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New Bright Ideas Program Recognizes Innovative Government Programs
October 4, 2010
ContactKate Hoagland - email@example.com
Alternate ContactAngela Gregory - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cambridge, Mass., – September 29, 2010 – 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 based upon four criteria (Novelty, Effectiveness, Significance, Tranferability) and advances efforts to address the nation’s most pressing public concerns.
The Library Partnership was selected as a Bright Idea based upon the criteria mentioned above.
Novelty - There is no other combined neighborhood resource center and public library that we have identifed operating in the US. We have put in one place a one-stop center for persons and families in need. The social service agencies see clients and recommend approaches to resolve need. The Library provides support through literacy training, computer literacy training, eGovernment assistance, etc. The scial service providers prescribe solutions and library staff are
trained to fill the client and family needs.
Effectiveness - The impact on families is difficult to measure over the short term. Though, the number of children removed from homes has declined significantly. However, we do know that more than 3,000 persons a month visit The Library Partnership, more than 600 library cards were issued to new users in the 1st 6 months of operation, many other agencies (United Way, Housing Authority, City of Gainesville, CHOICES, etc.) have asked to have a presence in the facility. The Library Partnership is recognized in the community as the place where persons of all ages congregate and receive support, information, recreate, and assistance. Also, seeing the response of the community to the services offered has created a demand for a similar service center in another part of Alachua County.
Significance - In addition to the need to keep families together, reduce the maltreatment of children, and provide assistance to families so they can thrive, the ongoing support to community members in need is critical especially during difficult economic times. It is not enough to recommend services to persons in need. Persons in need require assistance to achieve what has been recommended. The public library offers the services, resources, and staff to address nearly all concerns. Libraries and social service agencies complement each other's work and are more effective working together than alone. It's not about how a library or social service agency can - perform better. It's about how libraries and social service agencies can work together to make a community better.
Transferability - This can be done in any community where the need exists. In these economic times, this is an efficient approach to addressing social service needs. Library facilities exist in many communities and staff provide many of the services sought by social service clients. The social service agencies need a place to be. Costs can be shared, staff can work together, and the community benefits.
The Ash Center will be accepting applications and recognizing more Bright Ideas on a rolling basis throughout the year. Learn more about the Bright Ideas program here.
About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
The Roy and Lila Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence and innovation in governance and public policy through research, education, and public discussion. Three major programs support our mission: the Program on Democratic Governance; the Innovations in Government Program; and the Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia. For more information, visit www.ash.harvard.edu.