Award Categories


Will be awarded to a company that has launched a product, service, or operational efficiency that was “co-created” or developed with one or more strategic partners.

Open Innovation

Will be awarded to a company that has launched a product, service, or operational efficiency that was developed through an Open Innovation program with a large group of external stakeholders.

Internal Crowdsourcing

Will be awarded to a company that has launched a product, service, or operational efficiency that was developed by internal crowdsourcing of employee ideas.

Innovation Lab

Will be awarded to a company that has launched a product, service, or operational efficiency that was created in an innovation lab, or a centralized innovation program or “skunkworks.”

Work with a Startup

Will be awarded to a company that has launched a product, service, or operational efficiency that was developed through a pilot or other relationship with a startup, either through an incubator, accelerator, or other startup-engagement program.

Ecosystem Development

Will be awarded to a company that can demonstrate their impact on a regional ecosystem through programs with municipalities, universities, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and/or other organizations or institutions.

Culture and Employee Engagement

Will be awarded to a company that has demonstrated a significant and material impact on internal culture and engagement.


Will be awarded to a company that can demonstrate the impact of their innovation program on other aspects of the business, including recruiting, brand, or other strategic objectives.

Award Categories & Descriptions

Best Outcome: Co-Creation

Will be awarded to a company that has launched a product, service, or operational efficiency that was “co-created” or developed with one or more strategic partners. [Please note that is different than “Open Innovation,” which typically involves a published challenge or a “call to action” to a large group of external stakeholders; please see our separate Open Innovation entry form].

Groceries by MastercardExamples:
An example of a Co-Creation initiative would be MasterCard Lab’s work with Samsung and FreshDirect to co-develop “Groceries by MasterCard,” which integrates shopping options directly into Samsung’s Family Hub refrigerator (at right). The innovation preempted a move by Amazon to integrate its “Dash” buttons into home appliances, and was first-to-market in the new frontier of smart connected home appliances.

Submission Tip:
When describing the Co-Creation initiative that you are nominating, please provide details on the outcome. Why and how was it successful? The more detail you can provide — including growth or revenue metrics — the better. Remember, this is about “outcomes.” So what was the result of your Co-Creation initiative?

Timelines and Deadlines

  • March 1, 2019: Submissions open for 2019 awards cycle
  • June 21, 2019: Deadline for all submissions
  • October 22-24, 2019: Winners honored at Impact 2019
  • March 2, 2020: Submissions open for 2020 awards cycle

Eligibility Criteria

Entries are valid for work undertaken between January 1, 2016 and June 21, 2019. Because many innovation projects take several years to create meaningful impact, we’ve allowed for an extended eligibility period to capture initiatives for which you may have measurable impact data or metrics. Entries will be accepted from companies that have more than 1,000 employees AND generate at least $100 million in annual revenue. Companies from all industries and locations are encouraged to apply.


Innovation Leader, a fast-growing publishing and events company, created the Impact Awards to honor companies that have achieved extraordinary outcomes related to their R&D, HR, new product development, and other innovation-related initiatives.

Impact Awards 2018 Winners

Winner: AMN Healthcare
: Digital Workforce Initiative
Launched: 2017

The medical staffing company AMN Healthcare relied on human-centered design, design thinking, ethnographic studies, and a startup partnership to develop a solution that is “similar to Lyft, but for healthcare.” It enables nurses and other medical professionals to use a mobile app to get alerts about available shifts; easily accept or reject them; look for shifts based on location; or rate their experience working at a particular facility, and be rated by their manager. Within a year of the app’s launch in Los Angeles, there was a 30 percent increase in shifts worked in that market and a 30 percent increase in revenue. AMN is planning a national rollout of the app.


Winner: DBS Bank
Initiative: Transformation to a 26,000-person Startup
Launched: 2015

The transformation strategy at Singapore-based DBS bank has three pillars: becoming digital to the core, embedding themselves in the “customer journey,” and functioning as a startup. And the bank chose to benchmark its progress against companies like Google, Apple, and Netflix. Outcomes of the transformation effort include digibank, a mobile-only bank in India and Indonesia; using the social networking app WeChat to onboard DBS customers to online banking; and a mobile wallet app, PayLah!, that has attracted 785,000 users.


Winners: Cisco
: Innovate Everywhere Challenge
Launched: 2015

The challenge invites employees to share “ideas that are game-changing, incredibly disruptive, and scalable for huge impact,” according to the award submission. It focuses on major problems or opportunities facing Cisco. Winning teams get $25,000 in seed funding, $25,000 as recognition, and the option to join a three-month innovation rotation program to further develop their venture. The challenge has led to more than 10 patents in progress, and four ventures adopted by the business. One venture, Project LifeChanger, leverages Cisco’s digital collaboration tools to enable people with disabilities to work remotely for the company.

Winner: Citi Ventures
Initiative: D10X 
Launched: 2017

Citi calls D10X an “internal growth model” focused on providing Citi employees with the opportunity to test new ideas that have the potential to be at least ten times better at addressing customer pain points. Employees with a new idea are coached through a validation process overseen by Citi Ventures and supported by Citi’s global innovation labs. The effort includes more than 300 “employee founders” actively working on almost 100 startup ideas. In 2017, the first two solutions that came through the program were launched: one a payment processing and reconciliation solution called CitiConnect for Blockchain, and the other an improved digital proxy voting process for shareholders.

Winner: Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS
 QuickFire Challenges
Launched: 2015

QuickFire Challenges address a wide range of topics, from “the labcoat of the future” to digital beauty innovations to the next-gen supply chain. Some are run in partnership with government agencies or other companies. They seek to “unleash the competitive spirit of the innovation ecosystem to create healthcare solutions in unconventional ways,” according to the company's award submission, attracting applicants from the startup and academic worlds. Since January 2015, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS has run 26 QuickFire Challenges, supporting innovators with more than $5 million in cash grants, mentorship opportunities, and office space at one of 10 Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS locations around the world. QuickFire Challenges have attracted more than 2,000 applications across 50 countries, making it one of the healthcare industry’s largest crowdsourcing efforts to date.

Winner: Medtronic
 Empower Health
Launched: 2016

Two innovation groups at Medtronic, the Healthcare Innovation Team and Medtronic Labs, partnered to help patients in emerging countries better control hypertension. The Empower Health model that they developed relies on mobile devices, automated blood pressure machines, and new software to allow doctors to create a customized hypertension management plan. Using the mobile app, doctors can track how the patient is doing, provide feedback via SMS message, and write digital prescriptions. A clinical trial with 150 patients in Ghana delivered decreases in blood pressure, and 95 percent of subjects in the trial indicated a desire to continue using the program in the future.

Winner: Revera, Inc.
Initiative: Employee Innovation Challenge
Launched: 2016

Revera owns or operates more than 500 senior living facilities in the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The initial challenge focused on improving the resident experience at the company’s long-term care sites; Revera committed to piloting three of the best ideas, but received five that were worthy of piloting. One idea: motion-activated LED lighting that illuminated a clear path from bed to bathroom at night. On each idea, Revera gathered survey data about both resident and staff satisfaction.


Winner: USAA
Initiative: Hurricane Harvey Aerial Imagery Tool
Launched: 2017

Many insurance companies use aerial imagery to help expedite the claims settlement process, but USAA may be the first to share its data with the public. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm that hit Texas in August 2017, USAA Labs worked with USAA’s property & casualty innovation group to see if there was a way to present aerial imagery to members so they could see damage to their homes — even if they had evacuated to another city or state. The USAA Labs team created a minimum viable product in just 12 hours, and a second MVP 16 hours after the initial tool launched. “We had an increase of over 10,000 visits to after the release of the application,” the award submission says. The tool was also used for both Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the fall of 2017.