The narrative template outlines specific information we are seeking for each entry.
While other information may be included, please answer the following questions. Unless otherwise noted, the length of answers may vary, but the total submission should not exceed five pages. Please refer to the application guidelines for additional suggestions.
Provide a cover page using the official form with the following information:
- Name of organization;
- Name of nominated initiative;
- Contact name and title; and,
- Website address.
Provide a brief abstract of the initiative including its purpose, description of what it does, and its impact. (Please limit to 250 words; for winning entries, this abstract may be used in press materials.)
- Provide background on the context in which the initiative operates and why it was created. This should include information about the region the initiative serves (rural, mid-size metro, etc.), the region’s overall innovation economy activities, and other factors that give the committee a better understanding of the conditions under which the initiative operates.
- Describe how the initiative has been tailored to suit this context and how it has addressed market failures within the region. The specific activities of the initiative must be clearly defined.
Judges’ tips: Tell us what you did! Provide the definition of the problem, a description of your initiative, and evidence that it achieved its goal.
Provide details about the initiatives’ partners: Why are these partners crucial to the initiative? How do you engage with them? What do they bring to the effort?
Best practice implications
In this section of the narrative, applicants should address how lessons learned from this initiative can be applied to others.
- What lessons have been learned in the implementation of this initiative?
- How has this initiative helped to advance or been integrated with other economic development efforts (including traditional economic development efforts)?
Judges’ tips: Think about how this program can be applied to another area! What would someone need to know to model their effort after yours? Highlighting examples of other regions adopting your model is always a plus.
In this section of the narrative, each applicant should provide details about the impact of the initiative.
- What metrics are used to measure the outcomes of, or return on investment for the initiative? What has been the impact to date, and how is that impact determined?
- How are the results of the initiative communicated to key stakeholders, supporters and the public?
Judges’ tips: The use of a chart or graph is a great idea! It also is a good idea to tell a success story (or two), if you have the space. Don’t forget, make sure to carve out the results of the specific initiative!
Metrics! Metrics! Metrics! Provide specific goals and objectives of your program: what are your measures, what data do you use to help support the goals and metrics?
Innovation & effectiveness
In this section of the narrative, each applicant should address the following questions:
- What innovative approaches were used in developing and implementing the initiative?
- How does the initiative promote effective partnerships among relevant actors?
- How will the initiative successfully complete its objectives?
- What resources or key issues are needed for successful implementation?
Judges tips: We want to know you will be around for a while – provide information about how you are planning for future sustainability.
Every initiative is innovative, take time to think about a creative answer to an obstacle you faced!
Why you are the best
This is your final push! In no more than one paragraph, describe how your innovation economy initiative should be considered a leader in the field and why it should be selected.
Judges’ tips: Tell us why you should be recognized by addressing these two questions: What distinguishes your program from others? How well has your initiative succeeded?