How often will we host “challenges”?

Once a year. Please see our Calendar page for more information on our upcoming challenges.

Who can participate?

Any full-time state executive branch employees, below the level of a division director or deputy, is eligible to compete.

What are the requirements for participating?

All participating teams that wish to be considered must meet the following criteria:

  • A team of 3-8 members
  • A pitch template with all fields completed
  • Pitch is submitted through the website by the deadline
I have a good idea, but I don’t have a team. Can I submit my idea without a team?

No. We want to promote grassroots collaboration (both within and between departments) while still keeping projects manageable.

We will only consider applications from teams of 3-8 members.

What are the criteria for judging pitches?

A good pitch is one that clearly identifies a problem, offers a compelling solution, and provides evidence to support the return-on-investment for their solution.

Pitches need to demonstrate a reasonable prospect of delivering at least initial impact within a six-month period. Such impact may scale up through time. Impact is defined by:

  • Improvements to citizen experience;
  • Cutting unnecessary bureaucratic burden or obstacles that make work frustrating; and/or
  • Saving resources (e.g., time and money)

Pitches that encourage cross-division or cross-department collaboration are not required but will be given special consideration. 

I submitted an idea for a previous cycle. Can I submit the same pitch again?

It depends.

If your pitch was not selected as a finalist pitch, you are allowed to submit the same pitch again. We recommend that you revisit our detailed guide on how to pitch an idea for advice on how to strengthen your pitch.

If your pitch was selected as a finalist pitch, you cannot submit the same pitch again in a new cycle. However, we encourage these individuals to participate with new pitches.

Does my pitch need to be approved by my supervisor or department leadership?

No. The Show Me Challenge is about hearing your ideas. You are not expected to get approval from anyone in your organization before submitting your pitch. However, we encourage you to get advice from leaders in your organization.

When will I have time to work on my pitch?

You are responsible for finding time to work on your pitches. If your team plans to meet during working hours, we suggest that you coordinate with your immediate supervisors. 

Are we expected to complete our projects before the competition?

No. You are not expected to start or complete your projects during the course of the competition.

You should also not submit pitches for projects you have already completed.

You are, however, expected to demonstrate in your pitch that your projects can be completed in a six-month time frame.

What happens after I submit my pitch?

A cross-department committee of senior leaders will read every pitch and grade them based on how well they meet the criteria laid out above.

The selection committee will then identify the finalist teams.

Finalist teams will be notified and assigned a mentor to help them develop their pitches.

All finalist teams will submit revised pitches and give oral presentations in a final “Shark Tank”-style competition.

A panel of judges will select the top five winning teams.

If you have any additional questions, please contact us at

Can a non-state employee participate as a member of a team?

Teams are encouraged to collaborate across agencies and consult subject matter experts regarding their ideas to ensure root cause is clearly understood and practicality of the solution is determined. We understand our state team members work regularly alongside colleagues who may be employed through a contractor, partner agency, or other governmental entity. If the Show Me Challenge project team decides to include a member(s) who is NOT a state of Missouri employee and is NOT paid through the state of Missouri’s SAMII accounting system, that team member will not be eligible to receive any cash prize if the project idea should place in the final competition and receive an awarded amount.

What if a project team member changes employment while on a project?

Teams are allowed to modify their team members throughout the course of their project and the competition. If a team member transfers to a different agency or obtains employment outside of state government, the team has the ability to replace or add additional team member(s) who are interested in supporting on the project. If a team member leaves state employment and the individual and team choose to keep the team member on the project, the former state employee team member will NOT be eligible to receive any cash prize if the project idea should place in the final competition and receive an awarded amount.