Innovative Practices in Service Systems Award

The Innovative Practices in Service Systems Award is sponsored by IISE in partnership with the Service Enterprise Engineering program in the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Pennsylvania State University.

This award recognizes projects that improve the performance of service systems using Industrial and Systems Engineering tools and techniques in an innovative way. We welcome submissions of service systems improvement projects from individuals, teams and organizations working in industry, academia, non-profit organizations, or government agencies from across the world. Examples of past award recipients can be found on the IISE website.

The award will be given to the top three teams and be presented at the IISE Annual Conference & Expo May 31-June 3, 2025 at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel & Convention Center Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta, Georgia. Finalists will receive a complimentary conference registration and a $500 travel stipend for up to two members to represent the team at the conference.

Finalists are required to provide follow-up webinars sponsored by the Council on Industrial and Systems Engineering (CISE) for members and customers of IISE for supporting world-wide dissemination of such innovations across the ISE profession.


The individual/team must demonstrate innovative use of ISE principles, tools and techniques that link to measurable positive and sustainable outcomes for industries within the service sector.

  • Any individual or team is encouraged to apply.
  • There is no limit on the number of submissions from an organization.
  • Submissions related to an existing service system should show the measurable improvements of the innovation in real-world including future anticipated benefits.
  • Submissions related to service systems research should show methodological innovation along with potential applications to real-world


Nominees will be judged by their accomplishments in the following areas:

  1. Innovative application of ISE techniques to engineer a new or existing service system.
  2. Measurable benefits of the innovation in terms of process improvements that are relevant to the specific service system.
  3. Business or societal impact as substantiated by organizational leadership and other stakeholders.
  4. Clarity in communicating the innovation and results.

Submission process

Applicants must submit a power point presentation that clearly communicates their motivation, approach, reasoning, trials and successes that resulted in the innovation as well as an executive summary of the project. Requirements for this presentation are detailed in the submission form. Applicants may also include a support letters from a relevant stakeholder that highlights impact of the innovation.

Note: Members of the IISE Board of Trustees, the Honors Steering Committee, those involved in processing, such as the Director of Honors, or any headquarters staff member may not be used as a nominator or reference. A complete submission includes:

  • A completed submission form (download form)
  • An executive summary of the project (format attached)
  • All relevant supporting materials
  • List of team members
  • Support letter (suggested but not required)

Submission Deadline: March 31, 2025

Submittal - Executive Summary

In order to publicize a summary of your project, we ask that you submit a 250 word executive summary using the following outline:

Background of problem/situation/need

  • Why the project was initiated

Solution Developed

  • Explain Innovative application of ISE to engineer a new or existing service system
  • Explain how this solution advances the application of ISE in a service system that represents a new best-in-class



    •  Explain measurable benefits of the innovation in terms of process improvements that are relevant to the specific service system
    • Explain the operational impact as substantiated by organizational leadership and other stakeholders showing any prior metrics, current and any future anticipated benefits if applicable (as expansion of the project occurs)

Please also provide a picture of your team, and a picture symbolic of the project that can be used for publicity purposes. This could be a logo from your organization, or a chart/graphic supporting your project, or a photo of clients in the service setting being impacted by your service system.


An IISE Honors and Awards Committee will review the applications and make the finalists determination. This subcommittee is comprised of:

  • A member of the Society for Health Systems Board
  • A member of the Society for Engineering and Management Systems Board
  • A member of the Council on Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • A member of the Industry Advisory Board

2024 Winners

Shenle Pan

"Online Cognitive Digital Twins for Last Mile Delivery Services in Smart Cities"

2023 Winners

1st Place:
Pengyi Shi, Nicole Adams, Griffin Carter, Xiaquan Gao, Jason Huber, Nan Kong 
"Breaking the Cycle of Reincarceration: Community Corrections Placement with an MDP Approach"

2nd Place:
Peiling Wu-Smith, Peter Fenyes, Kelly Kamm, Philip Keenan, Don Kiggins, Philip Konkel, Andy Norton, Jonathan Owen, Bill Rosen, Kurt Schmitter, Kathryn Schumacher, Sharon Sheremet, Laura Yochim
"Vehicle Content Optimization at General Motors"

3rd Place:
Lavanya Marla, Akhil Gupta, Arinbjorn Kolbeinsson, Naman Shukla, Kartik Yellepeddi
"Deepair Improves Airline Ancillary Revenues with Personalized Pricing"

2022 Winners

1st Place:
Jakob Heins, Steffen Heider, Jan Schoenfelder, Axel Heller and Jens Brunner
University of Augsburg/Bavarian State Ministry
"A Scalable Forecasting Framework to Predict COVID-19 Hospital Bed Occupancy"

2nd Place:
Turgay Ayer, Can Zhang, Chelsea (Chip) White, Zeynep Ozkaynak, Kevin Lee and Mary Deck
Georgia Institute of Technology/American Red Cross
"American Red Cross Uses Analytics-based Methods to Improve Blood - Collection Operations"

3rd Place:
Robert Inman, Michael Harbaugh and Jonathan Owen
General Motors
"Increasing Automotive Dealership Service Retention"

2021 Winners

1st Place:
Saravanan Venkatachalam, Wayne State University
Suresh Acharya, University of Maryland
Kenji Oba, ANA Airways
"Prescriptive Analytics for Swapping Aircraft Assignments at All Nippon Airways"

2nd Place:
Caroline Kent, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto
Josh Smertz, The Poirier Group
"Innovative Value Stream Improvement to close BIG Performance Gaps with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto"

3rd Place:
Amit Upadhyay, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
"Improving Operations and Pricing of Container Trains in Indian Railways"

2020 Winners

David Reid
"From Lean Modules to Lean Mindset"

Aly Megahed and Mark Smith
IBM Corporation
"Analytics for IBM’s IT Services Tendering Processes"

Kathryn Zavaleta
Mayo Clinic
"Service Innovation, Opioid Stewardship & the Value of Systems Engineering"

Xiaolei Xie
Tsinghua University
"Continuous Improvement on Ophthalmology Outpatient Department Service"

2019 Winners

1st place:
Mohammad Shahabsafa, Anshul Sharma and Tamas Terlaky
Optamo LLC
"Optimized Population Management in Correctional Systems: Inmate Assignment, Program Scheduling and Transportation"

2nd place:
Charles Davis and Eric Swenson
Penn State Health
"Value Improvement in Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty - Improving Outcomes and Decreasing Costs"

3rd place:
Barbara Venegas Quintrileo
Penn State's SEE 360 Initiative
"ROARS - Real Time Optimization for Adaptive Removal of Snow"