IEC Centenary Challenge

This was the official site for the IEC Centenary Challenge.
Content is from the site's 2006 archived pages providing a historical record for interested visitors.

IEC has in conjunction with its 100th anniversary issued a challenge to the international academic community. The challenge is to write an article (in English) with the theme "Consideration of the economic, business and social impact of the development and use of International Standards for end-users that any level of business activity." Submitted articles will be judged by a jury and the three best articles will be awarded with prices.

The IEC is a not-for-profit international organization responsible for the development of International Standards in the total electronic/electrical sector which ranges from microchips to power stations, including computing and telecommunications, and their related services. Members range from device manufacturers to developers of custom software, as well as the peripheral service included in these disciplines. Some of these custom software developers are recognized leaders in their fields. Its membership and affiliate country programme bring together a total of 132 countries and some 15 000 experts around the world work on its behalf. The IEC, as the sponsor of this initiative, will direct and coordinate the Centenary Challenge working closely with IET (formerly the IEE), IEEE, VDE and The Economist.

This initiative is intended to offer the world’s academic institutions a challenge of the highest order. Prizes will be awarded for the best papers and case studies (Submissions) on the subject:

"Consideration of the economic, business and social impact of the development and use of International Standards for end-users at any level of business activity."

Successful societies have flourished by their ability to trade effectively. Trade has always been supported by perceptions of value based on standards of function, quality and performance. These "standards" can either be:

  • Explicit or implicit;
  • Formal or informal.

Whatever the "business context", whenever a transaction takes place there is always a question of "what are the standards of function, quality and performance being offered?"

During the past 100 years there have been more inventions than in all of the previous history of mankind. This unprecedented technological advancement coupled with worldwide trade liberalization demands close examination of the connection between standards and business development.

The impact of standards and standardization in the political, economic, sociological, technological and natural environments at national, regional and international levels will play a significant role on how business and markets develop.

Note: Click here for an example of the type of business and standards related issues that can be addressed. A print version of this article by Michael Yaziji, Professor of Strategy and Organizations at the IMD Institute in Lausanne , Switzerland was published by the Financial Times of London, UK on 24 June 2005 .

IEC Centenary Challenge Registration Deadline Extended

New York, Apr 03, 2006

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has extended the registration deadline for the IEC Centenary Challenge—a worldwide competition for papers and case studies addressing the economic, business, and social impact of International Standards—to April 7, 2006.

Organized in conjunction with the IEC’s centennial celebration, the competition is sponsored in partnership with The Economist, the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies (VDE). To date, more than sixty leading academic institutions representing twenty-five countries have registered to participate.

The competition is open to all persons affiliated with an academic institution, including faculty members, lecturers, researchers, and teaching staff. Papers authored by both individuals and groups are accepted; all submissions must be approved by the academic institution.

Awards and Judging Criteria

The Challenge | Awards and Judging Criteria | The IEC and Partners | Guidelines | Important Dates | Registration | Submission | The Rules | Copyright | Results

The following awards (with invitation to receive the award in London ) will be offered:


            1st Prize                      US$     15 000

            2nd Prize                    US$     5 000

            3rd Prize                     US$     2 000

The prize-winning Submissions, together with others considered to be of outstanding merit, will be published in an IEC Commemorative Publication. In addition, the top Submissions will be made available to the combined international memberships of the IEC and the IEC Centenary Challenge partner organizations – the IET (formerly the IEE), IEEE and VDE – of +500,000 academic, technical and business professionals. The winning Submissions will also be distributed and recommended to learned international technical and business journals for worldwide publication.


Executive Review Council (ERC)

Submissions considered to be of exceptional merit will be reviewed by the Executive Review Council for final judging and nomination for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Prizes.

The ERC consists of eminent, distinguished leaders from Government, Academia, Business and the Media and will be, by its composition, representative of the world’s principal industrialized areas i.e. the Americas, Asia and Europe:

Dr. Arden L. Bement, Jr.

Director, US National Science Foundation

Dr. Takuo Sugano

Professor Emeritus, Tokyo University and Chairman, Board of Trustees of Toyo University

Prof. Klaus Wucherer

Member of Central Managing Board, Siemens AG

Tom Standage

Technology Editor, The Economist Newspaper


Judging Criteria

All Submissions complying with the IEC Centenary Challenge Rules will be reviewed and judged on the following criteria:

  • Demonstration of clear linkage between standardization and business development

Including references to electronic, electrical, and information technology standardization.

  • Originality

Providing a novel and in-depth understanding of the linkage between standardization and business development.

  • Quality

Showing a level of refinement that is of a publishable quality.

  • Readability and Clarity

Enabling an audience untrained in the field of standardization or economics to understand the key points being made.

  • Sophistication and depth of research

Relating the original finding to the relevant scholarly literature.

While the domain of the IEC Centenary Challenge is not limited to the technical sectors covered by the IEC and its partners, preference will be given to those Submissions that include references to electronic, electrical, and information technology standardization.


We are pleased to announce that the winners of the IEC Centenary Challenge are:

1st prize:

  • Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier, France
    "Standardising Mesopic Vision Conditions and Incidence on Light Sources Science and Technology"
    Authors: Dr. Georges Zissis and Dr. Stuart Mucklejohn

2nd prize co-winners:

  • University of Colorado at Boulder, USA
    "The Entrepreneur and Standards"
    Authors: Ken Krechmer and Elaine Baskin.
  • University of Tokyo, Japan
    "Architecture-based Approaches to International Standardization and Evolution of Business Models"
    Authors: Junjiro Shintaku, Koichi Ogawa and Tetsuo Yoshimoto

3rd prize:

  • Toyo University, Japan
    "Standardization and Patent Pools: Using Patent Licensing to Lead the Market" 
    Authors: Hajime Yamada


The winners were announced at the Awards Ceremony in London on 14 December 2006.

The winners received, respectively, 1st prize of USD 15 000, 2nd prize of USD 5 000 and third prize of USD 2 000.