In a world that sometimes seems overpopulated with award ceremonies, one can be forgiven for wondering if there is a new market opportunity – a competition between Awards programs for the Best Award for Best Awards?
All great fun, but do competitions have any lasting value? They come in all shapes and sizes and some, like Oscars, Tony’s and BAFTA Awards, are important for future careers or products. Your family may be delighted that you are the celebrated recipient of the Best IT Leader Award, but are awards of any real value to the market in general? And why are some awards more prestigious and sought after than others?
To answer these questions we organized a competition. We asked a panel to come up with the best reasons for winning an award – and we gathered around the coffee machine to decide the winners. Actually we didn’t do this at all, but this illustrates an important point; the prestige is very much linked to the perceived rigour of the judging process.
It is easy to understand why marketing managers like the idea – it’s a relatively inexpensive way of getting their brand noticed and the voluntary contenders for some great prize do most of the work. But seriously these achievements can bring a huge boost to the winner’s status and the career development of their teams. Few would turn away from a richly deserved (and rigorously assessed) industry award.
Untangle the motivations, however, and you will find in some Awards programs remarkable depths of design; research exercises disguised as competition and outputs that form case studies that fuel business school studies. And some have huge value in correcting assumptions that distort opinion and feed hype.
An example is the focus that is now being placed on untangling the meaning and real benefits of Software Defined Networking (SDN).
We are proud that Colt has contributed to this awareness raising – with some recent Colt wins for our SDN platform and On-demand network portfolio. Most of all, we are proud for the recognition for the guys who did the work and who made the projects truly inspired and inspiring.
The decision to be entered for an award, or allow a nomination to go forward, is sometimes a matter for judgement. Will this be a huge diversion requiring vast effort and what are the costs? Just how important is it to be seen at the Awards Event and who will notice? Is the boardroom cabinet big enough for yet another trophy? And will adding this to your credentials make a real difference?
With all these questions come many doubts. But, providing you trust the sponsors, providing you want to encourage your project team, providing you believe in the brilliance of your outputs, providing you can celebrate your sector’s achievements (even if you come second), providing you want to share your success, then go for it – you might even win.