Carl Bertelsmann Prize
Award for creativity: The Carl Bertelsmann Prize
The Carl Bertelsmann Prize honors innovative ideas and exemplary solutions to pressing social issues. Named after the founder of Bertelsmann AG, the €150,000 prize is awarded annually. Its mandate is to "go beyond what we know" and learn from the best in the world, and exactly this international perspective is what sets it apart from other awards.
Timeline: History of the Carl Bertelsmann Prize
International studies show that in Germany, as almost nowhere else, educational success is related to social background. Almost half of all children from families whose incomes are in the top 25 percent nationwide attend top-level secondary schools, compared to only 10 percent of those from the lowest quartile. This is especially true of young people from immigrant families. Such educational dislocations are a waste of talent and cause of frustration. As a result, the 2008 Carl Bertelsmann Prize wants to highlight best practices making it possible to individually promote children of immigrant families.more
Winner: Citizenship Foundation, United Kingdom.
Special Prize: Topic-Oriented Project for Social Engagement (TOP SE), Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Civic engagement is a valuable resources for both individuals and society at large. Yet the opportunities for acquiring the know-how and values associated with it early in life are limited. Given social shifts, families are gradually losing their place as a learning venue, and childcare centers and schools do not have sufficient resources for imparting such knowledge. The goal of the 2007 Carl Bertelsmann Prize is therefore to identify international best practices that have significant potential for improving the overall structural and socioeconomic conditions for promoting civic engagement among Germany's children and young people.
Winner: Finland's National Program on Aging Workers, which brings together employers, unions, trade associations and academics to improve working conditions for older employees.
In using the 2006 Carl Bertelsmann Prize to highlight the topic “Active aging in economy and society,” the Bertelsmann Stiftung wants to help society achieve a clear paradigm shift and rewrite the standard career biography to include greater diversity over a longer period of active participation. We must change our course and attitudes on many levels: in policymaking, in unions and management, within businesses and in each individual.
Winner: Hauptschulmodell, Hamburg, Germany
Particularly as we transition into the information society of the 21st century, constantly developing and maintaining our employability will be more important than ever. It will require every individual to show a high degree of personal initiative and responsibility in planning his or her own life path. At the same time, helping young people to obtain the knowledge and skills to become employable will be one of the greatest challenges for the business community and society at large. This is especially true in areas where mentoring and the integration of young people into changing job markets cannot succeed on its own.
2004 Carl Bertelsmann Prize: Improving performance and progress in the public sector – Organizational culture and leadership
Winner: Århus Amt/Denmark
The 2004 winner distinguishes itself by its universally adopted value system. Århus Amt, the Danish county Aarhus, is responsible for providing 640,000 residents with primarily local government services. These services include health, education, social services, culture, economic development and tourism. Around 21,000 employees have adopted a values system that is based on transparency, respect and a willingness to reform. Performance comparisons provide checks and balances—both within the business sectors and externally with other counties. Århus Amt successfully institutes modernization instruments such as cost and activity accounting, controlling, decentralized budget accountability and strategic human resources management.more
Winner: Hilti AG, Schaan/Liechtenstein
The 2003 winner, Hilti excellently demonstrates how a corporate culture oriented toward employees and customers and exemplary management can make a key contribution to financial success. The jury’s explanation states that the company won them over with its consistent customer focus and the lengths to which it goes to convey values and attitudes to its employees. Hilti is a global leader in the development, manufacture and marketing of high-quality products and systems for professionals in the fields of construction and building maintenance.more
Winner: Transparency International
The Bertelsmann Stiftung honored Transparency International as a particularly successful and exemplary model of how engagement in civil society can bring us closer to solving urgent problems when the state and the market fail. The organization, which was established in 1993, is committed to fighting global corruption.more
Winners: Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Leszek Balcerowicz and Adam Michnik representing the successful transition process in Poland, and René Blattmann and Ana Maria Romero de Campero for excellent progress in Bolivia.
Poland and Bolivia are representative of other countries that have also been able to bring about peaceful change in the face of great difficulty, making their experiences especially relevant for other nations and policymakers.more
2000 Carl Bertelsmann Prize: Healthcare reform
Winners: The Swiss Department of the Interior and the nederlands huisartsen genootschap, nhg (Association of Dutch General Practitioners)
The 2000 Carl Bertelsmann Prize was split equally between Switzerland and the Netherlands. The Swiss Department of the Interior was awarded the prize for introducing a new health insurance statute that reconciles competition and principles of solidarity. In the Netherlands, general practitioners association was honored for its unique efforts to improve the quality of care.
1999 Carl Bertelsmann Prize: Vocational training of the future
Winner: Kingdom of Denmark
To provide new inspiration for vocational education in Germany, Denmark was awarded the 1999 Carl Bertelsmann Prize for its exemplary educational system. The pioneering elements of Danish vocational education include scaling back the government’s regulatory role, the cooperation between employers and employees and broad individual autonomy for the vocational schools on issues of curriculum and budget management.
1998 Carl Bertelsmann Prize: Communication Coordinates 2000 – Innovation and responsibility in an information society
Winners: Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Canada; Recreational Software Advisory Council (RSAC), United States
In recognition of their successful concepts about government oversight and personal responsibility in the media industry, the American Internet self-regulation initiative, RSAC, and the Canadian supervisory body for television, radio and telecommunications, CRTC, were awarded the 1998 Carl Bertelsmann Prize.
1997 Carl Bertelsmann Prize: Individual responsibility and solidarity – New approaches to social and collective bargaining policy
Winner: Stichtung van de Arbeid (The Labour Foundation), Netherlands
This organization, which is made up of and run by unions and management in equal measure, spearheaded the transformation of the Dutch social welfare state and in doing so made the country’s globally admired “economic miracle” possible. With the foundation, Dutch unions and management have created a powerful joint institution that paves the way for new social welfare and collective bargaining policies by bringing participants together for confidential pre-policymaking discussions.
1996 Carl Bertelsmann Prize: Innovative school systems in an international comparison
1995 Carl Bertelsmann Prize: Methods and tools for successful employment policy
The winner, Portugal, has had lasting success in the fight against unemployment with its consistent and coordinated economic and employment policies and it has proven its ability to adapt to changing conditions. The outstanding successes of Portugal’s employment policies are closely linked to the work of Portuguese Prime Minister Cavaco Silva, who, during his 10 years in office, led his country out of an economic crisis by being willing to make difficult political choices while exercising sound social judgment.
1994 Carl Bertelsmann Prize: Social responsibility in television
Winners: Channel 4, Great Britain and TVW7 Perth, Australia
British Channel 4 distinguishes itself by its ambitious programming, characterized by an obligation to provide as much variety as possible, to consider the interests of diverse groups of viewers and to develop innovative programming types and content. Since its founding in 1959, the West Australian broadcaster TVW7 in Perth has used social responsibility as a guideline for its programming. The self-described family broadcaster maintains a close connection with its audience with its many self-produced entertainment offerings, extensive documentaries and talk shows.
1993 Carl Bertelsmann Prize: Democracy and efficiency in local government
Winners: Christchurch, New Zealand, and Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Christchurch, New Zealand is typical of cities that have been involved in government-sponsored administrative reforms. During the course of this process, Christchurch substantially improved the quality of its municipal services and satisfaction levels among its residents. Services provided by local government became competitive with those provided by private enterprises. Phoenix boasts a particularly well-organized local community. Its key to success is direct participation by residents. They are directly involved in neighborhood issues and help tackle social problems such as unemployment and poverty. Additionally, the Phoenix city government successfully competes with private service providers in the city.
1992 Carl Bertelsmann Prize: Progressive immigration and integration policy
Winner: Kingdom of Sweden
The Swedish government started reacting to clashes with other cultures in the mid-1970s with realistic legislation supported by all parties, which made it possible to consistently integrate foreign-born citizens. Key elements of the country’s integration policy include equal access for foreigners to the Swedish social welfare system and full integration into communities.
1991 Carl Bertelsmann Prize: Groundbreaking approaches for a successful employment policy
Winners: Switzerland and the Saxony-based company Hoch-, Tief- and Montagegebau GmbH (HTM), Plauen, Germany
The Swiss government has maintained an extremely low unemployment rate over a long period compared with other European nations thanks to their exemplary economic policies. This result was achieved in a climate of average growth rates, but highly stable currency values, highly decentralized decision-making regarding economic, employment and collective bargaining policies, as well as excellent relationships between labor unions and employers. Due to their own initiative, the Saxon construction company HTM Plauen was able to salvage the jobs of most of its employees. In negotiations with Treuhandanstalt, the government agency responsible for privatizing former East German state-run businesses, the firm created an employment model that has persuaded the banks to invest in the future of the company.
1990 Carl Bertelsmann Prize: Evolution in higher education
Winners: The English University of Warwick and two representatives of a Norwegian university
Despite severe government spending cuts in the 80s, the University of Warwick in Coventry evolved into a fully developed, well-respected institution of higher education with international standing. Using private funding, it expanded its areas of research and set up new degree programs. The efforts of Professor Arnfinn Graue and Magne Lerheim to restructure the University of Bergen have earned the university a reputation of being top-notch and progressive. With organizational creativity and a cooperative management style, the president and chancellor have instigated a restructuring of the university and set a course for growth.
1989 Carl Bertelsmann Prize: Corporate culture of partnership
Winners: Volvo and Herman Miller Inc.
The corporate policy at Volvo, Sweden’s largest company, consists of an exemplary combination of productivity, humane working conditions and a partnership-based management style. In addition, manufacturing is adapted in an innovative manner to structural/technological changes. At Volvo, direct employee participation includes production planning, production procedures and quality control. The key to company policy at Herman Miller Inc., the second-largest office furniture manufacturer in the United States, is participation: All employees, based on their authority and responsibilities, are included in all decision-making processes affecting their departments. A main component of the corporate culture is financial participation: 98 percent of full-time employees are stockholders in the corporation.
1988 Carl Bertelsmann Prize: Landmark contributions to developing wage negotiations
Winners: Unions and employers in the construction, chemical and metal industries
The first Carl Bertelsmann Prize was awarded in 1998 to honor the particular creativity of unions and management in the construction, chemical and metal industries in further developing the collective bargaining system. They are also being honored for the contribution that the overall labor policy (in the context of wage autonomy) has made to the evolution of society and the economy in recent decades.