Humphrey School celebrates 10 years of government innovation

State capitol

The call for entries for the 2016 LGIA runs September 19 through October 12. Winners will be recognized at a public celebration Thursday, December 8. For more information, visit

The Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota announces a call for entries for its 10th annual Local Government Innovation Awards (LGIA) to recognize the creative and innovative ways that cities, counties, townships and schools are serving Minnesotans. Through their decade-long history, the awards—hosted in partnership with the Bush Foundation—are credited with setting a ‘gold standard’ and helping to improve the way local government entities deliver services.

Like other states, Minnesota faces an aging population, rising health care costs, and increasing demand for government services with reduced revenue. Many counties, cities, townships and schools have refused to let traditional approaches of either increasing taxes or cutting spending dictate their responses to these challenges and instead have found innovative ways to redesign their work.

 “These awards bring much-needed attention to the positive efforts and impact that often happen unbeknownst to the public and largely even among government entities,” said Jay Kiedrowski, Humphrey School senior fellow and LGIA program lead. “They celebrate the full host of stakeholders involved in a project and demonstrate the level and continuum of impact that is essential to share.”

The Local Government Innovation Awards have gained traction as a meaningful way for these entities to analyze their projects each year, and share their successes and challenges with others. Winners often inspire other cities, counties, townships and schools to replicate programs or projects, helping to create a ripple effect that benefits service recipients throughout Minnesota.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary and support the program’s longevity, this year’s competition includes a new award to recognize projects that demonstrate a long-lasting impact. To be eligible, entrants must be previous LGIA winners and submit a progress report that conveys the long-term impact.

“We want to create an inspiring way to share the core learning that encourages innovation and cross collaboration for local entities,” said Kiedrowski. “This new award will help achieve that goal and ensure long-lasting commitments to these types of efforts.”

What makes the LGIA program unique is the opportunity for local government entities to submit projects for a juried review. Judges include faculty and staff from the Humphrey School's Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center, the League of Minnesota Cities, the Minnesota Association of Townships, the Association of Minnesota Counties, and the Minnesota School Boards Association.

Submissions are accepted in four categories: counties, cities, townships and schools. They are evaluated on how they create greater accountability; use incentives, targeting and funding to meet those in need; orchestrate competitive contracting; manage collaboration or consolidation; deploy prevention strategies that eliminate the need for a service or divest current services to the community.

Up to 20 local government entities will be recognized with 2016 awards. The winner in each of the main categories (counties, cities, townships and schools) will receive a professional video highlighting their work and a $5,000 grant from the Bush Foundation to continue local government innovation and redesign.

The call for entries for the 2016 LGIA runs September 19 through October 12. Winners will be recognized at a public celebration Thursday, December 8.

Media Contacts

Melanie Sommer Foy
Humphrey School
Public Relations
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities