Nominations open for IQ Awards

Innovation ranks as one of the hallmarks of the Boulder Valley economy. Along with entrepreneurship, innovation can be viewed as a defining characteristic of our region. Communities that espouse to be the “next Boulder” — see my column of July 5 — almost always reference innovation as central to who we are.

Identifying and reporting on innovative products and services is something that we do every day, either in the print edition of the Boulder County Business Report, or via our daily electronic newsletters or website.

But, once a year, we’re able to devote additional time and energy to highlight the top innovations of our region, with our IQ Awards, honoring the “Innovation Quotient” among Boulder Valley companies.

Through IQ, we seek out the brightest ideas, whether they derive from locally based companies or local divisions of national or global companies.

This year, we’re continuing with enhancements to the IQ Awards program itself — enhancements that we first unveiled last year. Our panel of expert judges will once again sift through dozens of nominations in multiple categories, but the actual selection of most winners will occur live, Aug. 20, at the IQ Awards event at the Boulder Theater.

Finalists will be preselected and will present brief “pitch slams” to the judges, in front of the audience. Judges will then deliberate and will announce the winners.

The audience once again will select, via text message, an overall Innovation of the Year. This format, which debuted in 2012, was a huge hit, and one we’re excited to continue.

As in the past, the IQ Awards includes the following criteria:

• IQ honors innovative ideas, not necessarily the company or person who came up with the innovation.

• The product or service doesn’t have to have made money, but it must show a potential for profitability and survival of the business.

• Priority should be give to ideas that are clever, unique and creative. Nominations will not be judged based on the “slickness” of marketing materials.

• Products or services should have already reached the market, or should be in beta testing or close to market arrival.

• Products or services should not have reached the market prior to Jan. 1, 2012.

• The product or service must have been developed by Boulder Valley companies, or local divisions of national or global companies must have been centrally involved in its development.

Categories will be finalized once all nominations have been received. Past categories have included bioscience, software, Internet/Web, mobile apps, nonprofits, green/sustainability, natural products, sports and outdoors, etc.

Anyone interested in submitting nominations for the 2013 IQ Awards can do so with this link to the IQ Awards page. Or you can mail your submissions to the Boulder County Business Report, 3180 Sterling Circle, Suite 201, Boulder, CO 80301. But you must act fast: Deadline for submissions is July 21.

Good luck!

Christopher Wood can be reached at 303-440-4950 or via email at cwood@bcbr.com.

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