Innovation Awards (Pilot Program)

Innovation Awards Pilot Program

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Announcing the DoIT Innovation Awards Pilot Program!

Hardik Bhatt, State of Illinois CIO, and the Innovation Working Group (IWG) are excited to announce a new employee recognition program to celebrate innovative ideas that use advances in technology to streamline, save money, improve operations of the government and enhance customer service.


The Innovation Awards Program is designed to stimulate a culture of innovation and consistently recognize innovation.

What qualifies as an innovation? Innovations must be an application of existing or emerging technologies in a new way that has significant value to the State of Illinois. The innovation can be a new idea, an in-process project, a proof of concept, or a completed project that has been finished within the last 2 years.

Who is eligible to submit a project? This is a pilot program open to all IT merit comp employees and CIOs throughout the state. An individual or a team can submit an innovation for consideration.

How do I submit an idea? Fill out the Innovation Awards Questionnaire to submit your project. You can submit at any time, and submissions will be reviewed bi-monthly by a group of technology leaders at our regularly scheduled CIO council meetings. The next CIO Council meeting is on July 13, 2016.

What is the process for submitting innovative suggestions, and what awards are up for grabs? There are three different reviews done for each submission. Each type of review is referred to as a gate.

  • Gate 1 – Submissions are reviewed by the Innovation Working Group. Each submission is made anonymous before it is given to the CIO Council Review team to determine if the innovation is good enough to move to the next level or Gate 2.
  • Gate 2 – Submissions that make it to Gate 2 require additional detail through a full business case. The CIO council Review team will thoroughly evaluate the business case and decide if it should proceed to the final Gate 3. All Gate 2
  • Submissions will receive a special recognition award.
  • Gate 3 – The CIO Council will evaluate completed projects and award one innovation with the Annual DoIT Internal Innovation Award at the May CIO Council meeting. Additionally, this allows for potential national recognition at the National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO). Your innovation will be submitted to compete in the June NASCIO competition.

Is there an award given to the best idea or suggestion? All nominees will be recognized for the innovations, and Gate 2 winners will receive a special recognition award. Gate 3 winners will have the opportunity to receive recognition for their innovations at the national level through the NASCIO awards program.