Tips for Applying

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



While the evaluators assessing your application materials are experts within your field, your application materials should be written with a wider audience in mind. In order to fulfill the mission of the Innovations in American Government Award program—disseminating knowledge of innovation and best practices with persons in positions to use it, as well as with the general public—we ask that you communicate the essence of your innovation and its most significant benefits simply, vividly, and succinctly.

Top Tips for Crafting an Award-Winning Application:

  1. Tell your story, perhaps from a user's perspective. Applications should create a narrative.
  2. Get early and wide-ranging feedback from colleagues and coworkers to ensure that you are communicating as clearly and persuasively as possible.
  3. Get feedback from someone either internally or externally with media expertise in order to help frame your work with the media in mind.
  4. Get input from persons not affiliated with the program — does the story you are trying to tell make sense to someone who is unfamiliar with your work?
  5. Avoid jargon, acronyms, and technical terms.
  6. Avoid overused words, such as:
    • benchmark
    • community-based
    • customer-based
    • empower/ment
    • facilitate
    • inputs
    • integrated services
    • need-based
    • oriented/orientated
    • outcomes
    • ownership
    • paradigm
    • partnership
    • preventive/preventative
    • self-sustaining
    • streamline
    • unique
  7. Wherever possible, include quantitative and/or qualitative demonstrations of how your program’s work is solving a problem. Describing your results in your narrative is great – backing it up with evidence, numbers, or testimonials is even better!