The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Innovation Center) was created by the Affordable Care Act to identify, develop, assess, support, and spread new approaches to health care financing and delivery that can help improve quality and lower costs. Although the Innovation Center has been given unprecedented authority to take action, it is being asked to produce definitive results in an extremely short time frame. One particularly difficult task is developing methodological approaches that adhere to a condensed time frame, while maintaining the rigor required to support the extensive policy changes needed. The involvement and collaboration of the health services research community will be a key element in this endeavor. This issue brief reviews the mission of the Innovation Center and provides perspectives from the research community on critical issues and challenges.