Humphrey School looks for innovation, creativity in state government awards

May 11, 2017
State capitol

The Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota is now accepting entries for its fourth annual Minnesota State Government Innovation Awards competition.  

The awards recognize state government entities that create greater accountability, foster collaboration, improve efficiency, use technology creatively, reduce costs, and improve services to consumers.

Interest in the awards program has increased since it began in 2014; last year, judges considered 68 submissions from various state entities. Ten winners are chosen each year, and the top three projects are highlighted in promotional videos, produced for each organization’s use.

One agency recognized last year is the Minnesota Department of Transportation, which had two of the top three entries. One was its use of drones to inspect bridges. The drones cost significantly less to operate, are less disruptive to traffic, and decrease safety risks for inspectors.

Another top entry from last year was the Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division, for the development of ParkFinder, an interactive online tool that makes it easier for users to search the offerings of Minnesota’s 75 state parks.    

“These state agencies demonstrated exceptional innovation within their organizations,” says Jay Kiedrowski, senior fellow at the Humphrey School. “We hope these awards will encourage an environment of experimentation and creativity throughout state government.”

Nominations are being accepted from May 10 until June 7.

The innovation work described in the entry must take place in Minnesota and must be underway or have taken place within the past two years. Entries must demonstrate growth beyond the conceptual state, showing progress and impact.

Applicants may include, but are not limited to, state agencies, regional policymaking bodies, judicial or legislative branch departments, and statewide education bodies such as Minnesota State or the University of Minnesota.

The winners will be chosen in June and formally recognized at an awards ceremony on July 27.

The State Government Innovation Awards are sponsored by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs’ Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center, with support from the Bush Foundation.

Media Contacts

Andrea Cournoyer
Unit: 
Humphrey School
Phone: 
612-625-9436
Email: 
acournoy@umn.edu