Today the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, announced 173 government programs selected for its newly created Bright Ideas program. In its inaugural year, Bright Ideas is designed to recognize and share creative government initiatives around the country with interested public sector, nonprofit, and academic communities.

Bright Ideas seeks to complement the long-standing Innovations in American Government Awards Program by providing government agencies with a collection of new solutions that can be considered and adopted today. This new program serves to recognize promising government programs and partnerships that government officials, public servants, and others might find useful when faced with their own challenges.

This year’s cohort of Bright Ideas was chosen by a team of expert evaluators made up of academics, practitioners, and former public servants. Selected from a pool of nearly 600 applicants including smaller-scale pilots, 2010 Bright Ideas address a range of pressing issues including poverty reduction, environmental conservation, and emergency management.

“For over 20 years we have been honoring the country’s most creative public sector initiatives through our Innovations in American Government Awards Program,” said Anthony Saich, director of the Ash Center. “The creation of Bright Ideas was a natural next step to shed light on an even greater number of noteworthy programs and practices across our nation and to encourage practitioners to make these ideas work in their own backyards.”

The 2010 Bright Ideas will be showcased on the Center’s Government Innovators Network, an online marketplace of ideas and examples of government innovation for policymakers and practitioners. The inaugural group of Bright Ideas will serve as a cornerstone of a new online community where innovative ideas are proposed, shared, and disseminated. The Ash Center also envisions that these Bright Ideas have the potential to become future Innovations in American Government winners.

Bright Ideas is an initiative of the Ash Center’s Innovations in Government Program, which spotlights exemplary models of government innovation and advances efforts to address the nation’s most pressing public concerns. Throughout its history, the program has generated a wealth of research based on award-winning government innovations and the study of how innovation occurs.

The Ash Center will be accepting applications and recognizing more Bright Ideas on a rolling basis throughout the year.

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