Applicants should demonstrate creativity and ingenuity in thought leadership and innovation, tell compelling stories based upon actionable lessons learned and document perseverance and passion.

Each applicant will be evaluated based on their concept and its societal value, ability to deliver and commercialize the concept and the impact their ideas will have in the community.


We expect to draw from a pool of talented, progressive-thinking small business owners, entrepreneurs, professionals, scientists, engineers, health professionals, product designers and a range of other innovators from across every sector.

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age at the time of application and must be a U.S. resident. There is no application fee.


Our award winners will find themselves in a unique position to boost recognition and market visibility through these key benefits:

  • Gain national recognition as a thought leader and innovator

  • Opportunities to network with other award recipients and our distinguished Fellows

  • Command an active and visible role in the Thought Leadership & Innovation Foundation’s Innovation Hub

  • Expose your award-winning innovation to the business media and social media

  • Gain visibility as an award recipient on the TLI website and distribution of a national press release

  • Enhance value through an award from an unbiased third-party endorsement

  • Promote your innovation in the marketplace by using the Winner’s Badge

  • Visibly and meaningfully contribute to the cause of innovation and education in the world

We look forward to considering your knowledge, research, engagement strategies and value systems and favor those that are culturally relevant and globally responsible.


Review the award evaluation criteria and determine whether the concept, product or service you wish to submit would be an appropriate recipient of the Ignite Innovation Award or the Oldham Family Thought Leadership Award. Applications are submitted online during the annual summer application season.

During the online application process, applicants will be asked to provide information about the concept, product or service being nominated, including the company and/or product website address, related white papers or publications, a photo or video of the entry if applicable and social media links.