Achievement Awards

Recognition Competitions

Showcasing prior achievement is a longstanding tradition across a wide range of fields, but the times are changing.

The most recognized programs in the world recognize prior achievement. Whether it’s the Nobel Prize, the Academy Awards, or the Fields Medal, the tradition of awarding someone or something for outstanding accomplishment can capture the public imagination and shape how we perceive the future. These programs showcase excellence, but many fail to induce intended behaviors. A young writer who aspires to win the Pulitzer Prize has no roadmap, other than to strive for greatness, but as the zeitgeist shifts often so does the criteria. As a result, these programs frequently fail to establish clear or compelling standards and lack transparency that is necessary to activate an engaged audience. For sponsors who wants to align their cause or brand with such excellence, it’s a crowded marketplace. In fact, at Carrot we are approached regularly by clients who want to offer the “Nobel Prize of [insert cause],” only to discover that there are dozens of similar efforts underway. This leaves us with an important question, in a world where everyone gets to define excellence by their own standards, how can we use achievement awards to shape outcomes and to drive more specific behaviors?  

The history of achievement awards is a complicated story (learn more), but the notion of aligning the faces and names of outstanding achievers with your brand or cause remains a compelling concept. Today, we’ve noticed a shift away from typical indicators of excellence, such as giving more awards to recognized awardees, and many sponsors are embracing programs which seek to celebrate and to provide a platform for mid-career professionals. These programs provide sponsors with greater leverage, allowing them to continue supporting (and shaping) the accomplishments of their laureates. Some of these programs are known as fellowships, and they are increasingly encouraging best-in-class awardees to work together collaboratively, to seed cross-disciplinary research and development efforts. Today, the idea of giving a medal or trophy to a luminary in the twilight of his or her career is losing popularity, while investing in young and promising professionals opens a world of possibilities.

At Carrot, we have witnessed a coupling of achievement awards with other forms of prizes and challenge competitions. These initiatives start with recognizing best-in-class talent in one or more particular field(s), while using the award program to map the widest range of non-winning candidates and other promising professionals. This mapping process provides a unique platform, which allows the sponsor to harness pools of nominees or candidates with other tasks, but it only works when those tools are specific and/or have been tested for purpose. In a world where social networks are universally understood as a valuable asset, Achievement Awards are an effective device for convening and activating targeted audiences. As a result, we have developed specific methods that engage candidates during the election process, such as our proprietary Peer-to-Peer review module, and we’ve discovered that giving a voice to those working on the front lines of a cause or a discipline is both a reliable ranking process and an effective means for engaging with every candidate meaningfully. We have learned that we can accomplish more through Achievement Awards than most sponsors realize, and the movement is gaining momentum.  

Book a Demo today, to learn more about Achievement Awards.

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5 Unexpected Benefits of Running a Competition

Here's the simple truth: you have more important things to worry about than becoming a competition expert. Download this free PDF to learn five ways that we can help you save time and money.