Guidelines and Criteria

Guidelines and Criteria for the Local Government Innovation Awards

The Local Government Innovation Awards are open to all government entities at the city, county, township and school level (including public schools, charter schools, and school districts). The Local Government and Native Nation Collaboration Award is open to local units of government that have worked collaboratively on a project with one of the 11 sovereign Native nations. Collaborations of cities, counties, townships, and schools are also eligible to win an award collectively. In all cases, one governmental unit should submit the entry on behalf of all the units/ sovereign Native nations involved in the collaboration. 

Award Entry Requirements:

  • The project must be located in Minnesota.
  • The project cannot be a previous award winner. 
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • Supplementary material will not be accepted.
  • 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 in all categories based on the following criteria: innovation, impact, and sustainability/potential for growth and collaboration.

Innovation: Entries will be evaluated on their innovative approach to meeting a community need. Entries should describe innovation that demonstrate one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Creating Greater Accountability –Developing the parts of Performance Management Systems such as strategic plans, performance budgets, aligned employee objectives, customer surveys, and program evaluations;
  • 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,
  • Collaboration or Consolidation – Creating new sharing arrangements, collaborating across sectors or systems, or consolidating governmental organizations to improve efficient service delivery;
  • Divesting Services – Divesting current services to community groups like churches, athletic associations, service organizations, etc.
  • Creating Inclusivity – Addressing gaps in community programs and services that creating a more equitable or inclusive community

Please note this list is not exhaustive and is intended to provide examples.

Impact: 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: 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 could adopt.

Collaboration: 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.