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June 23, 2011 / W. Stanton Smith

The 2011 Computerworld Honors Program…ensuring a future by recognizing the past and present

My wife and I were guests at the 2011 Computerworld Awards Program Gala Evening on Monday, June 20, 2011 at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. Here’s a brief description of what transpired, why I was involved and why this type of event is critical to the uphill work of preserving a positive future for us all.

For 23 years the Computerworld Magazine Honors Program has sought to recognize those “visionary applications of information technology that promote positive change”. This program is the largest and most prestigious of its type in the world. This year there were nearly 800 nominees from around the globe being considered in one of 11 categories. In the “training/education” category, Morgan Stanley, an Honors Program sponsor, reached out to its vendors to identify applications which Morgan Stanley believed to be exceptional and which it could nominate with pride.

A vendor that I worked closely with at Deloitte is named BrandGames; it is a Morgan Stanley vendor. Morgan Stanley was impressed by BrandGames role in building a simulation directed at high school students called Virtual Team Challenge (VTM) (see definition below). VTM is an idea which my team under my leadership protected and cultivated for a number of years within Deloitte. VTM continues to receive support after my retirement and is still being used by Deloitte in its outreach to students who might ultimately be in the talent pool from which it will draw. About 15,000 students per year play this game in their respective class rooms now with an exponential increase expected within the next few years.

The exciting thing about VTM being an award winner is that it not only is among the 262 Laureates for 2011, but that VTM was on the short list of the top 5 in its category. Put another way, it is in the top 55 of 262 Laureates, i.e., the top 20 % of award winners and the top 10% of all nominated. This is rarefied air and I couldn’t be more thrilled for Scott Randall and his colleagues at BrandGames and my former colleagues at Deloitte.

Description of VTM

First-ever 3D avatar-based multi-player business simulation, allowing U.S. high school students the ability to learn about the business world and business careers, at no cost to schools.

Why is this type of award program so important?

Of course there are commercial benefits to being recognized by your peers and this is important. However, the prime reason for the enduring value of this program is expressed in the tag line to the program logo: Honoring Those Who Use Information Technology to Benefit Society. As a part of this program Computerworld saves the details of these technological solutions for posterity and makes them available through a research reference capability. The cataloguing and preservation of this intellectual capital demonstrates optimism about the future and endorses the vital concept that a greater good exists that transcends all the petty divisions which seem to afflict humans. Congratulations to Computerworld Magazine and the event sponsors, WYSE, MorganStanley, Booz Allen Hamilton, Sybase, Bank of America, CISCO, LexisNexis, Microsoft, PSI Software AG, Information Builders and Marketwire.

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