They are unsung heroes. Fighters for the common good. Unconventional thinkers. But rarely do they receive the praise they deserve. We want to change this and celebrate them.

This is why, every year, Charles Landry and the team of the Creative Bureaucracy Festival identify three people in government who have made a difference and who have contributed to making the lives of citizens like you and us better. At each Creative Bureaucracy Festival, we honor these changemakers and innovators with the Creative Bureaucracy Award – a badge of honour for those striving to make good things happen in the public sector but who are overlooked far too often.

Award recipients 2020


We are awarding the Creative Bureaucracy Festival Award 2020 to Rudi Dicks, who is head of the project management office in the private office of the South African president Cyril Ramaphosa. He has shown extra-ordinary dexterity and negotiation skills in brokering solutions by bringing together the country’s multiple partners from the public administration, the business and civic worlds and community. He is a real enabler, a fixer and an unblocker, such as organizing the Jobs Summit that created the country’s employment programme, fast tracking the widening of South Africa’s broadband by a few years, simplifying the water license system that previously had blocked investment and job creation.

Lisa Witter & Robyn Scott

We are awarding the Creative Bureaucracy Festival Award 2020 to Robyn Scott and Lisa Witter who co-founded Apolitical in 2015. This astonishing organization has since created a network of 85,000 public servants from across the globe. Government is critical to solving global challenges and Apolitical seeks to bring 21st century learning and the best skills and solutions into it by helping public servants to connect and share knowledge and by being active in their global learning platform. This can give them a sense that they are part of a wider community of effective change makers working to solve the world’s hardest challenges in the common interest and for the public good.

Christian Drosten

The Creative Bureaucracy Festival Award 2020 is awarded to a highly decorated scientist in public service - but not for his scientific contributions like the development of the first Corona virus testing that deserve highest recognition and certainly represent outstanding creativity. The Berlin virologist and Charité professor Christian Drosten is honoured for his public service in the public. Unlike many academics who shy away from popular media, Christian Drosten explained in great detail and with uttermost patience the details of research on the corona virus. He openly confessed what is still unsolved despite all academic effort and had the boldness to correct his positions in public, when new evidence surfaced. Christian Drosten contributed to a well informed public and trust in public institutions in challenging times.

Award recipients 2019

Amalia Zepou

As a former Deputy Mayor for Civil Society and Innovation in Athens, she built the synAthina platform, which systematically mobilises citizens to participate in public problem-solving processes, initiating a "new era of social innovation," according to the OECD.

Geoff Mulgan

As a former government advisor and then Chief Executive of NESTA in the UK, he helped initiate and drive forward numerous government innovation projects worldwide. He is considered a leading expert in social and public innovation.

Daniel Zimmermann

At the age of 27, he was elected mayor of the city of Monheim am Rhein in Southwestern Germany. Since he took office, he has become a role model for modern, citizen-centric, and pragmatic public management at the municipal level.

Award recipients 2018

Jutta Weitz

An employee of the housing administration in Berlin-Mitte, Weitz gave vacant commercial spaces around the Auguststrasse area to artists and cultural professionals. Thanks to her commitment and foresight, the neighbourhood has become the art district we know today.

Christian Bason

As director of MindLab, one of the first interministerial innovation labs worldwide, he advised the Danish government on the reform and renewal of the public administration - and has become a thought leader on helping governments better meet the need of their citizens.

Gabriella Gómez-Mont

As head of the Laboratorio para la Ciudad innovation lab in Mexico City, she initiated projects such as “City for Children” in difficult neighbourhoods or crowd sourced a Mexico City constitution. Her experience as artist, documentary filmmaker and journalist helped her work.