SAGE utilizes an interscholastic competitive model similar to athletics, whereby SAGE projects are showcased in a “tournament” which recognizes outstanding high school teams based on their effectiveness and creativity. SAGE tournaments (sometimes called competitions) also provide venues for conferences and meetings with state and country coordinators to seek feedback for continuous improvement.
In getting ready for the competition, teenage SAGE teams are encouraged to utilize all available resources in their community. Two extremely valuable resources are (a) successful business, civic and education leaders to serve on their Business Advisory Board (BAB), and (b) college/university students who can serve as business consultants and mentors.
What Happens at a Tournament? –SAGE teams travel to a state, regional or national tournaments sometime between February and June each year. The tournaments are hosted by a university or SAGE Coordinator in the area. At the tournament SAGE teams are assigned to “leagues,” just like in athletic competitions. Each team presents the results of their year-long activities to a panel of judges. The SAGE team that is rated the highest in a country is known as the National SAGE Champion. More details can be obtained by downloading the SAGE Information Handbook.
In order for SAGE team members and their adult allies/sponsors/teachers to understand exactly how SAGE teams are evaluated, we provide the same materials to them as we do the judges, and we also invite the teachers to the judge’s briefing on the morning of the tournament.
At the tournament, each team makes a 35-minute live presentation to a panel of business experts (10 minutes set up and handout annual reports to judges, 13 minutes oral presentation, 7 minutes for questions and answers, and 5 minutes for exiting the room while the judges score the team).
Why Have Competitive Tournaments? – Competition changes the way people perform, usually resulting in higher quality and efficiency. According to renowned economist William Baumol, “Because of competition, survival in business meant not only continually coming up with better inventions, but putting them to use faster than your competitor.” SAGE encourages team competition, forcing students to continually improve existing activities and create new ones.
In David Bornstein’s book, How to Change the World, he says that, “Twenty years from now the citizen sector will not be fully mature, but it will be almost unrecognizably more mature. Many of the institutions that took business 300 years to develop will be well on their way to development because of analogy, because of a much wider base of educated people and because of a faster rate of change today. The citizen sector is, in fact, beginning to resemble a market economy of social ideas. In the past, citizen sector organizations have been isolated from the forces of head to head competition” (our emphasis added).
SAGE provides such competition. As Bornstein further states, “In a competitive landscape—when rewards follow the best performers—it takes only one innovative organization to send everyone else scrambling to upgrade their products and services lest they be left behind.”
The SAGE champion team will always send others scrambling to get better!
To get a better idea of what a SAGE Tournament is all about, go to each of the following links: