The HHS Innovates Awards identify and celebrate innovative solutions developed by our employees.
The Awards are part of a larger effort to building a culture of innovation at the Department of Health and Human Services through facilitating the exchange of innovative ideas and showcasing creative approaches developed by our employees to solve tough problems. This program recognizes and rewards employee-led innovation, and helps to spread promising solutions across the Department and beyond.
How does HHS Innovates recognize and reward employee-led innovation?
Annually, HHS employees are encouraged to submit innovative solutions they have developed or nominate the work of their colleagues. The top innovative solutions are showcased for employee voting and promoted in the media. Meritorious innovators receive recognition. Winning innovators are personally recognized by HHS leadership in an awards ceremony.
What do employees get for participating in HHS Innovates?
Broad exposure for their innovative solutions across HHS and in the media
Engagement with a community of innovators across the Department
Cash prizes for winning innovators (HHS Employees and Commissioned Corps Officers only)
Inclusion of HHS Innovates certificate in winning innovators’ employee performance file
Core Principles of HHS Innovates
As part of the mission of the HHS IDEA Lab to identify, enable and catalyze innovation and experimentation, HHS Innovates celebrates those HHS employees who think differently and take risks. The celebration of those employees who adopt new methodologies, collaborate, and are creative in problem solving is helping to spread culture change and build a network of innovators and experimenters internal to the Department.
A Brief History of the HHS Innovates Awards
Launched in 2010 by the HHS Innovation Council, HHS Innovates has undergone seven rounds of competition to date. During this time, HHS employees have nominated over 500 exciting new staff-driven innovations, and over 60,000 votes have been cast by our employees during the voting phase. As a result of this program, over 200 employee innovators who made innovations happen at HHS have been recognized by the Secretary.
By calling attention to promising solutions, and sharing them widely across HHS and with our stakeholders, the Awards have help to spread and scale promising solutions that are helping HHS to better deliver on its mission of providing health and human services to the American people. For example, one of the innovations, the NIOSH cap lamp, was picked up for licensing by a foreign company who learned of the innovation through an HHS press release. Other innovations, such as the 100K Genome Project and Body Weight Simulator have gained numerous new partners and followers as a result of the media attention. These competitions and employee prizes have demonstrated how HHS employees have overcome resource constraints, complicated schedules, and complex organizational dynamics to provide creative, replicable and sustainable innovations that demonstrate outstanding leadership and promising results.
This competition has been widely highlighted in innovation circles. The competition, and the winning innovations highlighted through this contest have been highlighted in national newspapers, on the radio, and by the White House. Many federal agencies have requested briefings on this competition, and have sought to model their innovation efforts after this program.