Municipal Innovations

Any city or town that is a member of the MMA may apply for the MMA’s Kenneth Pickard Municipal Innovation Award, which recognizes municipalities that have developed unique and creative projects and programs to increase the effectiveness of local government. The award is named in honor of the late Kenneth Pickard, who was the first executive secretary of the Massachusetts League of Cities and Towns, from 1969 to 1973.

What’s an innovative program? Any new and successful approach to a municipal challenge or service that could serve as a model for other communities. Eligible programs can be found in any area of local government.

Judging criteria include: project originality or novelty; adaptability to other communities; cost effectiveness; efficiency or productivity; addressing a common community issue; and consumer/community satisfaction. The judges, selected by the MMA, have a strong background and interest in municipal issues. They may be former municipal officials, consultants or professors.

The Innovation Awards, presented each year at the MMA Annual Meeting & Trade Show, give municipalities a chance to recognize the hard work of employees or citizens who have implemented innovative programs or projects, and to share unique ideas for solving problems or delivering services with other communities. The winning municipalities are recognized through a local press release, articles in MMA publications, postings on the MMA website, and a writeup at the MMA Annual Meeting.

How to enter
• Download and fill out the 2021 Innovation Award Application and Nomination Form (13K Word)
• Have the community’s chief municipal official sign the 2021 Innovation Award Nomination Form
• Include any additional materials that would help the judges understand the project or program (such as photos, brochures, maps, newspaper articles, videos, etc.)

The entry deadline for the 2021 award was Oct. 2. Entries should be emailed to Entries must include a summary sheet and signed nomination form.

The following are recent winners of the MMA’s Pickard Innovation Award:

Beverly resolves downtown parking crunch without adding spaces
Andover and its employees team up to tackle unfunded liabilities
Concord uses social media to increase citizen participation

Brewster, Chatham, Harwich and Orleans: first-of-its-kind state watershed permit for bay
Foxborough: Regional Hauler Day consolidates inspections for septage haulers
Taunton: Rent rebate program fills downtown vacancies

Arlington: Property registry addresses commercial vacancies
Harwich: Municipal pet cemetery provides service while raising revenue
Orleans: Project uses shellfish to reduce water nitrogen levels

Leominster: Creating an autism-friendly city and community
Salem: ‘Park Your Butts’ retools to improve cigarette waste recycling
Adams: Board unites artists, local government to spur creative economy
Scituate: Standard procedures, templates streamline emergency news dissemination

Danvers: Incentive program reduces peak electricity use and costs
Everett: City-run center offers low-cost exercise classes and equipment
Leverett: Town builds high-speed fiber optic Internet network

Chatham: Cloud provides access to meeting video archives
Deerfield, Sunderland, Whately: Emergency medical service improves response times
Springfield: After tornado, city promoted tree planting

Arlington: ‘Visual Budget’ illuminates how taxes are spent
Bedford, Billerica, Burlington, Chelmsford, Lowell: Communities collaborate on economic development
Melrose: ‘Our City’ exercise helped sharpen civic goals

Braintree, Weymouth: Collaboration bears fruit in Landing district
‘HarborWalk’ reveals Gloucester’s riches
Medford broadens its ‘Go Green’ initiative

Bedford, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, Sudbury, Weston: Towns formed coalition to monitor affordable housing
Danvers: Summer program created for homeless kids
Leominster: Effort to revive historic district nears fruition

Fairhaven: Anaerobic digestion to offset energy costs
Hamilton-Wenham: Organic waste pick-up program nears goal
Wilmington: Land purchase led to library bookstore

Bedford: Coordination boosts parent-education series
Dedham: Partnership helps alleviate foreclosure pain
Medford: Wind turbine marks progress in sustainability campaign

Dennis: Blog spreads awareness of planning process
Natick shapes strategic planning to fit town government
Worcester moved quickly to confront foreclosure crisis