- Announcements & Updates
- Overview of Ignite
- Eligibility and How to Apply
- The Selection Process
- Key Dates
- More Information & FAQs
We Are Currently Accepting Project Proposals
We are accepting project proposals for the Summer 2015 Accelerator from HHS staff until Tuesday, March 31st at 11:59 ET.
Check out the tabs on this page for the details on the types of projects we support and what it takes to get selected.
03/23: New Blog Post | One Week To Go: Why You Should Consider Applying to HHS Ignite
HHS Ignite is our innovation accelerator program. We take super smart HHS employees that want their office or agency to work better and give them tools, cash, and a good entrepreneurial kick in the pants to address a pain point for their organization… Continue Reading ->
03/18: Added "The Selection Process" tab
To better provide information on the steps and processes we take when selecting teams into the program, we gave it it’s own dedicated space. Please see the “The Selection Process” tab.
03/17: Posting the Slides from the Overview Webinars
02/26: Thinking of Applying to the HHS Ignite Summer 2015 Accelerator?
Between March 1 and March 31, 2015, we’ll be accepting project proposals for the Summer 2015 Accelerator which runs from June through September of this year.
For anyone interested in learning more: First, check out this webpage. Everything you need to know is here. But we are having a couple Overview Webinars to offer an introduction to the program and give a sense as to the selection process.
The contents of both webinars will be exactly the same and will merely be a repackaging of information that is already on this webpage. Though we’ll probably have some room for QnA in there. Hope you can join for either of these:
Overview Webinar: Ignite Summer 2015 Accelerator
Wednesday, March 4 | 2:30-3:30 ET | Register for the March 4th webinar
Overview Webinar: Ignite Summer 2015 Accelerator
Tuesday, March 10 | 2:30-3:30 ET | Register for the March 10th webinar
Please also note that we needed to alter slightly the specific start- and end-dates for this Summer Accelerator. See the “Key Dates” tab for those details.
12/08: Announcing The Winter 2015 Class of Project Teams!
In October, employees from across HHS had the opportunity to submit to our HHS Ignite Accelerator their ideas on how to make HHS a more modern and effective organization. In a previous blog post, we mentioned that we received 72 proposals which were reviewed and culled down to 28 finalists.
After an extensive review process, we are now excited to announce that 13 project teams have been selected into the Winter 2015 Class of Ignite!
We announced these project teams via the following blog post:
Congrats to the selected teams!
11/10: Here are the 28 Finalists for the Winter 2015 Class
Many thanks to all who submitted! On November 10th, we announced the 28 finalists to advance to the interview stage of selection. More information on the finalists and our selection methodology can be found in our blog post:
The 28 finalists have since pitched their idea to a small panel of IDEA Lab staff. We plan to announce the selected teams on Monday, December 8th.
11/01: Applications for Ignite Winter 2015 Are Now Closed
We accepted applications from Oct 1 until 11:59pm on Friday, October 31, 2014. These projects will run from January through April 2015.
10/15: Overview Slides and Webinar
On Thursday Oct 9th, we held a webinar providing an overview of Ignite and included information on how to apply to the program.Here are the slides used during the webinar, and as noted, we have also updated our FAQs based upon the questions received.
We were planning on posting the full webinar, but somehow we weren’t able to download the GoToMeeting video recording. Not sure what happened exactly. But as mentioned in that webinar, all the information provided there is also found on this website.
Many thanks to all that joined and that asked questions. We look forward to reading your proposal!
Accelerating Internal Ideas
Core Principles of Ignite
Types of Ignite Projects
Phases of an Ignite Project
Partnering with the University of Maryland
A Brief History of HHS Ignite
How to Apply to the Ignite Accelerator
Tips and Tricks
The Selection Process
We strive to be transparent at every step and we hope to set expectations so that all interested parties understand and trust the process. This page is meant to provide more details on that process and our thinking behind each stage of selection.
This is a generic page and so it doesn’t include dates particular to the current Round. See the “Key Dates” tab for those details.
Step 1: Submit Your Project Proposal Online
This is the most obvious: You can’t get in if you don’t apply!
See the “Eligibility and How to Apply” tab for the link to the submission form and other relevant information.
Step 2: Proposals are scored by our internal Reviewers.
Proposals submitted into Ignite are evaluated by a panel of Reviewers based on the following criteria:
- The project’s importance to the Office, Agency and/or Department [20 points]
- The potential impact of the proposed solution. [40 points]
- The proposal’s understanding and explanation of the problem that needs to be solved. [20 points]
- The proposal’s understanding of the customers that the project serves. [20 points]
All Reviewers are HHS employees. Most of them are previous participants in Ignite.
There’s quite a bit involved in determining exactly which proposals, from all of those submitted, get selected as “Finalists”. It involves panels, z-scores, and a desire for diversity of project types and OpDiv involvement. This determination process is written up in detail here.
Step 3: The Top Tier Proposals (our “Finalists”) Give Interviews
Ignite is about investing not just in the project idea but also in the team behind the project ideas. When you consider the fact that many projects ‘pivot’ even within just the first few days, this point becomes even more emphasized.
Thus we interview all finalists. These conversations, which include a short 5 minute presentation from each team, are typically 25 minutes in length and held with 3 members of the HHS IDEA Lab. They are in many ways a hiring process and they are inherently slightly subjective. Our goal is to get to know the team members (particularly the project lead) a bit and get a sense as to the team dynamics and the soft skills at play.
We also ask questions that point out the demands that come with being selected, such as what percent of your total time you think you’d be committing to the project, and whether or not you are able to make the full 3 days of the Boot Camp.
Step 3: We make our internal selection and run those by Agency Leadership
After internal deliberations, the teams recommended for selection are sent to the Leadership of each OpDiv and StaffDiv. Leadership is provided a few days to raise questions and flag any concerns they see from their perspective.
Step 4: We notify the Selected Teams
Prior to announcing them publicly, we notify the teams the teams of their selection. Typically there is about a month between when this notification occurs and the start of their particular Round. This is to provide time to get projects off their plate and do any other planning that may be needed.
Winter 2015 Key Dates
Summer 2015 Key Dates
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Still want more? Nice. You probably have what it takes then. Check out our frequently asked questions >