IDC Future of Digital Innovation North America Awards

IDC is seeking applications for successful Future of Digital Innovation projects and initiatives for its Future of Digital Innovation North America Awards. Specifically, IDC is looking for details on implemented initiatives (pilots or projects) as opposed to ideas or planned initiatives. IDC's 2021 Future of Digital Innovation North America Awards will be presented to the winning initiatives at an awards ceremony in August 2021.

Definition of Future of Digital Innovation

Organizations are shifting their priorities from consumption toward producing software embedded in products and services to compete in their own industry thereby transforming into high-performance, large-scale producers of software-based digital innovation. Most of this production of digital innovation will be focused on creating new value for customers, though some may augment internal digital workstreams.

IDC categorizes digital innovation factories as end-user organizations that are embracing at least two of the four pillars of plan, source, develop, and distribute in conjunction with their software creation and use. The development of software may include development for integration into the company's core products; actively sourcing externally created (open or closed source) components or external APIs and/or actively distributing code.

Primary requirements of all nominations are:
  1. Must be a Future of Digital Innovation initiative as defined by IDC.
  2. All nominations must be in production with existing customers/users.
  3. Must be able to articulate and show key performance indicators to ascribe value to completed project.
  4. Note: IT Vendors and Technology Consultants do not qualify for the IDC Future Enterprise Awards. Vendors may instead nominate completed projects on behalf of their clients. Please provide confirmation from the client that they wish to participate in the awards program.

The IDC Future Enterprise awards program is focused on identifying those organizations who have successfully leveraged technology within their entities to address one of the nine key C-Suite agenda items of the digital economy. While we recognize many leading edge technology projects are taking place in organizations that supply technology to the market (e.g. IT suppliers/technology vendors and their channel partners), this awards program is focused on organizations where the primary means for generating revenue is not from technology products or services.


The 2021 Call for Nominations for the Best in Future of Digital Innovation North America Awards is now closed. The 2022 Best in Future of Digital Innovation North America Awards nomination period will open February 7, 2022.


If you'd like to receive an email notification once the nominations opens, please contact Heather Ball at

The 2021 Call for Nominations for the Best in Future of Digital Innovation North America Awards is now closed. The 2022 Best in Future of Digital Innovation North America Awards nomination period will open February 7, 2022.

2021 Future of Digital Innovation North America Awards Winners

Best in Class Winner

  • Jotun - Hull Performance Solution logo
    Jotun - Hull Performance Solution

    In the digital world Jotun no longer sells products but outcomes focused on efficient ship hulls that continue to perform in all types of weather and waves. Jotun's customer differentiator was to provide antifouling coats so ships can sail smoothly in the water, but Jotun wasn't satisfied to just compete in the market, so the company set a new vision of being the leading marine coating company.
    The next step involved taking their product, tying it to technology to drive and prove more efficiency, and then added in a maintenance service so product erosion or issues could be found worldwide across all customers’ vessels in real time with IoT sensors. During this change, efficiency and performance had to be measured but there was no standard. Jotun created one, the ISO 19030, which prescribes practical methods for measuring changes in ship-specific hull and propeller performance. This move had the potential to save the shipping industry as much as $30 billion in annual fuel costs. The standard was published in November 2016 and in response the company adapted its Hull Performance Solutions (HPS) guarantee to ensure it is fully ISO 19030-2 compliant. Poor hull and propeller performance is estimated to account for around 10% of the world fleet’s energy costs. ISO 19030 prescribes measurement methodology and defining performance indicators for hull and propeller maintenance, repair and retrofit activities.


  • Mattel - Driving innovation with Fisher-Price® Smart Connect™ logo
    Mattel - Driving innovation with Fisher-Price® Smart Connect™

    Mattel is a large manufacturer of products focused on children, including toys and educational products. The company's 200+ brands include iconic names such as Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price and Barney.
    With such a diverse portfolio, the company's embrace of digital technology varied substantially by individual brand. To establish a consistent approach to embracing digital enhancements, the company created its Mattel Connected Products Platform (MCPP) as a platform for all the company's brands to use. One of the first brands to embrace MCPP is Fisher-Price, which has used the platform along with agile development techniques to produce a consolidated dashboard for parents to manage any Fisher-Price Smart Connect products that are in use within their homes. The technology is now being used by other brands such as Hot Wheels and Barbie.


  • U.S. Air Force: Detachment 24, 19th Air Force, Air Education and Training Command - Virtual Mission Trainer logo
    U.S. Air Force: Detachment 24, 19th Air Force, Air Education and Training Command - Virtual Mission Trainer

    Today’s government agencies, especially within the Department of Defense (DOD) and U.S. military, must accelerate the training of their workforces and warfighters to complete their missions in a very short time frame.
    The U.S. Air Force Air Education and Training Command leverages SAIC’s Virtual Mission Trainer (VMT) harmoniously blending the latest advancements in emerging technologies, commercial gaming, leading-edge software, cloud-native infrastructures, biometrics and analytics to deliver a low-cost experiential immersive training platform. The VMT delivers synthetic realities with immersive environments developed by SAIC’s game studio, Big Timber Games, through commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, such as extended-reality goggles and headsets. Instead of scheduling and conducting training via costly simulators, VMT enables training at the point of need via accessible hardware and SAIC-developed software. VMT enabled the Air Force to overcome its challenge of rapidly training more pilots but without more planes, equipment, or instructors. In SAIC’s first implementation of prototype VMTs in support of an experimental Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) program in 2018, we decreased the course duration from 12 months to six months, where students were conducting solo flights ~40% sooner than traditional UPT classes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, flight schools stopped in-person instruction and their students were forced to remain in their quarters. Cohorts using VMT in the Air Force’s Pilot Training Next (PTN) program faced a training delay of only two weeks and were able to complete 95% of required activities on VMT. The U.S. Air Force PTN cohorts confronted the tremendous shift of remote work due to the pandemic because of the enabling power of VMT.

Insurance and Financial Services

  • Raise Green - Raise Green Originator Engine logo
    Raise Green - Raise Green Originator Engine

    Raise Green is an impact investing portal for community-driven climate projects, like community solar. Raise Green uncovered a gap for community-based organizations like schools, churches, community centers, non-profits, and small businesses to get financing for solar and renewable energy projects.
    Raise Green offers a toolkit -- an Originator Engine -- for these types of organizations to develop and finance climate projects through an online public offering of stock. The organization then offers these projects up to individuals or institutions that want to do impact investing in support of these organizations to see the projects come to fruition and benefit from shared ownership. Renewables must make up 70%-85% of electricity by 2050 to combat the dire effects of climate change according to the 2018 IPCC report. The U.S. need a massive increase of invested capital (>$1T per year) to hit climate goals set under the Paris Agreement, and individuals need self-efficacy and agency in the face of climate change. Raise Green chips away at the global climate finance gap, by chipping away at the community-level climate finance gap, by empowering everyone to be part of originating, financing and owning their own climate solution projects.

Open Data Sharing


  • The Synaptic Health Alliance - Provider Data Exchange logo
    The Synaptic Health Alliance - Provider Data Exchange

    Synaptic Health Alliance joins leaders in health care to explore how blockchain technology can help address some of the toughest problems in the industry. Founding members include Aetna, Humana, MultiPlan, Quest Diagnostics and UnitedHealth Group.
    The intent of the alliance is to leverage this emerging technology to facilitate reaching across industry and competitive lines, creating a care provider data exchange. This shared source of high-quality provider data could streamline healthcare administrative burden and relieve friction between providers and multiple payers. The Synaptic Health Alliance has demonstrated in pilot initiatives that collaborative use of blockchain technology can help improve the efficiency of updating directories people use to select health care providers. Typically, each insurer maintains its own directory, which can be a time-consuming and expensive endeavor. If the information in these directories is inaccurate, it can delay claim and payment processing and can lead to fines from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Roughly $2.1 billion is spent annually across the health care system maintaining provider data. A recent review by CMS found that 52% of provider directory locations listed had at least one inaccuracy. Because managed care organizations typically maintain separate copies of provider data, changes to the data files affect only the copy in which they are made. When discrepancies are found, efforts to reconcile them are time-intensive, costly and sometimes ineffective.

  • Shell - Open AI Energy Initiative logo
    Shell - Open AI Energy Initiative

    The energy industry is long known for investments in technology to optimize outcomes from energy exploration and recovery, so it comes as little surprise that energy giant Shell is focusing on leveraging artificial intelligence to improve its operations.
    Working in conjunction with partners Microsoft, C3 AI and Baker Hughes, the company took the modern approach of creating an open initiative that is intended to be used by other organizations in the industry. The Open AI Energy Initiative (OAI) offers a collection of AI models that can be used by other energy producers to monitor health of key components such as compressors, pumps, submersible pumps and control valves, allowing for identification of at-risk components which then can be pre-emptively repaired or replaced.

Performance as a Service

  • Damen Shipyards - TRITON Program logo
    Damen Shipyards - TRITON Program

    Damen is committed to helping clients realize their ambitions to increase profitability despite market induced challenges. With its Triton platform, Damen is transforming its operating model from "ships as a product" to "vessel as a service."
    Using digital twin and other technologies, Damen is introducing smart ships which are connected and can be updated and upgraded over their lifespan, pushing the performance limits of vessel in operation by exploiting Damen's design-data and knowhow. The Triton platform connects stakeholders that contribute to the profitability of ships, allowing Damen and system suppliers to support operators throughout the lifetime of their vessel by delivering services and performance upgrades to maximize the effectivity and profitability of the ship.

Analyst Choice Award

  • Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality - Pay it Forward logo
    Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality - Pay it Forward

    The pandemic disrupted the economy as well as upsetting our lives in terms of health. Families whose income was cut with the lockdown could not pay their bills.
    In the face of the emerging need, Istanbulites who had the opportunity wanted to help. The Pay-It-Forward Project is a solidarity platform in which Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality acts as an intermediary, offering a website where people in need can upload their utility bills and people who want to lend a helping hand can pay the bills. In May 2020, the water and gas bills of 100,000 families were paid each week on average. The system was set up in about a week and also offered aid packages to families and education support packages.

2021 Award Highlight Videos

The 2021 Call for Nominations for the Best in Future of Digital Innovation North America Awards is now closed. The 2022 Best in Future of Digital Innovation North America Awards nomination period will open February 7, 2022.