- Annoucements & Updates
- Eligibility and How to Apply
- Evaluation and Selection Criteria
- Key Dates
- More Information & FAQs
Accepting Submissions starting January 8, 2015
We will accept submissions for the upcoming round of HHS Innovates starting on January 8, 2014. Employees will have until 11:59 on February 27, 2015 to complete their submissions.
Join the HHS Innovates Webinar and Yammer Town Hall Meeting
Thinking about applying? Interested in learning more about the awards program?
We plan to host a webinar on January 21, 2015. We’ll go over the submission process and how to apply. You will also have the opportunity to hear from past winners of HHS Innovates and gain valuable insights from HHS Innovates Committee members.
We plan to host a Yammer Town Hall on February 10, 2015. The Yammer Town Hall will provide an opportunity to ask general questions of the HHS Innovates Committee and of past winners.
We will provide additional information about these events and how to register as the event draws closer.
Schedule a time to chat about your submission
Want to discuss your submission with someone? There are 3 options:
- Talk with your agency representative (many of the agency representatives have been on the HHS Innovates Committee for a long time). They have lots of experience reviewing and evaluating submissions so they can provide advice on how to strengthen your submission. For a list of agency contacts see the More Information tab.
- Talk with an HHS Innovates Mentor (these are past HHS Innovates winners who are currently serving on the HHS Innovates Committee and have volunteered to serve as peer advisors). They can provide you peer-to-peer advice on strategies they used in developing their submissions, or during employee voting. Please remember they are volunteers so can help you as time permits. For a list of the HHS Innovates Mentors see the More Information tab.
- If you have pursued the first two avenues and would like additional input, you can contact us at the IDEA Lab directly to discuss your nomination. We can set up 30 minute blocks during the months of January and February to discuss your innovation.
New Features and Enhancements to HHS Innovates
In the spirit of continuous quality improvement, we have made a number of changes to the HHS Innovates Awards Program to enhance the way we recognize and share promising innovations. New features of the program in this round include:
- Prizes for all key contributors of the winning teams (HHS Employees and Commissioned Corps only)
- Increased recognition for meritorious innovations
- Enhanced method for selecting award winners
- Improved submission form with new questions
- New submission categories
Celebrating HHS Trailblazers
Core Principles of HHS Innovates
Types of HHS Innovates Projects
To date, 42 innovations have won HHS Innovates awards, and hundreds more have received exposure across HHS. These innovations cover a wide spectrum of solutions, and often involve partnerships across the Department or with external organizations.
To be worthy of an HHS Innovates award, the innovation must have been implemented within the last 30 months and needs to be a solution that is scalable and relevant to stakeholders across HHS and beyond. Eligible innovations must fit into one of following six categories:
- Transforming Health
- Optimizing Human Services
- Creating Building Blocks for Success at Every Stage in Life
- Enhancing Operational Effectiveness
- Biggest Bang for our Buck
- Out-of-the-Box Solution
You can view all of the past winners of HHS Innovates here.
For more information about eligible innovations that can be submitted to these six categories, check out the Eligibility and How to Apply tab.
Phases of HHS Innovates
HHS Innovates involves five major phases, which are designed to identify, share, and highlight innovation occurring at HHS. These include:
- Employee Submission Period
In the first phase of HHS Innovates, all HHS employees are encouraged to submit innovative solutions they have developed, or nominate the work of their colleagues. For more information about the eligibility criteria and innovation categories, check out the Eligibility and How to Apply tab.
- Agency Review
In the second phase of HHS Innovates, leadership from the HHS operating and staff divisions will be notified of their employees’ submissions of this award program, and they will be granted right of first refusal for any submissions that do not align with the division’s mission, goals, and strategic plans.
- Scoring and Review by the HHS Innovates Committee
In the third phase of HHS Innovates, the HHS Innovates Committee reviews and scores the submissions. The highest scoring innovation in each category will move onto the finals. Highly meritorious innovations which do not proceed to the finals may be eligible to receive recognition from the Deputy Secretary. For more information about the scoring criteria, check out the Evaluation and Selection Criteria tab.
- Showcasing of Innovations and Employee Voting
In the fourth phase of HHS Innovates, the finalists will be displayed for employee voting. During this period, HHS employees will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite innovation, which will be considered the “Employee’s Pick.” In addition, the Secretary will also have the opportunity to review the finalists, and select up to two “Secretary’s Picks” from among them.
- Recognition Ceremony
All of the finalists will be considered HHS Innovates winners. A recognition ceremony will be held at HHS headquarters to recognize and celebrate the innovators who contributed to the winning innovations. Media outreach will be issued for the winning innovations. Prizes and plaques will be provided to all key contributors on the finalist teams, and supporting contributors will receive individualized certificates signed by the Secretary and Deputy Secretary.
A Brief History of HHS Innovates
How to Apply to HHS Innovates
Evaluation Process and Selection of Winners
The evaluation and selection process involves three basic steps:
- Agency review of Employee Submissions
- HHS Innovates Committee Review and Scoring of Submissions
- Selection of the “Employee Pick” and “Secretary’s Picks”
Step 1: Agency Review of Employee Submissions
At the close of the submission period, leadership from the HHS operating and staff divisions will be notified of their employees’ submissions, and they will be granted right of first refusal for any submissions that do not align with the division’s mission, goals, and strategic plans. Agency leadership will not be able to alter the submission (except by written permission), but they are able to remove a submission.
Step 2: HHS Innovates Committee Scoring and Selection of Finalists
Proposals that are cleared by agency leadership will be evaluated by the HHS Innovates Committee based on the following criteria:
- Significance to the HHS/OPDIV Mission or to Operational Efficiency [25 points]
- Novelty of the Innovation [25 points]
- Impact/Return-on-Investment [25 points]
- Potential for and Scalability and Transferability across HHS [25 points]
The top scoring innovation in each category (Transforming Health, Optimizing Human Services, Creating Building Blocks for Success at Every Stage in Life, Enhancing Operational Effectiveness, Biggest Bang for Our Buck, and Out-of-the Box Solution) will move onto the finals. In cases where there is a tie within a category, the Awards Committee may select multiple innovations to move onto the finals. Those selected as finalists will be asked to participate in a brief interview with members of the HHS Innovates Committee.
Highly meritorious innovations which do not proceed to the finals will be eligible to receive written recognition from the Deputy Secretary.
Step 3: Selection of “Employee’s Pick” and “Secretary’s Picks”
The finalists, as chosen by the HHS Innovates Committee, will have the opportunity to win two additional awards: the “Employee’s Pick” and the “Secretary’s Pick.”
The highest scoring innovation in each category (i.e, “the finalists”) will be displayed for employee voting. The voting will provide HHS employees with the opportunity to select their favorite innovation from the finalists. The innovation receiving the highest number of employee votes will be considered the “Employee’s Pick.”
In addition, the Secretary will provide the opportunity to select up to two of her favorite innovations. These innovations will be considered the “Secretary’s Picks.”
All of the finalists will be considered HHS Innovates winners. The key contributors to these innovations will be invited to attend the recognition and will receive prizes as well as plaques and certificates.
HHS Innovates Round 8 Key Dates
- January 8, 2015 – Begin Accepting Submissions
- January 21, 2015 – Webinar
- February 10, 2015 – Yammer Town Hall
- February 27, 2015 – Submissions Due
- March 2 - March 20, 2015 – Agency Review of Employee Submissions
- March 23, 2015 - Award Committee Review of Submissions
- May 1, 2014 – Award Committee Announces Finalists
- May 4, 2015 – Employee Voting Opens
- May 15, 2015 – Employee Voting Ends
- TBD – Awards Ceremony
Stay up-to-date on when we are accepting submissions by subscribing to our mailing list.
For general information about HHS Innovates, contact us at email@example.com.
For more information, please visit our FAQs page.
HHS Innovates Resources
There are three sets of additional resources that may be useful for potential HHS Innovates applicants. These include “HHS Innovates Mentors” and “Agency Points of Contact,” both of which are members of the HHS Innovates Committee. In addition, applicants may schedule an Office Hour to discuss their submission with IDEA Lab staff.
HHS Innovates Mentors
The following individuals, all of whom are past winners of an HHS Innovates award, have agreed to serve as innovation mentors for the purposes of this program. In this capacity they have agreed to provide informal peer counseling to employee innovators wishing to apply to HHS Innovates. These individuals have first-hand experience in what it takes to put together a winning submission. Because these individuals have full-time day jobs in addition to their participation on this committee, the extent of their interactions will need to be negotiated between the applicant and mentor. HHS employees can find their full contact information in the HHS outlook system.
- Miguel Reyes, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Past winner – Lighting the Way: NIOSH Cap Lamp
- Timothy Kropp, Food and Drug Administration
Past Winner – Jumpstarting Drug Review
- Peter Gerner-Smidt, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Past Winner – Whole Genome Sequencing: Future of Food Safety
- Kathleen Votava, Administration on Community Living
Past Winner – Suicide Prevention: What’s Your Role?
- Michelle Hoersch, Office on Women’s Health
Past Winner – Suicide Prevention: What’s Your Role?
Agency Points of Content
The HHS Innovates Committee is comprised of HHS employees from across the Department. A number of these individuals have agreed to serve as Agency Points of Contact who are willing to interact with employees regarding their submissions. HHS employees can find their full contact information in the HHS Outlook mail system. HHS operating and staff divisions that do not have representation on the list below, and wish to participate in the HHS Innovates Committee should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Administration for Children and Families
- Administration on Community Living
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
- Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
- Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
CDR Stephanie Bardack
- Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources
- Assistant Secretary for Health and Commissioned Corps
CAPT Jose Belardo
- Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
- Food and Drug Administration
L’ Tonya Davis
- Indian Health Service
- Health Resources and Services Administration
Sabrina Matoff-Stepp – also Past Winner [Text4Baby]
- National Institutes of Health
- Office of Global Affairs
- Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
- Office of Inspector General
- Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT
- Office of the Secretary
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
IDEA Lab Office Hours
Want to discuss your submission with a member of the IDEA Lab Team? You can contact us at Idealab@hhs.gov to schedule an office hour.
Interested in seeing what the awards ceremony entails? You can view the 2014 HHS Innovates ceremony.
Interested in learning more about the past winners of this contest, or contacting the members of the winning teams? You can view all of the projects.
Interested in hearing a past winner’s story? Learn more here.