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Author: Ross Butler
Written on: 01 January 2018
Last updated: 14 February 2018
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What is 'world class'?

Adjective: ‘Of or among the best in the world’ - Oxford English Dictionary

Judging anything to be “world class” is not straightforward. Over-use of the words does not help. We want to challenge the lazy use of “world class” and to identify where it is genuinely merited.

We seek out all those who can provide objective evidence that they are “of or among the best in the world” at what they do.

We are looking for collective, not individual, achievement. Any clearly identifiable organisation, business, institution, team, cluster, division or group can qualify.

There is no single universal metric. In our submission form we suggest criteria against which they might be weighed and measured. In some cases, the evidence will be clear - by medals won, by market share statistics, by numbers of customers. But “world class” doesn’t simply mean being top of a list. It can be as much about the organisation’s leadership and its capacity to innovate, its trustworthiness and long-term presence, the quality of its output and people, its reputation and the recognition of its peers. “World class” is about success on the world stage.

These criteria represent a starting point. We want to build as much rigour and robustness around the process as possible. We very much want to learn and benefit from the expertise and knowledge of others. But selection is also an editorial exercise.

We had to start somewhere. And we didn’t want to start with the obvious. Think of it like Film 4’s Great films you know, great films you don’t. To demonstrate the extraordinary variety and diversity of World Class Britain, you will find entities as diverse as the SAS and the Glastonbury Festival. There are specialist technology companies and pharmaceutical giants. Some organisations are household names. Others are pretty obscure (but we hope to change that).

We take the world as we find it. We do not stand in judgement over the activities of those included in World Class Britain. We do not apply an ethical investment prism. So weapons manufacturers sit alongside humanitarian charities.

Our goal is for our list to be living, dynamic and, importantly for Britain, one that grows in numbers. However, in a changing world it’s tough to stay at the top of your game, so admission onto the World Class Britain list is not necessarily permanent but neither is exclusion. We want you to be on it - just prove it.


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