Back in August, we launched the Open Leadership Awards to recognize people and organization that best demonstrate the principles of open leadership. We received submissions from a range of individuals and organizations, and are excited to announce the winners onstage today at Altimeter Group’s first conference, Rise of Social Commerce, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Palo Alto California.

While we saw many impressive case studies and intriguing use cases, the seven award winners best exemplify one of four key criteria needed to demonstrate open leadership: 1) Innovation & Execution, 2) Creating Impact, 3) Overcoming Barriers, and 4) Leadership.

Now, without further ado, the winners!

Innovation & Execution

Dell: A Company Built on Direct and Open Communications. Submitted by Dell.
Dell has been an active participant in social media but what continues to impress us is that they are committed to continually pushing the boundaries of social business by pushing engagement into all areas of their business practice. What started out as basic monitoring and reputation management has turned into a way of doing business that permeates through every department. This does not come easily or quickly and Dell is being recognized for their dogged determination to being “direct” with their customers in multiple ways.

Infor Promotes Open Communication With Its Employees, Partners and Customers“. Submitted by Infor.
Infor’s goal was to create more open and transparent communications with employees, customers, partners, and even prospects and competitors. To do this, they used a combination of Yammer, LinkedIn, and Twitter to engage these different audiences. But what really impressed us was their detailed implementation program, which included contests, parties, and incentives to engage people both at the grassroots level and also involve senior executives. It was the thoroughness of the thinking and excellence in implementation that brought Infor this award.

Creating Impact

AmericaSpeakingOut Helps Republicans Reach Its Consitituents“. Submitted by Microsoft.
Created by House Republicans in May 2010 to engage people in a virtual “town hall” type of discussion, the site drew hundreds of thousands of people, who submitted over 15,000 ideas, and voted over 1 million times for the ideas. The effort not only engaged an audience in a new way, but also is beginning to impact how House Republicans listen to people, and also information their legislative priorities and even the drafting of legislation.

Bringing Open Leadership to Government“. Submitted by City of Manor, Texas and Spigit.
The city of Manor, Texas has a population of 6,500 people and is blessed with city leaders keen to open up government. Last fall, the 24 year old CIO of the city, Dustin Haisler, set up manorlabs.org to gather ideas on how to improve city. Since then, over a third of the city’s population has participated, with over 80 ideas submitted. Five of those ideas have been implemented, including the suggestion to allow recurring payments for utility bills and an RSS feed for public work orders. For comparison purposes, typically only 10-15 people attended monthly city council meetings. To get people to engage, the city also created a virtual currency that could be redeemed for prizes like being mayor for the day or a ride-along with the police chief.

Overcoming Barriers

U by Kotex: A Breakthrough Launch Driven by Social Media“. Submitted by U by Kotex and Organic.

The Kotex brand team wanted to reinvent a brand for young women and create dialog around a taboo subject, vagina health. They had to overcome tremendous barriers around this subject and create a cultural shift with a key audience. This required a tremendous amount of preparation around guidelines, training sessions, and worst-case scenario planning, as well as putting in place collaboration tools to be able to quickly respond to sensitive comments. Crucial to the success of the program was trained Conversation Managers and Community Planners who were prepared to talk about and respond to questions and concerns.

TurboTax Live Community. Submitted by Intuit.
After a technical launch of the TurboTax support community in 2007, the company found that only half of the asked questions were being answered. Moreover, only 12% of Intuit employees had answered questions. It took Patsy Nations and her team to create a culture at Intuit that not only created opportunities to engage with customers, but they also made it fun. Using a combination of incentives and internal competition, employee participation in the community rose to 85% this past year. Moreover, it included the GM of the Consumer Group, as well as every VP and Director in the company.

Leadership

Driving Best Buy’s Social Customer Success. Submitted by Best Buy.
When Best Buy started monitoring customer comments in social media in 2008, they had no intention to actively and directly engage customers. Gina Debogovic, BEST BUY’s Communities Manager was told straight out by an executive that there was no way they would launch any type of customer community before the end of the year. Not one to take no for an answer, Gina doggedly set out to make it happen, and on September 18, 2008, the community was launched. The result: in the past year, call deflection and sales influence thanks to the community is estimated to be a $5 million benefit.

Special Thanks

And a special thank you to Spigit, which built and managed the award platform, and congratulations to the winners, and thanks to everyone who participated this year!

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