Announcing the Open Leadership Awards

by Charlene Li

I’m pleased to announce the Open Leadership Awards, which will recognize the organizations and individuals who are using social technologies to open and transform their organizations.  Being open is hard, so this is a chance to highlight organizations and leaders who are successfully giving up control while still getting things done.

If your organization has changed the way you make decisions, share information or engage with your community and employees, this is your chance to tell us (and the world) about it. We’re looking for real-world examples of success, but we also want to know about the journey you and your organization took to get there – especially the obstacles and failures you had to overcome along the way.

Our hope: that you will learn and be inspired by examples of how others are approaching leadership and strategy with a new mindset — and with the help of social technologies.

To enter, submit your case study, which will then be posted publicly for comment and also voting. Vendors and agencies are welcome to submit client case studies as long as they have permission from their clients.

All final winners will be decided by Altimeter Group and announced at our upcoming event, “Rise of Social Commerce” on October 6, 2010 in Palo Alto, California. Awards will be given in ten categories – nine industries and one for small/medium-sized businesses.

Deadline for submissions is Friday, September 10, 2010 at 6 pm Pacific. The detailed rules are available on the awards site.

What are we looking for in a submission?

- Leadership. This isn’t just leadership as embodied in a person, but also leadership in your industry. If you’re carving a new path for your industry, tackling a tough problem like an engrained culture, we’ll sit up and take notice. If you’re highlighting the launch of a Facebook page, you won’t stand out. In the book, it’s described how Best Buy boldly invited all employees to help answer questions on its Twelpforce Twitter account. Few companies would do this, but we’re all inspired by the possibility that we could.

- Impact. Show that your openness and social initiatives mattered and made a difference. We’re not talking necessarily “ROI” but numbers are always appreciated. For example, Starbucks is making better and faster decisions because of its use of But more importantly, it changed the culture within Starbucks, where employees now bring their laptops into meetings so that they can easily and instantaneously access that site so that they can bring the voice of the customer right into that conference room.

- Failures. As I wrote above, being open and using social technologies are hard. So the best submissions will not only tell us about the great successes — they will also tell us openly and honestly how they got there. They will include what obstacles the company encountered — and how they overcame them.

If you have any questions, please send them to Good luck!