In order to shine a light on a greater number of noteworthy government programs and practices, in 2010, the Innovations Program launched a new Bright Ideas initiative , which serves to recognize and promote creative government initiatives and partnerships so that government leaders, public servants, and other individuals can learn about notable ideas and adopt those initiatives that work in their own communities. To be considered as a Bright Idea, a program:
- Must be administered and/or authorized by one or more governmental entities; nonprofit, private sector, and union initiatives are eligible with a government partner
- Programs or initiatives must be currently in operation, or in the process of being launched
- Programs or initiatives should have sufficient operational resources (i.e., not seeking grant funding)
While the Bright Ideas initiative encompasses all levels of American government, it focuses primarily on domestic programs. Innovations that arise within defense and international agencies are eligible if they have significant domestic policy content (such as job training, base conversion, procurement reform, energy conservation, or environmental protection). Weapons systems will not be considered.