Judging Process

A panel of judges from the Aspen Institute, its partners and supporters, and Booz Allen Hamilton will select five finalists from each of the three Festival sections. The finalists will pitch their ideas to a live panel of judges at the Festival, vying for a chance to win a prize of up to $25,000 to put their idea into action. Winners will be invited to next year’s Aspen Ideas Festival to share their progress with a live audience.   

Judges will use the following criteria when evaluating each submission, rating each question on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high):

  • Quality of Application. The project was clearly presented, well organized, and thoroughly explained in a succinct and concise manner.
  • Innovation. The project tackles the problem in a new or unexpected way.
  • Feasibility. The project is feasible to execute.
  • Degree of Need. The project addresses a problem deeply-seated in the community.
  • Potential Benefits. The project’s execution has a concrete and beneficial impact.
  • Sustained Impact. The project’s execution will have lasting effects on the community over time.
  • Replication Factor. The project’s solution could be duplicated in other communities facing similar challenges.
  • Aspen Ideas Award Effect. $25,000 would significantly impact the ability to execute the project.
  • Endorsements (Votes). Judges will take into account the number of votes and comments given by others for each entry.  

Finalists will be announced by June 8.