For the past four years, the IT Certification Council has awarded the Innovation Award for new and innovative ideas in IT certification. Often it is very difficult to evaluate and assign a ranking to the contributors.
This year was no exception. Choosing a winner among the top three finalists — even more difficult. How do we do it? Let’s first start with the criteria. Any organization with a focus on IT certifications can participate whether you are an IT company or a vendor. They do not need to be a member of the ITCC for submission of an innovation. In fact, this year the award nearly went to a non-member company.
We start with the written submission. All submissions will be distributed to the judging panel for the first phase of judging. The judging panel is comprised of experienced professionals working in the IT certifications industry. Judges score the applications based on the how well the written submission addresses each of the Judging Criteria Questions. The scores from each judge are totaled to get the submission scores. The top finalists will be selected for the presentation and interview phase of judging.
The scoring for the written submissions are done through a weighted-factor scoring method that once completed yields a total number for each submission. That allows us to select the top three as finalists without prejudice. The criteria is as follows:
- How strategic was the genesis of the innovation?
Does it address a known weakness or threat, expand on a strength or opportunity, expand market share, develop a new product, service a new client base, etc.
- What was the level of innovation?
Was it to improve an existing process/product/service or create a new process/product/service, was it an application of existing technology in the market or new technology, was it a high risk exploration or a low risk exploration.
- What values or benefit did it create for one or more stakeholders?
How did your innovation bring value to those who hold some influence over the certifications you build? How does it benefit them while still being a benefit to the individual certified professional?
- How well do the measurable results demonstrate an impact of the innovation?
Provide hard data. Show how numbers of certified professionals improved due to your innovation, or how much time or effort was saved. Be as specific with numbers as possible.
- How valuable were the lessons learned for the industry?
Versus for the organization or the individuals involved.
Each finalist will be asked to give a 15-minute presentation explaining the innovation. Emphasis is placed on clearly defining the innovation, the reason the innovation was developed, the benefits to the different stakeholders, the measurable results, and the lessons learned. Following the presentation, the judges are given 15 minutes to ask questions of the innovation representative.
The judges discuss their evaluation of each of the finalists and then come to consensus on the winning submission. We then notify the winner and announce at our Spring face-to-face meeting.
In addition to receiving an award and recognition for their innovation, award recipients receive a digital badge they can share to highlight their accomplishment.
Contributing author: Jim Lucari, Vice Chair, IT Certification Council