How to Apply
Applying for a Wisconsin Forward Award is transformational for many organizations. The process is both rigorous and satisfying.
Whether returning as an applicant or just beginning your involvement with the Baldrige Criteria, the knowledge and insight you gain from your feedback report will help your organization improve key business results, as well as better engage and satisfy customers, stakeholders and your workforce–think of it as a low cost, high impact consulting service. We are happy to answer questions, or provide additional training and resources to help you optimize your organization or community.
The information below is designed to help you determine the best path for your organization. We are happy to discuss options, timelines and resources with you, as well as ways we can support you and your organization.
Wisconsin Forward Award 50-page narrative application that is accepted twice a year, in winter and summer. There are two parts to this type of application:
Organizations submit an Intent-to-Apply Form, fee, and related materials. The information provided enables the Forward Award administrators to verify organizational eligibility. The information also provides a basis for assigning Examiners. Applicants receive confirmation of their eligibility in writing.
Organizations submit an Application Package that includes two key components — an Organizational Profile (not to exceed five pages) and responses to the Baldrige Criteria (not to exceed 50 pages), and the application fee. In responding to the Criteria found in the Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework, each applicant provides information and data on the organization’s quality improvement and performance management processes and related results. (Note: applications can substitute Baldrige Express survey findings, and expanded organizational profile and key business results in lieu of writing the narrative. Contact us if you are interested in this option.)
Who should apply at this level? A 50 page narrative application is most suitable for organizations that:
- Conduct strategic planning
- Have a set of measures and targets
- Have identified, and are beginning to document, and measure the effectiveness of key customer, product, service, business and support processes
- Have human resource plans
- Have generally positive results over time (trends) in many to most key business areas and are using comparative and benchmark data to set targets
- Most importantly, are open to continued feedback for improvement, and want to celebrate their successes!
Download the application package (link includes intent to apply forms). Applicants should use 2017-18 Baldrige Excellence Framework. You can purchase sector-specific Baldrige Excellence Framework booklets using these links: Business/Nonprofit, Education, Health Care
Abbreviated Application Options
Wisconsin Fast Forward is the beginning-to-intermediate-level application—it’s a stepping-stone for organizations aspiring to complete a full 50-page written Wisconsin Forward Award application. Organizations submit a Fast Forward self assessment (there is no page limit) based on the basic and overall requirements of the Criteria for Performance Excellence. Fast Forward applicants are recognized at the annual awards gala to showcase their pursuit of advancing to higher levels of performance.
Who should apply at this level? The Fast Forward application is most suitable for organizations that:
- Are new to internal organizational self-assessments and the Baldrige/WFA Criteria
- Want to engage employees in the organization’s management practices and related results
- Have some, but not most, of their key processes documented in some format
- Have favorable measures/results, and have started to trend data and use comparative data
The Baldrige Excellence Builder is a free resource from the national Baldrige Performance Excellence Program that answers key questions for improving your organization’s performance.
Wisconsin Fast Forward applications are accepted throughout the year.
Baldrige Express Survey combines findings from the BeX survey with an expanded organizational profile and key results.
Who should apply at this level? This option is designed for organizations who have limited time or resources to write a full 50-page narrative, and desire external Examiner review and feedback. (Note: applicants can substitute Baldrige Express survey findings, and expanded organizational profile and key business results in lieu of writing the narrative. Contact us if you are interested in this option.)
Learn more about how the Baldrige Express process can work for your organization. Baldrige Express can be used as a stand-along survey, or part of our award process.
Wisconsin Challenger Profile helps organizations get started by responding to straight forward questions about their organizational context and key results which will help lay groundwork for future improvement efforts—as well as future applications. Challenger Profile applications are accepted throughout the year. The fee includes a planning session that will help lay the groundwork for a Fast Forward or narrative application. Challenger applicants are recognized at our annual awards gala. Wisconsin Challenger Profile applications are accepted throughout the year.
Who should apply at this level? Applicants who seek to align the organization by obtaining agreement on key contextual and strategic information, as well as key results. Baldrige asks organizations to prioritize the “vital few.” A Challenger application urges organizations to identify and focus on the most key organizational factors–and this often results in rich discussion and learning.