The HHS Innovates program was created as part of HHS’s Open Government efforts to celebrate innovation by our employees. The program is aimed at building a culture of innovation at HHS through facilitating the exchange of innovative ideas throughout the Department. This contest seeks not only to recognize and reward good ideas but also to help promote them across the Department.
Twice a year, HHS employees are invited to submit innovations via an internal intranet site. 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 winning innovations and asked the public to cast their vote and help us to select “The People’s Choice.”
Launched in the spring of 2010, the HHS Innovates program has undergone six rounds to date. Our employees have submitted nominations for nearly 500 exciting new staff-driven innovations, and over 60,000 votes have been cast by our employees during the community voting phase. Public voting has also help to bring additional exposure to exciting new innovations happening at HHS. These six rounds of HHS Innovates 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.
Next Round of HHS Innovates will begin on January 13, 2014
HHS employees are invited to submit promising innovations from January 13 – February 28, 2014. Click here for more information and to submit a nomination.
Winning Innovations Selected by Secretary Sebelius
The Winner’s Gallery provides detailed descriptions of the innovations chosen as winners in each round of this contest.
|Round 1 Winners | Round 2 Winners | Round 3 Winners | Round 4 Winners | Round 5 Winners|
Connecting to Combat Alzheimer’s
Tens of thousands of volunteers are needed—right now—for research to combat Alzheimer’s disease. This expanding public health problem looms ever larger as Baby Boomers grow older and people live longer. Through the Connecting to Combat Alzheimer’s Initiative, researchers teamed up with a network of community organizations that work with older people and caregivers every day. Together, they found fast, cost-effective ways to identify volunteers, speed up the science, and provide valuable information about services. More details ...
FDA’s Anti-Counterfeit Device
The Food and Drug Administration is committed to protecting the supply chain against counterfeit and unapproved medicines entering the United States through fraudulent sources. As part of this vigilance, the FDA unveiled a new tool for combating counterfeits to protect public safety. The agency announced its Counterfeit Detection Device, version #3 (CD3), a hand-held device developed by FDA scientists used in the field by investigators to detect counterfeit drug products. More details ...
FDA-iRISK: A fast tool for food safety
An innovative way to assess and rank risks from food contamination and predict best solutions. Takes food-safety decision-making capabilities at HHS, the food industry, and around the world to a new level. More details...
Portal System: Linking Healthcare Clinics
The Indian Health Service/California Area Office Portal System is a cost-effective, novel, and easily accessible tool that enables healthcare staff at remote locations throughout California to access discipline specific online communities. These clusters of subject matter experts offer one-stop access for training and technical assistance, including custom helpdesk applications, links to documents and information, knowledge base articles, training videos, peer-to-peer support chat functions, calendar of events, and frequently asked questions. More details...
The Weight of the Nation Campaign
A unique collaboration between the NIH, CDC, Home Box Office, Institute of Medicine, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and Kaiser Permanente, led to the creation of a far-reaching multimedia initiative to mobilize personal and community action to curb and prevent obesity. The Weight of the Nation is a powerful illustration of how federal agencies can work with each and with private funders to use innovative approaches to address obesity within the United States. More details ...
The Body Weight Simulator
With so many weight-loss tools, diets, and exercise programs, why are 2/3 of American adults overweight or obese? The Body Weight Simulator, an innovative online tool for personalized weight management, is a new and effective way that doctors, researchers, and policymakers can address this public health issue using the latest available science. This information is not intended to provide personal medical advice or substitute for the advice of a physician. More details ...
Frequently Asked Questions about the HHS Innovates Contest
Who can submit nominations to the HHS Innovates contest?
Only 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.
How can HHS employees submit nominations or vote for their favorite innovations?
HHS employees can learn more about the contest and submit a nomination or vote via the HHS intranet.
Which kinds of innovations are eligible for the HHS Innovates contest?
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.
Employees who have ideas that have not yet been implemented may be interested in some of the other programs run by the HHS Idea Lab.
How are the innovations evaluated in the HHS Innovates contest?
Submissions will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Quality of the application
- Importance of the innovation to the OPDIV/STAFFDIV and HHS mission
- Novelty of the innovation
- Impact on HHS and OPDIV/STAFFDIV mission and target populations
- Usefulness of the lessons learned within the OPDIV/STAFFDIV
- Potential for transferability and scalability across HHS and beyond
What do winners of the HHS Innovates contest receive?
All finalists will be invited to an employee recognition ceremony. Up to 3 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 7 members per team (note: only HHS employees and HHS Commissioned Corps personnel are eligible for such prizes). The Secretary may also recognize up to 3 “Honorable Mentions.” The honorable mentions will not receive cash prizes but will be invited to participate in the ceremony and will receive public recognition.
What is the People’s Choice Award?
Each round, based on input from the HHS community, we select a cohort of promising innovations. We post summaries of these innovations and invite the public to vote on the innovations they find most innovative and impactful. It’s a great way to learn about new initiatives at HHS and to provide public feedback. Based on public voting, the winner of the People’s Choice Award for 2013 was Connecting to Combat Alzheimer’s.