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2017 SECNAV Innovation Awards Image 

Across the Department of the Navy (DON) our talented Sailors, Marines and Civilians are continually creating innovative solutions to our most complex problems. The Annual SECNAV Innovation Awards Program acknowledges top Naval Innovators in our workforce today and inspires the problem solvers of the future. The awards program recognizes top DON individuals or teams making significant problem solving contributions in 2017 in the following areas:

  • Innovation Leadership: Recognizes top naval leaders who inspire innovation within their organization or team. This can be done by creating an environment that fosters innovation, removes unnecessary barriers, empowers others, embraces appropriate risk, and demonstrates a commitment to innovation.
  • Innovation Catalyst: Identifies the accomplishments of an individual or team who has made a significant impact to an organization by inspiring others to innovate or by directly supporting the innovative work of others. This can be done by compelling others to collaborate in creative ways that are feasible and impactful.
  • Data Analytics: Recognizes data savvy workforce members who implemented new approaches to analyzing data. Emphasis should be placed on how the new approaches are being used to improve performance, support decision making, provide meaningful insight to existing processes, or change how the DON is conducting business.
  • Technology Development: Highlights DON achievements in the creation of new or improved hardware, software, or tool(s) that improved the effectiveness or overall mission readiness of the organization (Including, but not limited to: Additive Manufacturing, Robotics, Human-Machine Teaming, Wearables, Virtual Reality, Unmanned Systems, Advanced Machine Learning, Artificial Neural Networking, and Renewable Energy).
  • Automated Process Development: Identifies members of the DON workforce who implemented new approaches to processes or procedures through the use of automation or artificial intelligence that significantly advanced mission accomplishment. (Potentially including processes developed in support of new technology adoption; e.g. implementation of Commercial Off-The-Shelf products.)
  • Innovation Scholar (PME): Recognizes academic research and writing by Sailors, Marines and Civilians enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate, or professional military education (PME) programs. Submitters should nominate top academic papers focused on the future operating environment and emerging operational concepts and capabilities, with an emphasis on their integration into the DON. Academic papers must be submitted with the nomination, as writing and analytical quality will be considered.
  • Innovation Scholar (MIDN): ​Distinguishes academic achievements by future naval officers currently in commissioning programs (e.g., USNA and NROTC Midshipmen). Submitters should nominate top academic papers focused on the future operating environment and emerging operational concepts and capabilities, with an emphasis on their integration into the DON. Academic papers must be submitted with the nomination, as writing and analytical quality will be considered.
  • Enlisted Innovator: Identifies the top ideas of our enlisted Sailors or Marines. It is widely known that those closest to the problems often have the best solutions. (This award category is submitted, verified and judged by enlisted Sailors and Marines for enlisted Sailors and Marines.)
  • Outside of the Box: Recognizes innovative contributions that are cross cutting or that do not neatly align to any of the previously mentioned award categories.

The eligibility period is from 1 January to 31 December 2017. All DON Commands and Organizations should nominate exceptionally worthy innovators for the 2017 Annual SECNAV Innovation awards by submitting a SECNAV Innovation Awards Program Nomination Form (SECNAV 5305/3) via email to The deadline for submissions is 31 January 2018. Winners will be announced in Second Quarter CY2018.

Trophy Design Contest: In support of the Innovation Awards above, the trophy design contest allows creative Sailors, Marines, and DON Civilians the ability to showcase their talents to recognize the Innovation Award Winners. The contest is open to all Sailors, Marines and DON Civilians; as individuals or as teams of no more than two (2) people. Designs will be evaluated on aesthetic appeal, manufacturing cost(s), and feasibility. Details can be found below. The deadline for submissions is 31 January 2018.

The Office of Strategy and Innovation is the responsible organization for this program and will provide further guidance as it becomes available. Questions may be submitted to


Trophy Design Contest Details

Design Requirements

  • In keeping with the spirit of the awards program, trophies should be created using cutting edge technology and appropriately reflect an award coming from the executive level of a large organization.
  • Entries must be original designs and should not mirror or incorporate any protected marks not owned by the Department of the Navy (e.g., don’t copy another trophy design, use a company logo, or incorporate a college mascot).
  • Entries must be designed such that the total cost of each trophy does not exceed 100 USD, including all material and labor costs.
  • If the design utilizes symbology, ensure that both services are represented (U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps).
  • Trophy design must include the title “2017 Annual Secretary of the Navy Innovation Awards”.
  • Trophy design must designate a space to list the award category.

Submission Requirements

  • Use a SECNAV Innovation Awards Program Nomination Form (SECNAV 5305/3) to submit your design.
    • Leave Award Category blank.
    • Part I, omit fields F-H.
    • Part II, omit.
    • Part III, omit.
  • Aesthetic Appeal. Send 3D renderings/images of the final design from multiple angles in order for the Awards Committee to be able to better visualize the designs and make recommendations to the SECNAV.
    • Provide a description of any symbology in Field A (i.e., the colors used are from the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps branding guides; the rope represents the ships’ rigging, used for many years; etc.).
  • Manufacturing Cost(s). Price quotes for each component should be included to validate the cost requirement, but ensure that you do not obligate the DON to any procurement.
    • Describe or list suggested colors, materials, and processes to be used for each part/component. Examples are below.
      • Acrylic: Gray 1/4” Thick 2064 Transparent Laser Cut Polygon Shapes 6"W x 8"T with Etching per Design.
      • 3D Printing: BronzeFill (FDM) 100 micron layers, 20% density.
      • Accessories: 2” diameter DON emblem with adhesive backing.
    • Include printable files (.stl, .obj, etc…), diagrams of shapes and measurements for every component.
    • Ensure that your price quotes are based upon the specific dimensions, colors, materials, and processes that you recommend.
  • Feasibility. For 3D printed component(s), ensure that you verify the design printability by process (FDM, SLA, SLS, etc…). If you are not sure how to perform this check, contact


  • The first place designer(s) will receive a copy of their award and recognition as the trophy designer(s).
  • Example submission package can be found here
  • Branding Guide for U.S. Navy can be found here
  • Branding Guide for U.S. Marine Corps can be found here
  • Design(s) may be modified by the Awards Committee


Innovation Awards FAQs

  1. What are the references for these awards?

  1. Where can I download the SECNAV Innovation Awards Program Nomination Form (SECNAV 5305/3)?

  1. Who may be nominated?
  • All of the categories are open to Officers, Enlisted and DON Civilian personnel, with the exception of the Enlisted Innovator and the Innovation Scholar (MIDN) categories.
  • All categories are open to individual or team nominations.
  • Contractor(s) may be nominated as a member(s) of a team. They, however, will only be recognized in accordance with associated laws, regulations, and policy.
  • Individual nominations for contractors will not be accepted.

  1. How do I write Sections II & III without using the individual names?
  • For a team award, simply use the team name. If needed to highlight an individual’s actions, use their position within the team (i.e., the “team leader…”, “software engineer…”, “Lead Petty Officer…”, “Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge…”, etc.).
  • For an individual award, you can use the term “the nominee...”

  1. What if I cannot get the digital signatures on the form to work?
  • If you are having issue with the digital signature, send us an email at with subject "SECNAV Innovation Awards - Digital Signature Issue"

  1. Do you have examples of completed forms?

  1. The instructions on page 5 say to "Spell out all acronyms in Part II, as Parts I and III will not be evaluated by the Awards Committee." Does this mean that we cannot use any acronyms on the nomination form?
  • You can use acronyms, but they must be spelled out the first time when used in each nomination part (Part I: Administrative Information, Part II: Innovation Merit and Operational Impact, and Part III: Executive Summary). Each of the 3 nomination parts are viewed independently, thus all acronyms must be spelled out the first time when used in each part.


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