Humphrey School News—June 24, 2016

Humphrey School Recognizes Ten Minnesota Agencies For Creativity and Innovation

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (6/21/16)—The Humphrey School of Public Affairs has awarded ten Minnesota agencies with State Government Innovation Awards for their creative work and projects. The awards—organized in partnership with the Bush Foundation—recognize agencies that deliver better government services to Minnesotans through creativity, collaboration, and efficiency.  The winners will be formally recognized at an awards ceremony on July 21.  

“These state agencies demonstrate exceptional innovation within their organizations,” says Jay Kiedrowski, senior fellow at the Humphrey School. “We hope these awards will encourage an environment of experimentation and creativity throughout state government.” 

A panel of judges considered 68 submissions for their creativity, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness. This year, two of the top three entries came from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, and the agency also was a top-three winner in 2015.

The awards, now in their third year, were inspired by the Humphrey School’s annual Local Government Innovation Awards, which recognize schools, cities, townships, and county government entities for their programs and projects. To learn more about the State Government Innovation Awards, as well as the individual award winners and their innovations, visit

The complete list of 2016 State Government Award winners:

  • Minnesota Department of Transportation: Unmanned Aircraft Systems Bridge Inspection Demonstration Project* (pictured at top)
  • Department of Transportation-Government Affairs: Government-to-Government Tribal-State Relations Training*
  • Department of Labor and Industry: Minnesota PIPELINE Project*
  • Department of Transportation-Office of Transportation System Management: Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan and State Highway Investment Plan
  • Department of Military Affairs: Minnesota National Guard-Camp Ripley Sentinel Landscape (CRSL)
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency: Green Step Cities
  • Minnesota Veterans Home Adult Day Center: Operation Sight and Sound
  • Department of Natural Resources-Parks and Trails Division: ParkFinder
  • Minnesota Management and Budget: Employee Diabetes Prevention Program
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency: 21st Avenue West Aquatic Habitat Restoration

*indicates recipient of video award

Of the ten overall winners, the top three will receive a professionally produced video to use to share the story of their work with others. The top three are:

Department of Transportation: Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Bridge Inspection Demonstration Project

MnDOT found that using Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for bridge inspection decreases safety risks, provides less disruption to traffic, and reduces work time. UAS provide inspection detail that replicates some of the information gleaned through traditional measures, and costs significantly less in equipment and traffic control needs.

 Department of Transportation–Government Affairs: Government-to-Government Tribal-State Relations Training

Employees of state agencies are required to consult with Indian tribes on matters of mutual interest, and many have hired tribal liaisons to carry out those duties. Many liaisons have not been equipped with the knowledge or tools to fulfill their duties, and they have a heavy workload. This training program was developed to address those needs, and the content incorporates the concerns of Minnesota’s Tribal Sovereign Nations, as well as the needs, and requirements, of state agencies.

Department of Labor and Industry: Minnesota PIPELINE Project

The Department of Labor and Industry is integrating and expanding the dual training and registered apprenticeship system in Minnesota through the industry-based, employer-driven PIPELINE Project.  Dual-training programs offer employment, education and training to deliver industry-required skills today for the high-demand, high-wage occupations of tomorrow. 

The awards ceremony and reception is Thursday, July 21, at 4 p.m. at the Minnesota History Center. You can register for the event here. 

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Humphrey School of Public Affairs
300G Humphrey School
301 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455