The 2012 Boston Innovation Incubator Competition

Request for Proposals

Boston Leaders for the Future of Education’s (BLFE) Boston Innovation Incubator Competition is designed to spark new connections and help entrepreneurial educators in and around Boston transform innovative ideas into actionable proposals. In this competition, teams or individuals are invited to submit brief, actionable proposals for educational innovations, and will be awarded access to a network of entrepreneurial educators, and to key gatekeepers of public education policy and leadership. Proposals should suggest an idea that would advance public education, which could be a policy recommendation, a new collaboration, a change in district or state practice, or any other innovation that could make a substantial and positive impact on public education. The finalists will pitch their proposal to key policy- and decision-makers and prospective funders.  Proposal reviewers include:

  • Paul Reville, MA Secretary of Education
  • Dr. Carol R. Johnson, Superintendent, Boston Public Schools
  • Richard Stutman, President, Boston Teachers Union
  • Alice Peisch, MA State Representative & Joint Commission on Education Co-Chair
  • Carlos Henriquez, MA State Representative & Joint Commission on Education Member
  • Tito Jackson, Boston City Councilor & Education Committee Vice-Chair
  • Janet Anderson, Senior Vice President, EdVestors
  • Student Representatives, Boston Student Advisory Council
  • Dishon Mills, Director of the Boston ArtScience Prize, Cloud Foundation

Proposals of 5 pages or less (double-spaced, 12 font) are due by June 4, 2012 at 11:59pm via email to

Proposals should include the following

1) Statement of Need

Rather than something like “the achievement gap,” the statement of need should diagnose a specific root cause, inefficiency, or problem that — if addressed — would lead to improvements in student learning and success. 

2) Proposed Innovation

Describe an innovative solution to a persistent challenge. The proposal should be grounded in the current (or reasonably foreseeable) political and economic conditions, and it should describe the necessary change (s) for actionable implementation. If the goal of the proposal is to win major new funding or legislative change, it should provide a realistic strategy to achieve this change. The proposed innovation should be broad enough to impact a number of children in Boston. The proposal should make a strong case that the proposed innovation is a new idea or a new way of applying an existing idea. This can include taking an existing innovation to scale, provided the proposal makes a strong case for how scaling up would be possible.

3) First Steps & Resources Required 

The proposal should clearly identify the first steps on the path to implementation. It should also identify what resources are necessary and explain how these could be accessed. Think broadly about resources—this does not have to be money. Resources could include partners, collaborations, in-kind contributions, etc. 

4) Impact 

Describe what would be different for children as a result of the proposal and how the impact would be measured. What are the measurable and/or observable results? What is the size and scope of the desired impact? 

Criteria for Selection

·       Feasibility: What is the likelihood that the proposal can be realistically implemented?

·       Innovation: After reading the proposal, how many people will be asking “Why didn't I                                   think of that?” 

·       Impact: If implemented, what is the size and scope of the impact on the children of                             Boston? 


Selection Process

BLFE’s Steering Committee will assemble an Expert Review Panel of leaders in education to choose the winning proposal. Through an online voting process, BLFE Members will select finalist proposals for review by the Expert Review Panel. The Expert Review Panel will review each of the finalists’ proposals and select the winner of the Innovation Incubator Competition. The winning proposal will also receive a cash prize.


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