The HHSinnovates Program: Winners’ Gallery
Background on HHSinnovates
The HHSinnovates program was created as part of our Open Government efforts to celebrate innovation by employees of HHS. 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, on-line voting and commenting by the entire HHS community. The winning innovations are recognized by the Secretary in an awards ceremony and the innovators are personally invited to share their innovations with the Department’s leadership.
The first round of HHSinnovates was launched in May 2010, the second round was launched in October 2010, the third round was launched in May 2011, the fourth round was launched in October 2011, and the fifth round launched in May 2012. The last five rounds of HHSinnovates have demonstrated how HHS employees have overcome resource constraints, packed schedules and organizational silos to provide creative, replicable and sustainable innovations that demonstrate outstanding leadership and promising results.
Winning Innovations Selected by Secretary Sebelius
|Round 1 Winners | Round 2 Winners | Round 3 Winners | Round 4 Winners | Round 6 Winners|
The Coal Dust Explosibility Meter
The Coal Dust Explosibility Meter (CDEM) employs technology that is different from current tools and methods and provides instant feedback to assess the relative hazard of explosible dust accumulations in underground coal mines and the efficiency of a mine’s rock dusting practices. The CDEM provides mine operators with the information needed to take immediate action when potentially hazardous conditions are present. More details ...
NIH RePORT: Public Access to Research
Explore health-related research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and read how your tax dollars are supporting cutting-edge research to improve the health of our nation by using NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT). Read scientific advances from NIH labs and hundreds of institutions across the country supported by NIH funding, search the portfolio of funded projects, and link out to the latest news in biomedical research. More details ...
Online Food Handler Training Project
How do you train over 3,500 people each year in food sanitation when contending with a twenty percent reduction in staff? The Albuquerque Area Indian Health Service, Division of Environmental Health Services’ solution to this problem is an online training designed to be efficient and culturally-relevant, involving multiple Federal and Tribal partners. Due to in-kind services, less than $200 was spent on the project. More details...
NIAID FreeStuff: Stretching Tax Dollars
Why spend taxpayer money on a new microscope or chair if someone at the same government agency has that item and no longer needs it? NIAID FreeStuff provides an online forum where staff at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) can post and search for surplus equipment and supplies. This exchange increases the useful life of existing government property and reduces waste that can hurt the environment. More details...
The 100K Genome Project: Tracking foodborne illness to its source
The “100K Genome Project” is creating an open-source database of 100,000 foodborne pathogen genomes through an innovative partnership among government, business and academia. This important contribution to public health is cost-effective and represents a sustainable effort that could only have been achieved through the combining of resources from multiple stakeholders, ultimately resulting in a critical tool for preventing and responding to outbreaks of foodborne disease. More details ...
NHSC Online Jobs Center
Underserved communities need primary care providers – doctors, nurses, dentists, mental health providers. The National Health Service Corps Jobs Center connects clinicians to health care sites that need them most; increasing access to high quality health care for millions of Americans. More details ...
Frequently Asked Questions about the HHSinnovates Contest
Who can submit nominations to the HHSinnovates 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 HHSinnovates 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.
How are the innovations evaluated in the HHSinnovates 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 HHSinnovates 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.