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Chicago Innovation Award

| On 24, Oct 2007

Praveen Gupta

Chicago is celebrating its first Innovation Week by holding variety of innovation activies. I had the opportunity to attend Chicago Innovation Award (CIA) celebrations. The Award was created six years ago by Dan Miller, Business Editor of Chicago Sun Times, and Tom Kuczmarski of Kuczmarski & Associates. According to the Chicago Innovation Award website www.chicagoinnovationaward.com, the goal of the award is to recognize, educate and inspire.


Attendance at the innovation award celebrations has grown from about 75 to over 750 in just six years. Number of companies nominated for Chicago Innovation Award has grown to about 250 in 2007. From these 250 companies, ten winners were announced this evening. The winners’ circle included Abbott Labs for fighting new mutant variations of HIV virus to Radio Flyer for reinventing the Little Red Wagon. The winners can be found on the website http://www.suntimes.com/business/innovation.     


I was impressed by attendance, i.e., about 750 people came to honor ten innovation award winners. Celebrations started with a reception which was also an excellent networking event. Here one could see who is who in Chicago’s innovation world. Innovation champions like David Pistrui, David Baker, and Dennis Roberson from IIT, Chicago, Laurel Ofstein from The Center for Creativity and Innovation, DePaul University, and Adam Hecktman, Joe Boggio, Mario Robello, and Shelley Stern from Microsoft to name a few were present.


Microsoft’s commitment to innovation was evident by visibility of its employees at the event. Bill Gates also spoke at the award ceremony via video message. Bill said that innovation creates growth and opportunity. The innovation award focuses on and promotes innovation.


According to Dan Miller and Tom Kuczmarski, the Chicago Innovation Award being celebrated in Goodman Theatre signifies bringing business and art together to realize three objectives:


1.      Elevate importance of innovation


2.      Inspire creativity and entrepreneurship


3.      Celebrate success!


Just as Chicago Innovation Award is critical in promoting innovation in the City of Chicago, the CEO Recognition is critical to a corporation for institutionalizing innovation. Recognition of success brings more success, and recognizing valuable innovation will inspire more business innovation.


Has your company established an innovaiton award? How does your corporate leadership focuses on and promotes innovation? Let us know.