Innovation Awards Categories: Revamped

Posted by Gena Folts on Thu, Mar 10, 2011
StandOutIn the ongoing pursuit to make the Innovation Awards more about the future, this year you are going to see updated categories that will intrigue, excite and most importantly, fit you! This isn’t some stale Jr. High talent show where you have to fit the antiquated idea of what is great (not sure what the new-tech equivalent of a Mariah Carey lip sync is, but you won’t see any of whatever that is here!). You’re given the freedom to rise above the expected and the average, and to show your extraordinary creations. We’re thrilled to share these exciting new categories with you, and we’re chomping at the bit to see what you do with them!

Best "Doing Good" Innovation
Do you "do good"? This category acknowledges the innovative technologies that are directly or indirectly driving contributions to society.

Best Ad Decision Making Tool
Online advertising works, just check out Google’s most recent quarterly results.  But, managing a network of sites and their advertising inventory, appropriately targeting your ads to your audience, or negotiating a cost-effective mix of impressions can get vexing.  Fortunately, the innovative technologies in this category are helping to optimize, target, serve, or measure advertising and drive better decision-making.

Best Bootstrapped Start-Up
This category recognizes companies across the technological spectrum who haven’t yet received a round of institutional funding, yet have created and delivered a compelling product to market.  Our tagline at MITX is “What’s Next,” and the people and companies emerging from this category just may have the answer.

Best Business Operations Simplifier
Innovative technologies have sharply reduced the cost of and complexity for deploying and managing mission critical infrastructure and applications, making our work lives easier and more effective.  This category recognizes innovative technologies that fundamentally improve how organizations are addressing their most challenging internal tasks.

Best Commerce Game Changer
Collective buying, swapping, flash sales, personalized products and mobile commerce applications: these game changers have transformed, and continue to transform, the commerce world over the past several years.  This category rewards the products that are driving the furious innovation within the richly evolving commerce sector.

Best Consumer Tech that Makes Life Easier
Have you ever wondered what life would be like without your (insert favorite, can’t-do-without-it technology here)?  From personal productivity applications to team schedulers and health maintenance tools, this category recognizes innovations that help make our lives richer and easier as consumers.

Best Customer Engagement Driver
Evolving from their roots as traditional CRM, PPC, CMS, or Outbound Marketing tools, this category rewards technologies that are helping enterprises small and large drive their sales and marketing efforts and support their customers in ways that were not previously possible.

Best Mobile Solution
The Best Mobile Solution category rewards products in one of the most rapidly evolving sectors in the technology world, and one that our local community is helping to drive.

Best Use of Gamification
Gaming concepts are now utilized across a range of applications to drive commerce, enhance social stature, or convey knowledge. This category recognizes applications that have effectively integrated game mechanics and gaming elements into broader applications to improve user engagement and application effectiveness.

Best User Experience
Think of this as the “Steve Jobs was right” award.  Interface and usability design are critical to users as they embrace new technology products, whether on the desktop, tablet or handheld. Winners in this category will feature engaging, intuitive navigation that enhances the overall user experience and simplifies the use of the product.

Most Addictive Application
Some applications are incredibly addicting, whether through the joy they deliver to users, the connection they bring to a broader social network, or some nefarious trick of programming and design. This category is not restricted to a particular functional area; if you think you have a pretty new spreadsheet that takes up all of your time because it’s so cool, a Facebook killer or something that Zynga wishes they had developed, submit it for consideration.

Most Insightful: Analytics and Business Intelligence
Whether creating a PPC campaign, analyzing user behavior, stock price fluctuations, data anomalies or advertising effectiveness, companies gather incredible amounts of information. Tools in this category help to create actionable value for their users as a result of insightfully spotting trends, patterns, and unanticipated relationships.

So go on, start your application! The deadline is Friday, April 8th and you still have plenty of time to submit your labors of love. There is more information available on the website, so go check it out and if you have questions, don't be afraid to ask them below!