Gov. Phil Murphy and New Jersey’s chief innovation officer, Beth Simone Noveck, have announced the winners of the state’s Innovation ENJINE Challenge.
The innovation competition, launched this spring, featured state employees submitting ideas for new policies and practices that would result in direct cost savings, more streamlined processes or better services for the people of the Garden State, the Governor’s Office said in a news release.
“The Innovation ENJINE Challenge is all about tapping the experience and expertise of the state’s talented public servants to help advance our efforts to make New Jersey the State of Innovation,” Murphy said in a prepared statement. “I applaud the creativity, thoughtfulness and dedication of the thousands of state government workers who participated in this competition, and I look forward to seeing the impact that these proposed innovations will have on our state.”
The winning entries were:
- Chatbots, a user-friendly platform for automated assistance on state websites;
- Accumulated Overtime, an expansion program that would enable workers to earn vacation time rather than OT pay;
- Paid State Fellowships for Youth, a formalized paid internship program for the state;
- Database of Shared Software Applications, a centralized location for agencies to find applications developed by other state agencies;
- State Talent Bank, a system to enable state workers with specialized expertise to work with other departments.
More than 2,000 participants took part through online submissions, with the Top 20 voted ideas and five wild-card selections advancing to a final round in which teams created plans for one of those ideas. Winning teams will now develop their plans into pilot programs.
“By advancing public entrepreneurship in the Garden State, we’re cultivating our ability as a state to deliver better solutions to public problems in new and innovative ways,” Noveck said in a statement. “I’m excited to work with these committed public entrepreneurs to help bring these plans to fruition and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of New Jersey state government.”
The ENJINE Challenge was part of the SmarterNJ initiative, which is focused on creating new ways for the public to contribute to the policy-making process and encourage problem-solving and entrepreneurship.