Through the years, I have hosted or spoken at a number of innovation awards shows.
Last week, I keynoted another one – the 14th Annual KIRA Awards. They celebrate the knowledge, communication and information technology industry in the province of New Brunswick, Canada.
In a post about another innovation award presentation I was involved in, I commented on why innovation awards are so important: “… they celebrate the heroes who are still busy innovating, staying ahead, and positioning their organizations for the future – because they know that trends like these will provide for significant market and business opportunity in the future.”
The KIRA Awards were tremendously well done – I’ve done previous events in Nebraska, Chicago, and even a video taped presentation for the Deloitte South Africa “Best Company to Work For” awards …. but this was truly a remarkably professional production. And what I witnessed in the city of Fredericton that night was something that was truly magical. An entire community of business leaders, entrepreneurs, government officials (the Premier was there), educators and others who believe it is tremendously important to celebrate innovation in a big way.
You should think about doing this too.
If you are serious about innovation, you should set aside a big budget. Go for Hollywood production values. Invest in some real hardware. And celebrate the innovation heroes! Put them on a pedestal. Make them stand out. Make some noise! Show them off!
Why? Because this just might help to build your innovation culture faster than any other way. It’s a rocket fuel for innovation. It helps to frame the importance of focusing on the opportunities of the future through innovation, rather than bemoaning the challenges of the past and slipping further and further behind.
What is going on in the Province of New Brunswick is one of the most successful, motivated and innovative hi-tech communities I have ever seen. Anywhere. These folks would put some entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley to shame. And I think it is the spirit such as found in the KIRA Awards that helps this community to accomplish great things.
A few years ago, when I wrote a series of trend predictions for the year 2010, I wrote that this type of thinking would be very big going into the future. Here’s what I said:
- American-Idolatry : People love competition, they love winners, and they relish the battle! Everyone is learning that if they are to succeed in the future, they have to appeal to the new base of hero-worship that comes from our new awards driven society. Everywhere I go, I see companies who are far more willing to celebrate and elevate heroes. DHL holds an annual innovation day which includes an award ceremony with partners who have worked with them on innovative ideas. Deloitte South Africa hosts an annual “Best Company To Work For’ survey and combines into it an elaborate awards ceremony. The future of workplace and partner renumeration is all about the red-carpet, the spotlight, and the celebration of success!
So do this now. Walk down the hall to see your boss.
Ask for a budget of $100,000 to put on a big innovation awards show. Think big. DO BIG.
The future belongs to those who are fast.
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