What is HHS Innovates?
Celebrating HHS Trailblazers. HHS Innovates identifies and celebrates internal innovation by our employees. The award program was launched in 2010 and developed as part of HHS’s Open Government efforts.
HHS Innovates is aimed at building a culture of innovation at the Department through facilitating the exchange of innovative ideas. This contest recognizes and rewards good ideas, and also helps promote them across the Department. To date, HHS employees have submitted nominations of innovations for nearly 500 exciting new staff-driven innovations, and our employees have cast over 60,000 votes during the community-voting phase.
WHY WAS HHS HHS Innovates DEVELOPED?
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 different. The celebration of those employees who adopt new methodologies, are collaborative and who are creative in problem solving are helping spread culture change and build a network of innovators and experimenters internal to the Department.
Past and current activity
Launched in 2010 by the HHS Innovation Council, HHS Innovates has undergone six rounds of competition to date. HHS employees have submitted nominations of innovations for nearly 500 exciting new staff-driven innovations, and over 60,000 votes have been cast by our employees during the community voting phase. The opportunity for open voting on the selection of winners by the public brings opportunities for the Department to engage with the public to learn about innovation activities at HHS. 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.
All of the projects can be found below.
HHS Innovates is a program for HHS employees. HHS employees are allowed to submit individual or team nominations (though innovation teams may include non-HHS employees) to the contest. Self nominations are allowed.
For purposes of this contest, innovation is defined as the introduction of something entirely new (e.g., a product, process, system, service, or business model) or an unusual application of an existing tool used to improve HHS’s ability to accomplish its mission.
Eligible innovation categories include, but are not limited to: process, technology, relationship/partnership, communication, workforce development, and sustainability innovations. Other types of innovations will also be considered.
Eligible innovations must have been piloted or implemented in the last 30 months.
Innovations must have generated significant innovation success; OR generated limited/early success and have given HHS new knowledge that can be used for future improvement.
How to Apply?
How are submissions are evaluated?
Submissions will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Quality of the application;
- Importance of the innovation to the Division/Staff Division and HHS mission;
- Novelty of the innovation;
- Impact on HHS and Operating Division/Staff Division mission and target populations;
- Usefulness of the lessons learned within the Division/Staff Division; and
- Potential for transferability and scalability across HHS and beyond.
How are winners recognized?
All finalists will be invited to an employee recognition ceremony. Up to three innovations will be recognized as the “Secretary’s Top Picks” per award round. The Secretary’s Picks will be given cash prizes of up to $2,500 per team member for a maximum of seven members per team (note: only HHS employees and HHS Commissioned Corps personnel are eligible for such prizes). The Secretary may also recognize up to three “Honorable Mentions.” The honorable mentions will not receive cash prizes but will be invited to participate in the ceremony and will receive public recognition.
A gallery of past winners are found below.
HHS Innovates Round 7
The HHS Innovates Pathway relies on both HHS Employee participation and the public’s participation to determine the winners. The top innovations are posted for secure, online voting and commenting by the internal HHS community who select the finalists. From the finalists, winning innovations are selected by the Secretary. In the spirit of open government we have posted summaries of the finalist innovations and asked the public to cast their vote and help us to select “The People’s Choice.” The People’s Choice is awarded to the highest vote getter.
Check back here for when voting is open.
April – May 2014
HHS Employees! Vote for your favorite innovation for Round 7 of HHS Innovates! Finalists for Round 7 can be found on the HHS Innovates page. Vote now!
Teams that submit the best proposals – as scored by our panels of Reviewers – into HHS Ignite are given a 20 minute window in which they discuss their idea with members of the HHS Innovation Council. This are done in-person (if you’re in the DC area) or via some sort of video teleconferencing (if you are not in the DC area).
Want to serve your country? Apply to be an HHS Entrepreneur! Work on high-risk ,high-reward projects! The second cohort has a wider scope and provides more options for external experts to participate.
More information on HHS Entrepreneurs, can be found here. Apply here!
Incubating New Ideas. HHS Ignite catalyzes early-stage project ideas that can be completed within very compressed time frames. Teams selected into HHS Ignite are guaranteed an appropriate amount of their time to complete the project. By exposing teams to a network of innovators and equipping them with the methodologies and tools used by successful startup companies, HHS Ignite provides a space in which small teams can try something new in a start-up environment.
By supporting the continual pursuit of the problem that should be addressed, Ignite projects are exploratory in nature. Selected teams are introduced to lean startup as a methodology for problem solving and project implementation. In the entrepreneurial spirit, Ignite projects are iterative, their impacts measurable, and their solutions scalable.
The IDEA Lab is looking for the public’s help in selecting the winner for the HHS Innovates Public Choice Award. The public has the opportunity to vote on the finalists of HHS Innovates! Make your voice heard and help choose the best innovative project at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services!
Finalists for Round 7 can be found on the HHS Innovates page. Vote now!
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HHS Innovates Projects
Below is the HHS Innovates Project Gallery. Each project is associated with one of our Pathways which is denoted with a Pathway logo (HHS Innovates Logo, ). To read more about each project click on the beaker icon () under the project title.