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AI Guide for Government

A living and evolving guide to the application of Artificial Intelligence for the U.S. federal government.

Chapter 7: Solving business challenges with AI

Innovating with AI

AI is a great tool for improving operations and providing deeper insights and more informed decision making, but AI can provide even greater benefits when viewed as an innovation pathway. The most successful AI-driven organizations don’t just use AI and analytics to improve existing products and services, but also to identify new opportunities.

Building a culture of data literacy and collaboration across boundaries is a foundational step for innovation and digital transformation. Use these ideas to educate and empower teams to embrace an innovation mindset.

Learn from others in government and share use cases

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel for every AI solution. No matter the size of a project or method of development, you can learn critical lessons. Through sharing AI project stories at both intra-organizational and inter-agency levels, government teams can learn which approaches to business challenges with AI succeed and which don’t. This means evaluating the technical journey, but also the business journey. What was the business problem? What tools did you use to solve it? How did you write the solicitation? What clauses did you include to ensure successful delivery?

Courses and certifications

The learning and training space for data science, machine learning (ML), and AI is overwhelming. As we discussed in Chapter 4, investing time and money in a platform to target your workforce’s educational needs enhances their ability to apply new skills and become educated members of an AI team

Encourage experimentation and learn by doing

Creating a culture and space for teams to explore, discover, and experiment empowers them to be informed AI builders and buyers. It also means increasing access to data science tools and data sets across the organization. If senior leaders have concerns about experimenting, start small or in a lower-risk area. This may be an entirely internal effort or could involve a contractor or vendor.

Hackathons, challenges, and citizen scientists

Government has recently embraced the technical expertise of individuals and small organizations including students, citizen scientists, or coding groups. You can explore and experiment with your idea for an AI use case. For government lead challenge opportunities, check out and the Opportunity Project.