It’s that time of year again when we look back at who the Innovators were over the past 12 months.
It’s that time of year again when we look back at who the Innovators were over the past 12 months.

Industry Innovators 2016: Hall of Fame

This is where our Innovators come to collect all of the marbles. After three appearances as Innovators and numerous good results in our monthly Group Test reviews and, perhaps, a First Look or two, the cream ends up here. We view this inclusion with mixed emotion because these Innovators may no longer participate in the yearly round-up, but, at the same time, we are proud that they have distinguished themselves over a sustained period of time.

Hall of Famers have a mixed future. They just about all go on to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. A few are acquired and a few merge with other, complementary companies to form new entities that might well end up here someday. We looked back over the years that we have had the Innovators issue and we don't think we ever have lost a Hall of Famer completely.

To get this far an organization needs to show creativity and innovation in product, business practices and go-to-market strategy. When we consider a company for its second and third years, we are tougher than when we selected the company originally. In order to be selected a second or third time, the company must demonstrate sustainability. It's not enough to be innovative if you want to be selected year over year. You also must show that you have sustained your innovation and, hopefully, upped your game. That is what gets you into the SC Media Hall of Fame.

Once a company makes it here, it can use the SC badge in its marketing and at trade shows. This means something to customers and potential customers. It means that the company is thinking toward the future and identifying and solving challenges in the future. That can be a significant market edge.

For many of our Innovators and Hall of Famers, this is important because – among other things – these tend to be smaller companies fighting giants with a lot more resources. Sadly, many of these larger companies are more content to be followers than leaders. They depend on market stature instead of innovation. But, we think that spells good news for smaller, creative companies with great ideas and the moxie to pull them off. So…drum roll, please…Here is the SC Media Hall of Fame for 2016.