To spur innovation, the Massachusetts Office of Information Technology (MassIT) is trying something a little different. On Aug. 21, MassIT announced the Government Innovation Competition, a $50,000 contest launched in collaboration with startup accelerator MassChallenge designed to get startups working on government problems.

Running from Aug. 21 to winner announcement on Oct. 29, 128 startups will develop ways to improve delivery of service to citizens or facilitate greater internal efficiencies inside government. This year, MassChallenge received about 1,650 applications from 40 states and 50 countries. And this challenge is different, according to a MassIT spokesperson, because it’s not focused on data, but on encouraging existing startups to think about government.

“Massachusetts is renowned as a hub for technology and innovation,” said Massachusetts CIO Bill Oates. “MassChallenge’s support of high-impact, early-stage entrepreneurs has helped enhance that reputation. By working together, MassIT and MassChallenge can accelerate the commonwealth’s use of technology solutions and harness the wealth of expertise available to us.”

Startups will have until Aug. 27 to apply for the competition, and the winner will receive $50,000 and a chance to see their idea piloted by the state.

Colin Wood Colin Wood  |  Staff Writer

Colin has been writing for Government Technology since 2010. He lives in Seattle with his wife and their dog. He can be reached at cwood@govtech.com and on Google+.