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Civil Service Live Innovation challenge: Will your idea take you to California?

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Blackboard with "innovation" drawn in a thought bubble in chalk
Licence: Creative Commons Attribution Missy Schmidt

Have you or your team worked on a technological or digital innovation that has significantly improved a public service?

If the answer to this question is 'yes', then you could win a place on Singularity University’s prestigious Executive Programme.

Held at the NASA Research Park in California, this programme gives you the chance to learn from the experiences of other organisations who have successfully used innovation.

To win you have to demonstrate how the team has used tech or digital innovatively to significantly improve a public service.

Applications open today (3 July) and close 4pm 19August 2015, and anybody in the Civil Service can apply, or nominate a colleague or team.

The prize will be awarded to a team or individuals from different teams. Judges will be looking for evidence of:

  • innovative use of technology and/or digital for public service benefit
  • collaborative working processes that have created significant impact
  • evidence of how knowledge from different teams has been used in the project

Teams that make it to the semi-final stages will be invited to Civil Service Live to pitch their projects to a panel of senior leaders as well as Civil Service Live delegates.

The finalists will go head-to-head on 6 October 2015 at Civil Service Live London, in front of an audience of 300.

Have you got a project that fits the bill? Do you think you've got what it takes to win a learning trip to NASA?

Enter your project now

The prize: Singularity University

Singularity University is a Benefit Corporation, providing educational programmes, innovative partnerships and an Accelerator to help individuals, businesses, NGOs and governments understand cutting-edge technologies, and how to use these technologies to positively impact billions of people. Founded at NASA Research Park, Singularity University’s partners include XPrize, Cisco, Autodesk, Nokia, Google.

Supported by
Singularity University logo

With generous support of

Logos of sponsors SEERA and slowVoice

How to enter

To enter you will be asked to answer three questions in no more than 300 words each:

  1. Outline the digital or technological innovation you have harnessed for public benefit. You should explain why it is innovative and how you have used it
  2. What were the measurable benefits that the team achieved and/or state the impact this had beyond the immediate team, business area or department
  3. Explain how winning the prize will benefit you, your team, your project and the public

You will also need to provide details of an SCS or other senior leader as a sponsor who confirms the details you have provided are correct.

Entries close 4pm August 19, and we will contact you shortly afterwards.

Click here to enter


Judging criteria

Entries will be judged on:

  1. Measure of the teams work under uncertainty, including relative budgetary and timeframe constraints
  2. To what extent might the winners work be promoted as a result of their performance, i.e. both in terms of innovating, and making the innovation/s happen?
  3. To what extent would the applicants benefit from attending SU and the Executive Training programme? Energy, vision and ambition will be particularly looked for.
  4. Which of the competitors are more likely to be able to positively influence government to take steps to innovate better and faster?

Terms and conditions

  1. This competition is open to all civil servants, including Senior Civil Servants.
  2. If you are nominating another person or team, we recommend you let them know you are doing so as if they win they will be away from core business for two weeks.
  3. All entries must be sponsored by a member of the SCS who acknowledges that your entry is factually correct and signs off that you will be away from core work for 2 weeks should you win. If you are an SCS entering, your entry will need to be sponsored by somebody at a higher grade than yourself.
  4. Entries close 4pm 19 August.
  5. Entries will be judged by a panel of experts from government, the private sector and academia, who will draw up a shortlist of finalists. The shortlist will be announced in early September 2015.
  6. Shorlisted teams that make it to the semi-final stages will be invited to Civil Service Live to pitch their innovation to a panel and in front of an audience of Civil Service Live delegates.
  7. We will aim to match semi-finalists to their closest Civil Service Live event, so applicants should hold the date, noting the final is in London on 6 October. Please note, it may not always be possible to invite you to your closest venue.
  8. The winning team will be announced at the final Civil Service Live of 2015 on 6 October in London.
  9. The final winners of the Singularity University prize is at the discretion of the judges.

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  1. Comment by G L Glynn posted on

    Can somebody please confirm my application was received for the Innovation awards

    01242 221491 ex 31304

  2. Comment by Ashley Roberts posted on

    Same question from me. Having pressed submit, there was no message to say whether it had been submitted successfully.

  3. Comment by Richard Porter posted on

    Hi is there any way to check if our entries have been sucessfully submitted? Just wondering if the TypeForm should have generated a confrimation email or similar?

    This looks like a great competition and I'm keen to make sure we at least get our pitch to the judges.


  4. Comment by Paul Harcombe posted on

    what happened to the next blog on 'finding inspiration'?

    • Replies to Paul Harcombe>

      Comment by Blog team posted on

      Sorry Paul, we completely missed your comment - apologies.

      There a couple of further blogs on the challenge: Sir Mark Walport has written about it, and one of the judges, Stephen Markscheid has also offered some tips.

      Kind regards.