When I hear the word “quest,” I think of a knight setting out on a long journey for a difficult prize, like the Holy Grail, which may never be found. Hopefully the Quest For Canada’s Smartest IT will be a little bit easier.
Launched earlier this year in partnership with Info-Tech Research, the Quest is a contest that, much like our Blogging Idol competition, will rely on user-generated content from technology professionals, but oriented around their success stories and related to specific areas of IT. This includes business intelligence, virtualization, managed risk and green IT – in other words, the things that seem to preoccupy most of our audience.
Some backgrounder from the Web site:
In May of 2010 Info-Tech Research Group and the Quest for Canada’s Smartest IT’s sponsors will review applications from companies who have nominated themselves or been nominated to select those that qualify as the Smartest IT and/or Greenest IT. The criteria for selection will be based on the stories shared about how they have sustained innovation, provided solutions allowing for their organization to operate smarter or greener, and the ‘Wow’ factor that sets their use of IT apart from the competition. A select group of finalists will be chosen and an independent panel will meet with them to select The Smartest and Greenest IT winners.
The Quest will culminate at an event highlighting the stories we’ve collected from across Canada, highlight best practices, new ideas, and IT led innovation.
As one of Canada’s major market research firms focused on technology, Info-Tech is supporting the Quest with a number of additional resources: Webinars, assessment tools and video tutorials. I encourage our IT department readers to browse through these to help educate and inspire your teams. We’ll profile the winners, naturally, bringing some much-needed recognition to those who work behind the scenes at Canadian companies.
“Quest” is, in fact, a much better word for this contest than “search,” and precisely because of the challenges it implies. Innovating in a traditional firm is hard. Thinking beyond the difficult day-to-day realities of budget cuts and business demands is even harder. The Quest For Canada’s Smartest IT is really about putting the spotlight on your quests – the obstacles that have been overcome, and what you learned along the way.
As with ComputerWorld Canada’s IT Leadership Awards, which focus more on the individual characteristics of those who innovate around technology, the Quest is a vehicle for sharing best practices by celebrating achievement. There are plenty of examples of technology projects gone awry out there. Let’s start collecting the more valuable examples of technology done right.