Innovation Tournament

The Basics

What is it?

A contest to identify the most compelling, innovative ideas that AALL members would like to implement in their workplaces

Who should participate?

Any AALL member with an innovative idea that has not yet been fully implemented

What's the hook?

The chance to win one of two $2,500 prizes to help you put your plan into action

What's the deadline?

The application deadline has passed—see the finalists make their pitches at AALL 2019 and cast your vote for the winner!

The Details

Innovation tournaments are opportunities to leverage the expertise of a group to come up with solutions that can address a particular challenge. First implemented within corporations to generate creative input among employees, innovation tournaments have now crossed into other sectors, such as academia, the tech world, and the AALL Annual Meeting & Conference. Simply put, innovation is change that adds value, and AALL members are doing this every day—this is a great opportunity to showcase your ideas.

This call is open to all AALL members who are in the process of developing new, innovative, and implementable ideas to improve their workplaces. Think about approaches for delivering services, more effective use of existing resources, and special outreach to stakeholders.

Two prizes of $2,500 apiece will be awarded to further support the development and implementation of compelling workplace innovations, with the validation of a panel of experts and your peers within AALL.

Innovation Update: Checking in with the AALL 2018 Finalists

Eligibility Information

  • Proposals may include more than one collaborator or more than one entity.
  • All applicants must be AALL members.
  • If selected as finalists, participants must register for and attend AALL 2019 in Washington, DC to pitch their ideas on Tuesday, July 16 at 11:15 a.m.
  • There is no fee to participate other than being a registered attendee of AALL 2019.

Selection Process

  • Complete and submit an application by May 17, 2019.
  • A selection committee of judges will review all applications and select three applications to be finalists in the tournament. Notification of application status (selected or not) will be communicated to applicants by May 31, 2019.
  • The tournament will culminate in a session at AALL 2019 in Washington, DC on Tuesday, July 16 at 11:15 a.m. Each finalist will present his or her innovation plan to the audience, which will include a special panel of judges. Each finalist will have a maximum of five minutes to present his or her innovation. Judges will have an additional five minutes to ask follow-up questions, if necessary.
  • At the conclusion of all presentations, two separate votes will take place: one conducted by the panel of judges, and another conducted by the audience.
  • Two winners will be chosen; each will be awarded a $2,500 prize.

Innovation Evaluation Considerations

  • The issue: What is the significance and depth of understanding of the situation being addressed?
  • The audience: Who will be served by the innovation?
  • The solution: How novel and unique is the approach being proposed? How will it lead to more dramatic long-term results, compared to current practices or more conventional approaches? Keep in mind that innovation can come in many forms: new offerings, new ways of delivering existing services, applying technology creatively, or new operating models or collaborations. Is it scalable to other workplaces? What is the level of creativity being brought to solving the problem?
  • The leader: How experienced is the leader of the innovation? How compelling is his or her vision and does this person demonstrate the ingenuity, drive, and learning orientation to help make the proposed initiative successful?
  • The fit: Where does this innovation fit within the workplace and what type of support would it need or receive?
  • The impact: What are the metrics that will be used to assess long-term outcomes, not just outputs or activities? How will the workplace assess the progress and impact from the innovation?



Questions? Contact Heidi Letzmann.

Innovation Update: Checking in with the AALL 2017 Finalists

Watch the recording from AALL 2017

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