Originally published on PYMNTS
Awards Ceremonies look easy enough from the outside, but are a lot harder to do right than just getting attractive and talented people in a room, putting them in their evening wear finest and honoring them for their myriad achievements.
Sure, when it goes right, things look that easy — but when things go wrong … well, we all saw the Oscars this this year. PricewaterhouseCoopers — after 83 consecutive years of tabulating the Academy Awards without incident — managed to accidentally put the wrong card in Warren Beatty/Faye Dunaway’s hands for the Best Picture award and … well the rest is YouTube history.
And, as America found out what actually happens when the wrong name gets read on stage, PwC found out what happens when Twitter decides to rename your firm — as our CEO (and former PwC employee) Karen Webster told those assembled at the Innovation Project’s annual awards dinner last night.
“PwC is now called Probably Wrong Card!”
Webster went on to promise no such snafus at the IP Awards, noting that her career at PwC was on the consulting side of the house — not the auditing side.
And on the whole, the Innovation Awards Gala at Boston’s famous Fenway Park didn’t quite have the “wrong card” drama that came included with the Oscars this year — but we are inclined to view that as a feature, not a bug.
Besides, what was on display at Fenway was much, much better than a chance to live on in infamy on social media for a few days — because for a few hours last night, the best minds in payments and commerce innovation, the stars of our show, had a chance to take the stage and show off for just a minute or two for the idea and experiments that are changing the world right now — or are going to be changing the world really soon.
Plus, we had Jason Alexander — AKA George from Seinfeld, AKA the man behind the fictional character who brought us such life-changing concepts as the Big Salad, the Fat Wallet and (PYMNTS’ ongoing personal favorite) Festivus.
And it was in the spirit of Festivus that Alexander met the crowd at Fenway last night — ready, willing and more than able to begin a good-natured airing of the grievances about payments, commerce and the Innovation Project as a whole.
Alexander questioned, for example, how Adm. James Stavridis managed to build an entire fireside chat around “What a Cyber Pearl Harbor Means For Commerce,” since “we all have a pretty good idea of what Pearl Harbor meant to Pearl Harbor. I can’t imagine “commerce” having a terribly different outcome. So I’m assuming the Admiral comes in, sits by the fire and says, “It’s bad,” and that pretty much wraps it up. Not much of a chat.”
Alexander also had the reaction that most payments and commerce outsiders have when you explain the concept of bitcoin to them — and then invite them to a really in-depth conversation about digital currency.
“Did anyone seriously attend this? If so, I hope they confiscated everyone’s belts and shoelaces. Otherwise there would have been a rash of spontaneous hangings because swift, sweet death would be a far more welcome alternative to a blockchain conversation.”
On the one hand, it’s harsh. On the other hand — having attended many in-depth blockchain conversations — well, it’s not the worst idea in the world, either.
And he also noted, before warmly congratulating the winners and ceding the stage to them, that everyone in attendance deserved a trophy — both for their dedication to their craft, and because they’d gone to so many strange sounding fireside chats.
Okay, so maybe payments and commerce can look a little strange from the outside in — but last night’s awards were decided by the votes of all the participants’ peers, our panel of judges and more than 20,000 PYMNTS.com readers. From hundreds of submissions, the winners for 14 Innovation Award prize categories were drawn, including the “Most Innovative Payments Player” (tabulated correctly) as well as 5 special awards for innovators who’ve made unique contributions to PYMNTS and commerce.
So, sick of waiting to find out who took home Gold, Silver and Bronze? Well good news, the wait is over.
And the winners are…
Most Invisible Innovation
Gold: Android Pay