GovFest organizers decompress, look to the future

Former U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra at GovFest (Photo: Amr Mounib Photography)
Former U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra at GovFest (Photo: Amr Mounib Photography)

This past September, more than 1,400 DC-area entrepreneurs and government innovators gathered for GovFest.

Organizer Adam Zuckerman shares what he learned and plans for the future.

What is GovFest?

#GovFest was an event built around the idea of bringing together entrepreneurs from both the private sector and government. Our focus was to address a single question: How can we innovate and collaborate together in more effective ways? It was held at the Half Yard Fairgrounds next to Nationals Stadium, and with over 1,400 people registered for the event, was a terrific evening filled with conversation and new ideas.

What were the highlights?

  • Aneesh Chopra leading our headline panel, with representatives from NASA, Treasury and SBA.
  • Two Quick Chat tracks, each addressing questions about government (e.g. innovation, intellectual property, government contracting, etc.).
  • Over 1,400 people registered from all over the region.
  • The Innovation and Collaboration Expo, with over 30 businesses and government agencies represented.

What did you learn from organizing such a big event?

  • This is an event the DC area wants and needs. With a plethora of talent in both sectors, DC is rife with opportunities for both disruption and new businesses.
  • While our turnout was terrific, if we want more government personnel to attend, we should hold the event earlier or later (not so close to the end of the government’s fiscal year).
  • People will wait in line for massage chairs.
  • Always bring lots of gaffers tape. That stuff will hold down everything it touches.

What are your future plans with GovFest?

As with our annual Day of Fosterly event, we’re taking time after the event to assess what worked, what didn’t, and what we should do next time. We are definitely interested in making this an annual event, but we want to make sure we gather all of the feedback we can before deciding what to focus on improving for next year.

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