2B. HHSinnovates Program
A key early win for the HHS Innovation Council has been the successful launch of a new Secretary’s open innovation awards program, HHSinnovates, which rewards and recognizes promising innovations across HHS. Via an online tool, any HHS employee can nominate an individual or team that has executed a notable change in how HHS works for the better. All employees then vote online for the best innovations, which are sent to the Secretary for her to pick the top winners. To date, HHS has successfully executed two rounds of HHSinnovates (the first round in Spring 2010 and the second round in Fall 2010). A third round commenced on May 2nd, 2011. Thus far, the competition has led to the identification of nearly 200 exciting innovations at HHS. In each round, approximately 10,000 votes were cast by HHS employees who had viewed and commented on these promising innovations. Thus far, a total of twelve “finalist teams” have been selected by the Secretary for recognition. The recognition ceremonies are made available to the entire HHS community as well as the public via webcast. More information about the contest, including a gallery featuring the winning innovations and archived videos of the awards ceremony can be found at http://www.hhs.gov/idealab/pathways/hhs-innovates/. The program has also sparked efforts to scale and disseminate the successful innovations from this program throughout HHS. For example, Text4Baby, a program executed through a public-private partnership that received an HHSinnovates award, triggered the launch of an HHS Text4Health task force to pursue the utilization of text messaging to improve health in other areas, such as smoking cessation and childhood health.