Applying To the Ignite Accelerator Program
All HHS employees in both Operating Divisions and Staff Divisions are encouraged to apply.
Project Leads must be a full-time employee (FTE) of the Department. Team members can be basically anyone else: Other government employees (from other agencies, departments, state/local, etc.); as well as non-government people that you have (legal) arrangements with (contractors, non-profits, Foundations, for-profits, etc.).
Project Review Criteria & Things to Consider
Proposals submitted into Ignite are evaluated by a panel of Reviewers based on the following criteria:
- The project’s alignment to the Office, Agency mission [20 points]
- The proposal’s explanation of the process, product, or system to be addressed. [60 points]
- How well the proposed solution aligns with the communicated problem. [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. For example, the determination process used for selecting the Winter 2015 Ignite Accelerator finalists is written up in detail here.
Tips & Tricks: Before submitting, you may want to consider the following
- Communicating in simple language is essential. It’s also very hard as we get easily caught up in our own jargon. Consider copying and pasting your proposal onto HemmingwayApp.com. It’ll tell you the reading level (aim for 8th grade or below), and the parts of your writing that are harder to read.
- We care more about the problem being addressed than the project being proposed, so spend more time on that section.
- We are interested in modernizing the core of our operational processes, services, and systems.
- We are looking for bold ideas that push boundaries. Informational consumer-facing websites and apps are usually (though not always) not very interesting projects as they’re typically ‘safe’ project ideas and thus tend to get scored lower.
- Not all projects are entirely new systems. Projects that revamps *how* something gets done can be really interesting.
- Note: The goal of your online proposal is to simply get to the Discovery stage as a Finalist! During that time you’ll be able to refine things and then eventually share with us more details, charts, complexity, etc. So keep the original online proposal simple and straight-forward.