The White Paper and Webinar Awards

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The White Paper and Webinar Awards

A Proposal by Spencer Wade

White Paper: An authoritative report or guide helping readers to understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision. White papers are used in two main spheres: B@B marketing and government. Many more white papers are produced for B2B vendors today than are produced for government agencies.

Webinar: The term webinar is actually two terms combined: web conferencing and seminar. The term refers to any service that allows conferencing events to be shared with remote locations. The service is made possible by TCP/IP connections on the Internet. It allows real-time point-to-point communications as well as multicast communications from one sender to many receivers. Voice, text-based messages, and video chat can be shared simultaneously across geographically dispersed locations.

Technology and Users

Technology has become the driving force behind many of today’s fastest growing career fields. In all of its forms, and there are many, technology has changed the world. It has made its way into nearly every human endeavor, and, in most cases, drastically reduced the workload required of its operator. This is progress of the highest order, but it is not without its own problems. There is an enormous amount of learning needed to master technology. In fact, if one truly wants to become an expert then the learning never stops. Technology is constantly changing through modification and upgrades, so the only way to maintain a high skill level is to absorb as much information as possible every day.

The information necessary to stay on top of the technological game can be difficult to gather, digest, and use in a meaningful way. The Internet is vast and the information is found in many places. This makes it difficult and time consuming to bring it together, and more so to compile it in a meaningful way. Time is money in the modern world, and every second spent finding the right information equates to lost revenue.

The demands technology places upon its users in terms of time spent studying can be enormous. The whole experience can be overwhelming to many, but there is a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. That light is given off by white papers and webinars. These two resources are invaluable to technology users. They save all the time spent searching for the right information, and cover everything one must know in order to get the most out of a specific technology.

The definitions for white paper and webinar were given at the beginning of this paper to help the reader understand these terms. These resources have become the backbone of many users understanding of the technology they use in everyday life. Without this freely-given information, there would be much more confusion concerning, and misuse of, technology. The information found within these resources is directly, and specifically, related to a given technology, and allows users to quickly and efficiently become familiar with the technology in question. This is a godsend to the millions of people out there who are required to use technology they do not fully understand.

These very different resources, white papers and webinars, offer users a direct line to all the knowledge they need to fully realize their potential in a technology-dominated world. The use of both will greatly improve a user’s understanding, efficiency, and productivity when working with technologies in their personal and professional lives.

Award Creation

The stated benefits of white papers and webinars cannot be disputed. They are an excellent resource for any who would use them, and, best of all, they are completely free. This is incredible in the cash-based societies prevalent around the world today. Why these resources are free has been explained, but that does not diminish their public service value. It is precisely that value, and the relative obscurity of the developers of these tools, that this proposal is designed to address. Too long have these good Samaritans given of their knowledge and expertise with no personal return on their investment, so herein is proposed an award for the best webinar and white paper of the year.

The process of creating an award can be somewhat complicated. There must be many factors considered before finalization of the process. These range from the overall criteria the award is based on to the financial support available for related expenses. This proposal will lay out a rough outline of the specifications required to get this concept moving forward, and attempt to justify the decisions reached at each step. Every great idea must start somewhere, and creating an award for well-deserving developers, writers, and industry leaders begins here. 

Overall Criteria

The purpose of each award, for both webinars and white papers, is to recognize excellence in the field. The winner of each award will be afforded the prestige of being named the top producer in their field for that year. There are no existing awards that would overlap with this concept, so the prospective constituency is not being served by any existing award family. The proposed award, being the only one of its kind, will not confuse the scope or damage the prestige of any pre-existing award.

The proposed award will be based upon the tabulated votes of real-world users. The voting system will be linked to all participating sites offering content that fits the definition of the two resources in question: white papers and webinars. Users who click the link to vote will be guided through the process, and given an explanation of the award and its purpose. These users will vote on the white papers and webinars they consider the most relevant and helpful. Each user will only be allowed to vote for a specific webinar or white paper one time, but may vote for as many different resources as they use and deem worthy.

The votes will be tabulated by a database system designed for this specific purpose. The first vote for a resource will be used to create a file for that specific resource, and subsequent votes will be stored within the file until the voting is completed at the end of the award cycle. The webinars and white papers that have accumulated the most votes at that time will be declared the winner. It is recommended that the voting last at least eight months of a given award cycle. This allows one month for tabulation of the votes, and making contact with the top three webinar/white paper vote-getters. The remaining two months will give ample time for travel arrangements to be made for the contestants, and allow an extensive publicity campaign to be implemented and directed toward the industry as a whole. 

Naming

The proposed award will be named the White Paper and Webinar Awards. The possibility exists of finding an overriding sponsor for the event who will expect some kind of naming rights. If the sponsor is a private individual or a company, and they request their name be attached, it is recommended that a contract be signed that will detail how long the sponsorship will last, and what the procedures will be for extrication of one or both parties. There are guidelines to naming an award that should be followed as closely as possible. For example, if a private individual wishes to sponsor the award, and wants their name attached to it, it is recommended that the person must have a high level of visibility, name recognition, and distinction in the field. The contract is still a necessity in any scenario. 

Financial Support of the Award

The preferred ways for financing the proposed award are either a lump sum contribution or a payment contract over time. This financing must include the costs of any related expenses such as travel and registration for the award nominees. The venue used for the award ceremony must be considered as well. Many venues will offer their services for free if the publicity campaign involved includes their information in a favorable light. These details can be hammered out upon location of a proper venue that fits all of the necessary criteria. 

Breadth

The awards proposed in this document are not limited to sub-fields. They are inclusive of the breadth of disciplines covered by the white papers or webinars that are nominated. There are many topics, in a multitude of fields, covered by these two resources, and the only fair way to judge the best and brightest is to not limit the selections based on specific fields of inquiry. Each topic discussed in these resources is fair game, and the creators of the pieces nominated will inevitably come from a diverse range of expertise. This will allow for cross-industry interest to be generated for the award ceremony, and greatly expand the possible industries willing to get involved either through participation on some level or sponsorship. 

Administration

The creation of an Awards Committee to oversee the process is recommended. This committee will be responsible for reviewing possible issues, and discussing recommendations brought by relevant, involved parties. The committee must be held in high regard, and be considered above reproach to ensure that the process of vote tabulation and award declaration is without suspicion. The committee should consist of industry insiders and professionals who will give up their rights to be nominated for a position on the committee. These members may be the same year after year if necessary, or a revolving system of choosing new members may be used. 

Final Thoughts

The process by which a new award is conceived, created, and given to a deserving winner can be complex and time-consuming. The rough framework has been laid out in this proposal. There are many points that need to be fine-tuned in order to fully realize this vision, but the important thing is the idea itself. It has been far too long that creators of these incredible resources have gone unrecognized. This award will be a step in the right direction as far as rewarding and encouraging this diverse group of professionals to keep pushing forward. It is a proven fact that the better job they do equates to better materials for the general public to use to better themselves and, by extension, their organizations.

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