Selection Criteria

Nominations for the 2019 Innovations in American Government Award are now closed. Please email innovations@harvard.edu with any questions.

Throughout each cycle for the Innovations in American Government Award, each applicant is evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Novelty, the degree to which the program or initiative demonstrates a leap in creativity
    • Does the program or initiative represent a fundamental change in the governance, management, direction, or policy approach of a particular jurisdiction?
    • Does the program or initiative represent a significant improvement in the process by which a service is delivered?
    • Does the program or initiative introduce a substantially new technology or service concept?
  • Effectiveness, the degree to which the program or initiative has achieved tangible results
    • Does the program or initiative respond to the needs of a well-defined group of clients?
    • Does the program or initiative demonstrate its effectiveness in meeting its stated goals and objectives quantitatively and qualitatively?
    • Does the program or initiative produce unanticipated benefits for its clients?
    • Does the program or initiative present evidence of prior independent evaluation?
  • Significance, the degree to which the program or initiative successfully addresses an important problem of public concern
    • To what degree does the program or initiative address a problem of national import and scope?
    • To what degree does the program or initiative make substantial progress in diminishing the problem within its jurisdiction?
    • To what degree does the program or initiative change the organizational culture or the traditional approach to management or problem-solving?
  • Transferability, the degree to which the program or initiative, or aspects of it, show promise of inspiring successful replication by other governmental entities
    • To what extent can this program or initiative be replicated in other jurisdictions?
    • To what extent can this program or initiative serve as a model that other jurisdictions will seek to replicate?
    • To what extent are program or initiative components, concepts, principles, or insights transferable to other disciplines or policy areas?

In addition to the above criteria, there are additional criteria related to our 2019 Award theme that can be found here.