State Government Innovation Awards 2019 Winners

Minnesota State Capitol Building 1

2019 SGIA Winners

 **Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, Minnesota Department of Administration:

Ambassadors for Respect - Anti-Bullying Effort for 4th Graders

Ambassadors for Respect is an anti-bullying program for 4th graders taught by people with developmental disabilities, who have themselves been bullied. Ambassadors for Respect teaches children to address bullying at an early age, and to reflect on their own behavior if they are being hurtful toward others. The program includes active learning activities such as shredding derogatory words and slurs in a paper shredder. The 4th graders also commit to carrying out acts of kindness with each other. Over 3,064 students have been reached. The program is doubly impactful, because while the students are learning anti-bullying skills, the presenters are learning leadership and presentation skills that in some cases have turned into employment.


**Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, UMN – Sustainable Forests Education Cooperative:

Tribal Cultural Landscapes and Natural Resources Management

In 2018 the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) asked the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council (MIAC) how we could improve the recognition, understanding, and protection of Minnesota’s Tribal Nations’ cultural places and practices.  DNR partnered with MIAC, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, the University of Minnesota Sustainable Forests Education Cooperative, and the State Historic Preservation Office to create a recurring annual workshop called Tribal Cultural Landscapes and Natural Resources Management. Over the last two years 60 state, county, federal, tribal, industry, and private natural resources managers and educators have attended the workshop.  The workshop serves the tribal communities, land managers, the historic preservation community and the people of Minnesota by enabling better informed and more responsible natural resources management.


**Minnesota Department of Revenue:

Sales Tax Rate Map

The Minnesota Department of Revenue’s Sales Tax Rate Map is an interactive tool that helps customers find the state and local general sales and use tax rate for any location in Minnesota. Rates can be found by entering an address into a search box or clicking on the map. The web-based map was designed for all Revenue customers, including approximately 5.5 million consumers that buy goods or services and 200,000 sellers that sell goods or services in Minnesota. In the first six month after release, the Sales Tax Rate Map was viewed almost 40,000 times with users completing over 80,000 searches.


**Minnesota Department of Transportation – Bridge Office:

Bridge Beam End Reconstruction

During a 2013 project to repair minor beam end deterioration and substructure deterioration it became obvious that deterioration at some beam locations were well beyond traditionally accepted repair scenarios. It then became necessary to design a solution that could be implemented quickly in the field with materials readily available. The designed repair was installed and monitored for three years to ensure its performance. After three years, the Metro District elected to replace the bridge due to a range of other bridge issues at the site. This replacement afforded the opportunity to salvage the repaired beams and test them along with beams of the same design that did not have condition issues. Beams were extracted and load tested at the University of Minnesota, revealing that the beam repairs exceeded the strength of good condition beams. These results, coupled with three years of good service performance, gave MnDOT and other agencies the confidence that this repair design is a valid durable approach to extending the life of bridge beams in poor condition. If the repair method were not available, beam replacement might be the only viable option. A single beam replacement would mean additional traffic interruption and reconstruction costs at least thirty times the cost of the beam end repair.


Minnesota Department of Administration, Office of Enterprise Sustainability:

Solar Possible

The Solar Possible initiative offers state agencies, local governments, and schools in Xcel Energy’s Minnesota electric service territory a streamlined solar photovoltaic procurement procedures through an innovative design-build master contract and a joint request for proposal process. Through collaborative solar purchasing, Solar Possible seeks to reduce administrative costs, support peer learning, enable timely action and reduce costs through bulk pricing. Solar Possible is a joint effort with the Minnesota Department of Administration’s Office of Enterprise Sustainability, Office of State Procurement, Clean Energy Resource Teams and Great Plains Institute.


Minnesota Department of Administration, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency:

Sustainable Procurement Program Charter

The Department of Administration’s Office of State Procurement (OSP) and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) collaborated on an informal Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) program since the late 1990s. In October 2017, the two partners created a more strategic, comprehensive, and effective Sustainable Purchasing Program. This Program is grounded in a jointly signed Charter, which lays out roles, responsibilities, resource commitments, priorities, goals, and accountability for all cabinet agencies to support the program by engaging in contract development and using sustainable contracts. Government purchasing is a powerful market driver and a significant source of public entities’ Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. The State of Minnesota’s more sustainable purchasing pushes suppliers to improve the environmental and social profile of their offerings.


Minnesota Housing:

Minnesota Housing’s Phase II EnergyScoreCards

Minnesota Housing’s Phase II EnergyScoreCards studied the impacts of energy and water benchmarking paired with supportive technical and financial assistance at 31 properties. The pilot was conducted over a two-year period from 2016-2018. During the pilot, we offered quarterly check-in calls and building assessments. The pilot helped navigating utility incentive and financing programs to facilitate the implementation of efficiency projects at multifamily properties in Minnesota. At the end of Phase II, 74% of properties implemented energy conservation projects and found, on average, a savings of roughly $1,160 in electric and $2,331 in water costs annually.


Minnesota Department of Human Services – Community Supports Administration:

Employment First Dashboards

Employment First is a national movement to deliver meaningful employment, fair wages, and career advancement for people with disabilities. The Employment First dashboards show local and statewide progress toward fulfilling Minnesota’s Employment First policy. The dashboards provide transparent outcome information at the state, county, and service provider levels so people with disabilities and those who support them can make informed decisions about the employment services they receive. The dashboards also help state agencies, service providers, case managers and others identify best practices and continuously improve their efforts to support employment.


Minnesota Department of Natural Resources – Parks and Trails Division, Metropolitan Council, Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission, Minnesota Information Technology – Geospatial Information Office:

Minnesota Great Outdoors Website – Legacy Parks and Trails for Everyone

The innovative Minnesota Great Outdoors website ( erases state boundaries, making it possible for the first time to search a single site for outdoor recreation across both state and regional parks and trails. The project was made possible by the Legacy Amendment and is a signature example of the “Coordinating with Partners” Legacy pillar. Partners include the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission, Metropolitan Council Regional Parks and the Minnesota DNR Division of Parks and Trails. The website carries the state branding and was designed and developed by Minnesota IT Services’ Geospatial Information Office.


Minnesota Department of Natural Resources – Section of Fisheries:

Lake Superior Steelhead Genetics Projects

The Steelhead Genetics Project (SGP) is a cooperative fishery research project between Minnesota DNR and volunteer anglers to collect genetic samples from steelhead in Minnesota waters of Lake Superior.  Between 2016 and 2018, over 60 anglers from 29 cities in Minnesota, as well as one angler each from Wisconsin and New York collected nearly 1,000 genetic samples while fishing Minnesota’s North Shore. This project answered a decades old question - that genetic hybridization was occurring between naturalized wild steelhead and the domesticated kamloops hatchery strain of Rainbow Trout the Minnesota DNR stocked to provide harvest opportunities. Given these results, the MN DNR is now producing pure Lake Superior strain steelhead, that have no negative genetic consequences, to stock for continued harvest opportunities in Lake Superior and its tributaries.


Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, Minnesota Department of Administration: Ambassadors for Respect - Anti-Bullyi

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Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, UMN – Sustainable Forest

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Minnesota Department of Revenue: Sales Tax Rate Map

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Minnesota Department of Transportation – Bridge Office: Bridge Beam End Reconstruction

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