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March 15, 2018

Innovation Sandbox Pilot Launch

By Maria Roat, CIO of the Small Business Administration and Chair of the CIO Council's Innovation Committee



The CIO Council’s Innovation Committee is a vehicle to lead innovation and drive strategic change, including digital projects across the federal enterprise. In late 2017, the Small Business Administration (SBA) received funding from the CIO Council’s Innovation Committee to develop and implement a pilot initiative allowing agencies access to a platform to test new technologies and methodologies: the Innovation Sandbox.


The Innovation Sandbox is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) capability that allows for simple, time-bound, hypothesis-based statistical experiments within a secure, controlled, cloud-based computing environment. The sandbox enables and encourages cross-agency collaboration to leverage modern tools and technologies to test hypotheses and share their findings, data, and experiences with colleagues across the government.

Taking advantage of available government data, new collaborative work efforts will bolster the conversation on government-wide data sharing and will highlight data sharing best practices. These solutions can then be integrated within agencies more rapidly, increasing overall efficiency. As agencies work together using the Innovation Sandbox, structural and cultural challenges will surface, identifying gaps that can inform recommendations for future activities.

Next Steps

At the conclusion of the pilot, the CIO Council will develop a report based on agencies’ experience using the Innovation Sandbox to determine the need and feasibility for a sustained, federal-wide sandbox. It will also identify best practices for agencies to create their own sandbox.

Employees and contractors interested in using the Innovation Sandbox should contact CIO Council Support Interested parties are strongly encouraged to contact the CIO Council as soon as possible for planning purposes.

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