The President’s Administrative Innovation Fund was created to catalyze administrative innovation and collaboration across Harvard by investing in staff-generated, creative solutions that support our faculty, students and staff colleagues.
Through modest but meaningful support, these grants could be used to explore a new idea or process, build a prototype, take an existing homegrown idea to the next level, bring in a subject-matter expert to design a solution, convene a ‘hackathon’, or be used in any number of creative ways. Emphasis is placed on novel, creative, and collaborative solutions that capitalize on value-creating opportunities or address known challenges.
Ideas funded will focus on:
- Innovation in Creating Connections and Community;
- Innovation in academic administration;
- Innovation in service delivery; or
- Innovation in talent development
The fund will provide competitive grants to individuals and teams with innovative ideas or pilots for $2,000 to $15,000. There is a possibility that one or two exceptional projects could receive funding up to $25,000.
All benefits-eligible Harvard administrative/professional, support or service and trades staff member may apply. Faculty, post-doctoral fellows, temporary employees, students, and co-ops are not eligible. If you have a question about eligibility, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Projects will be judged according to the following criteria:
- The proposal represents an innovative approach to an administrative challenge.
- The proposal is expected to have measurable impact once implemented.
- The proposal highlights a persistent administrative problem worth solving.
- The intended outcome reflects the proposed type of innovation (MVP, Pilot, Collective Action, Scale).
- The initial plan outlines actions the team can execute within a year (or 6 months for MVPs).
- Ideas with cross-School and cross-functional collaboration will be especially valued.
Innovations related to Creating Connections and Community will also be especially valued this year. Under this heading, we are seeking projects that facilitate cross-school and cross-unit initiatives, that expedite learning across organizational boundaries (both inside and outside of Harvard), and that enable us to realize the University’s full potential as a diverse and inclusive workplace.
Those interested in making a proposal to the fund should review the downloadable pdf of the Project Proposal to prepare for your submission. This application is intended as a brief description of your innovation and its impact. You won’t be expected to submit a project plan or detailed budget now, but you may be asked to do so if you move to the next judging round.
There are four different ‘types’ of innovations the PAIF is designed to fund. Innovations related to Creating Connections and Community will be especially valued this year. Under this heading, we are especially seeking projects that facilitate cross-school and cross-unit initiatives, that expedite learning across organizational boundaries (both inside and outside of Harvard), that enable us to realize the University’s full potential as a diverse and inclusive workplace.
Experiment (Minimum Viable Product, MVP): A very limited test of an idea that is expected to generate learning; and MVP uses the smallest set of features/activities possible to test a hypothesis.
Pilot: You have an idea for an innovation and hope to implement it at a small scale (e.g., in one School/Unit, or a select handful of Schools/Units).
Collective Action: You have had some successful experiments and would now like to bring your innovative solutions to a shared administrative challenge to a cross-school or cross-unit group.
- Scale: You already have a successful local implementation of an innovation and seek to broaden its reach and impact by supporting its application in new settings.
- Most projects can request up to $15,000 in funding for up to one year. MVP’s can receive up to $5,000 for up to six months. One or two exceptional projects may receive up to $25,000 in funding for up to one year.
- Funds may be used for non-exempt overtime (as applicable), software/technology, temporary help (staff or students), back-filling for staff working on the project, and other project-related costs. Funds may not be used for payment to staff salaries nor to fund a proprietary product.