Awards Guidelines

Definition and Categories

Evaluation Criteria

Submission Process

Submission Fees

Process for Adjudication and Presentation of Awards

Important Timelines



Definition and Categories

Innovation in public administration and management is demonstrated by novel or alternative means as well as replicable or adaptable solutions that generate significant incremental value to the administrative body (bodies) and/or to the citizens it (they) serves (serve). 

2016 IIA categories include:

INNOVATION DNA – A celebration of innovation as a strategic imperative in the public service, this category recognises initiatives centred on building internal capacity for creativity and innovation, embedding open innovation practices in government, and systematically soliciting input at all levels. It is characterised by an environment where innovation, creativity, space to challenge, and noble failure have become, or are becoming, inherent to the climate, mind-set, attitudes and structures of the organisation and its leadership. Submissions to the Innovation DNA category would typically demonstrate initiatives that:

  • cultivate the necessary conditions to increase opportunities to inspire others;
  • deliberately put the organisation into environments that encourage new thinking;
  • promote innovation as a function of the organisation; and
  • pursue the goal of realising the results of innovation regardless of obstacles and criticism.

INNOVATION IN PUBLIC SERVICE MANAGEMENT – This category recognises innovations that are largely internal/inward-facing to government and consist of functional or whole-of-system policies or business processes. It showcases innovative solutions to the everyday, underlying demands of running a public service organisation in any number of fields such as:

  • Information management/information technology
  • Human resources management
  • Financial management
  • Risk management
  • Project management
  • Change management
  • Security
  • Acquisitions and procurement
  • Asset management
  • Communications
  • Oversight, accountability or governance

CITIZEN-FOCUSED INNOVATION – Ultimately governments exist to serve their citizens, and this category honours innovative policies, programmes, services, and access to services that are outward-facing and client-based. This category showcases solutions that address root causes or emerging societal demands for the delivery of the organisation's programmes and services to citizens and other external partners. 

INNOVATION INCUBATION – All innovations begin with the spark of an idea from organisations that dare to push the boundaries and try new approaches. This category celebrates innovation that represents early thinking and promotes unproven innovative ideas that have not yet become replicable actions. It highlights amazingly radical and promising forward thinking that can ignite further ideas for innovative practices. The Innovation Incubation category would typically showcase early creative thinking on an important, enduring or emerging management, service or societal challenge.

Note: In previous years the IIAs have included a specific ‘Innovative Use of Technologies in the Public Service’ category. Because technology has become an integral part of all aspects of public service, CAPAM considers innovative technology to be crosscutting and is now included as a component in each 2016 IIA category.


To be eligible, the innovation submission(s) must:

  • fit within one of the four 2016 IIA categories;
  • be submitted by an individual or a team associated with the innovation project;
  • reflect an organisational rather than an individual achievement;
  • originate from a public service organisation at a national, state or local government level; OR where the project is carried out in partnership with another entity and the submission is being made by that entity (i.e. civil society, para-governmental organisation, etc.), government involvement and oversight must be clearly demonstrated;
  • have come to fruition (since January 2012), be in active operation, and undergone evaluation (please note: this criterion does not apply to submissions under the category “Innovation Incubation”);
  • be accompanied by a letter from a senior public official authorizing the applicant to participate in the competition; and
  • include the submission payment fee.

Evaluation Criteria

The following criteria are used to evaluate all submissions to the awards programme and are assigned a weighting factor out of 10:

Leadership in Innovation Creation

(weight of 2)

The extent to which the innovation makes use of innovation-inducing practices, for example:

  • Training public servants in innovation leadership
  • Using dedicated and conducive physical space
  • Working in co-production with multiple partners
  • Collaborating on inter-agency/jurisdictional projects
  • Connecting into networks of innovation practitioners (inventors, designers, scientists, artists) and social entrepreneurs
  • Increasing public participation
  • Leveraging knowledge management systems and structures

Impact of innovation

(weight of 3)

The extent to which the innovation contributes to and/or demonstrates notable positive improvements in, for example:

  • Efficiency (a ratio of output to inputs)
  • Total costs or budgetary pressures
  • Quality (reduction of re-work, enhanced perceived quality of experience, products and/or services)
  • Responsiveness of services (turn-around times, dropped calls)
  • Satisfaction of partners, employees and/or citizens (as perceived and experienced)
  • Transparency and accountability (reporting, scorecards)
  • Use and management of public funds (financial management, stewardship, controls)
  • Determinants of citizen health, public safety, literacy, education and other societal indicators
  • Citizen access and usage of program/services (reach and/or traffic indicators)
  • Response to new societal demands (addressing health, education, environmental, information and human rights issues)
  • Addressing upstream issues (based on logic models, economic models)

Replicability and Adaptability

(weight of 2)

The extent to which the innovation is able to be reproduced or modified and is relevant to other uses, functions, departments, ministries, jurisdictions, levels of government, and countries, for example:

  • Evidence of replication/modification and/or specific opportunities for replication/modification
  • Scope and/or development across programs, departments or jurisdictions


(weight of 2)

The extent to which the innovation processes, outputs and/or outcomes have been disseminated and promoted by credible others (e.g., case studies, publications in journals, conference presentations), for example:

  • Benefited from exposure; did not occur in isolation
  • Internal dissemination within the organisation, such as through employee newsletters, messages from leaders, internal employee and other recognition events


(weight of 1)

The extent to which the innovation has been subject to due diligence/risk management practices or independent review and assessment of impact, for example:

  • Formative and summative assessments conducted by the organisation's or independent evaluators
  • Internal audits or external audits
  • Other special reviews

For innovations that are not fully implemented or that have not operated sufficiently to allow for an evaluation, other indicators to consider can include:

  • Application of oversight practices (committees, authorizations, sign-offs, records of decision)
  • Due diligence reviews by the organisational comptroller, policy owners, process owners, etc.
  • Development of the risk profile and application of risk management/mitigation practices


Submission Process

The submission process is now closed.

Process for Adjudication and Presentation of Awards

Step 1 – Projects are screened for eligibility and reviewed to determine semi-finalists. The semi-finalists are notified and their projects are posted on the CAPAM website.

Step 2 – Semi-finalist projects are adjudicated to select the top three submissions per category. The 12 finalists are notified and their projects are posted on the CAPAM website.

Step 3 – Finalists make face-to-face presentations to the assessment panel for adjudication to determine one winner per category and one overall winner. The presentations to the assessment panel take place two to three days before the start of the CAPAM Biennial Conference.

Step 4 – Finalists will present their innovations to conference participants as part the CAPAM Biennial Conference programme. The International Innovation Awards are presented at the President`s Dinner at the close of the CAPAM Biennial Conference.

Travel expenses associated with steps 3 and 4 are the responsibility of the finalists.