2018 Innovation Grants Program Award Recipients

American College of Rheumatology (ACR)

The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) is developing a program to increase ACR member engagement and improve ACR business practices. The program, named Uniting Collaborators for Innovation (UCOIN), creates a process that will allow ACR members to generate, design, and implement project ideas in concert with the ACR and its network of collaborating organizations. All projects will advance the ACR mission and, for the initial phase, focus on the reduction of health disparities in rheumatic disease.

Through UCOIN, the ACR will serve as a career development incubator for members bringing a need to the attention of its membership and soliciting ideas to meet that need. ACR members (with a focus on younger, less experienced members) will propose design and implementation strategies for a challenge identified by the ACR. Then, the ACR will support selected members(s) in development and implementation of the project through coaching from more senior members, funding, access to non-member expertise through its existing network of collaborating organizations, and/or promotion. Participating ACR members will have the chance to share ideas on a national platform and engage with and learn from a wide variety of peers and potential collaborators.

Association of College and University Housing Officers–International (ACUHO-I)

The Association of College and University Housing Officers–International (ACUHO-I) has experienced increased demand for digital signage and displays at its Annual Conference & Exposition. Requests to present a slideshow of award winners, to live program listings, to volunteers using an interactive exhibition map of the next year for pre-purchasing booths, all come into play when planning the use of digital displays. With the additional need for displays and TVs comes the need to manage the content and support the technology, support that is becoming increasingly complex and expensive. So staff at ACUHO-I asked themselves if they could develop a better way manage display content, audience communications, and reduce costs with digital signage.

Currently, ACUHO-I is experimenting with a proof-of-concept solution to test feasibility and viability. The grant will enable further research and contract development to create an open source application for digital signage that could benefit the entire association industry.

BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA)

BBB Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA) believes in the value of organizations joining forces to innovate, achieve broader and more rapid results, exercise leadership, and build longer-term support for their causes. Their project is designed to help encourage such collaboration. BBB WGA aims to help charities identify opportunities that accrue from loosely configured arrangements with trustworthy organizations and that focus on ideas that start at the edges rather than at the core of their work. It is here where organizations can freely innovate.

BBB WGA has already begun with the soft launch of Advancing Collaboration, a suite of online tools. The project team intends to use their grant to build on this start with additional collateral and stories of success, as well as the creation of a search function that will enable charities to easily find the content they are looking for and search for potential collaborators.

International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE)

A team from the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) is using their grant to explore the use of augmented reality (AR) at meetings. The IAFE conducted research to begin the process and will now move onto the filmmaking, technology development, and promotion that will bring AR to their meetings.

The IAFE’s plan is to create three ”scenes” for meeting attendees to explore through AR: dairy cow milking, corn harvesting through a combine, and managing a ranch on horseback. Each of these “scene” stations will be placed in the respective area at the IAFE’s member fairs. Attendees will be able to use their smartphones to watch a simulated video that engages their senses while providing greater understanding of the processes described in the scene.

National Association of School Nurses (NASN)

Leaders at the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) saw that their state affiliates were increasingly led by a committed but small group of members. NASN needs to reach all school nurses to facilitate the use of best standards of practice, as outlined by their recently developed Framework for 21st Century School Nursing Practice.TM NASN would like to use the same principles to develop a guiding framework that that outlines how to transform affiliates into 21st century organizations—organizations that reach out to current and potential members in new ways, promote member-centric engagement, create a pipeline of new leaders, and advance modem school nursing practices to keep students healthy.

During the grant year, NASN’s project team will develop a guiding framework and provide targeted professional development for two local leaders in each affiliate and use incentives and contests to encourage participation.) This project will address common association challenges, including the need for new and developed leadership and creative membership recruitment and retention strategies. Furthermore, they expect the project to break down affiliate silos by providing a platform for discussion and networking that will foster a culture of sharing ideas and offering support.

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