Guidelines and Criteria

Guidelines and Criteria for the Local Government Innovation Awards

The entry period for 2018 will open on September 17, 2018.

Entry to the Local Government Innovation Award is open to all government entities at the city, township, county and school district level (including public schools, charter schools, and school districts). Collaborations of cities, townships, counties, and school districts are also eligible to win an award collectively. One governmental unit should submit the entry on behalf of all the units involved in the collaboration. 

New in 2017, we are introducing the Local Government and Native Nation Collaboration Award. This entry category is open to local units of government (cities, counties, townships, and schools) who have worked collaboratively on a project with one of the 11 sovereign Native Nations. The innovation entered has to be located in Minnesota.

The project entered needs to be beyond the conceptual stage, and show measurable progress and impact, or have taken place within the past two years.

The project cannot be a previous award winner.  More than one entry is allowed by the same government entity. However, the same department within a government entity cannot win more than one award.

Special efforts will be made to recognize local government entities of varying sizes, from both the metro area and Greater Minnesota. Please note that only what the entry form calls for is required, but those interested in submitting images to supplement their entry can email them to

If there are eligibility questions, finalists will be asked to provide written confirmation of their status as a government entity. Written proof could include one of the following: a copy of the legislative act creating a board or commission, a letter from an authorized government official confirming the status of a subsidiary body, or a Government Affirmation Letter supplied free of charge from the IRS. You may request this letter by calling the IRS Tax Exempt/Government Entity Cincinnati Call Site at 1-877-829-5500.

Judging Criteria

Judges will review entries for the City, County, Township, Schools categories based on the following criteria: innovation (40%), impact (30%), and sustainability/potential for growth (30%). Please note for the Local Government and Native Nation Collaboration Award category additional criteria will be considered and is detailed at the end of this section.

Innovation: (40% of score) Entries will be considered for their innovative approach to meeting a community need. Some of the possible strategies for service redesign and innovation could include, but are not limited to:

Creating Greater Accountability –Developing the parts of Performance Management Systems such as strategic plans, performance budgets, aligned employee objectives, customer surveys, and program evaluations;

Collaboration or Consolidation – Creating new sharing arrangements, collaborating across sectors or systems, or consolidating governmental organizations to improve efficient service delivery;

Using Incentives, Charges, and Targeting – Utilizing incentives rather than compliance for employees or functions, creating or rethinking fees, and targeting services to those in need;

Competitive Contracting – Contracting out public services by using bidders from multiple sectors;

Funding Consumers – Rather than providing a selected service for everyone, allowing consumers of the service to select their providers;

Prevention – Developing approaches to prevent problems so that no service is needed to eradicate the problem; and,

Divesting Services to the Community – Divesting current services to community groups like churches, athletic associations, service organizations, etc.

Impact: (30% of score) How does the innovation make a difference? Were considerable resources saved or implemented in a new way to yield greater results? Is there evidence of success or impact? Measureable impact could include:

Money or resources saved as a result of the innovation

Increasing the number of people served without increasing costs

Improvements in the quality/depth of service

Sustainability and Potential for Growth: (30% of score) Will the innovation stick? Can it be expanded or repeated in other communities? Judges will be looking for innovations that will still be in practice years from now and that other communities can adopt.

For the Local Government and Native Nations Collaboration Award – The collaborative nature of the project will also be evaluated. Judges will consider how the project has created common ground or greater relationships between the groups, and the degree to which there was authentic collaboration in the co-creation and ownership of the project.