NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) awarded 30 contracts worth $100,000 each to various groups who've proposed some very out-of-the-box ideas like an air gun for clearing orbital debris, 3D-printable miniature spacecraft, and concepts for lunar colonies and advanced spacesuits.
Despite NASA's chronic lack of funding, the NIAC program is meant specifically for concepts and innovation which most would consider too risky to invest in, yet could potentially provide a huge payoff and bring about major breakthroughs in a number of fields. While I'm sure some will declare the program to be wasteful spending, I absolutely love this idea. If NASA was a sports franchise we'd call this a rebuilding year, so I love that NASA is branching out a bit, re-branding themselves as a haven for innovators and a proving ground for future technology. Invention often comes from the most unlikely of places, and sometimes discovery is born in the pursuit of completely different goals.
I can't wait to see what they come up with next.