges with user-centered development principles. The main types of engagements they take on, described on their website, are to “improve public-facing services like websites or applications; implement new laws or requirements while introducing new techniques to your agency; [and] digitize and streamline internal systems to save time and increase accuracy.” The goal is not only to partner successfully with other agencies, but “to strengthen government technology practices in ways that last beyond our formal partnerships.”
For agencies interested in this approach, 18F has developed an online guide with partnership principles. It provides a starting point for exploring work with this unique federal team.