An intriguing piece of research by the Design Council, an organisation that promotes design in the UK, has suggested that shares in companies that win awards are more likely to perform better than shares in non award winning companies. The Design Council created a 'Design Index' of shares in 61 stock market listed companies, all of which had been successful in various design awards. The results are dramatic: in the 10 years to the end of December 2004 the Design Index rose 263 per cent. By contrast, the FTSE100 index of leading companies rose 57 per cent over the same period. The aim of the project was to emphasise the role of creativity and design in boosting business performance. The awards criteria were drawn from four design competitions: the Design Effectiveness Awards sponsored by the Design Business Association; the D&AD awards, sponsored by the educational charity of the same name; the Interbrand league table of successful commercial brands; and the Design Council's own Millennium Products awards in 2000. In addition, a number of companies were selected by a panel of judges. This fascinating research raises a whole range of questions and issues, many of which are being analysed closely by the investment fund community. Perhaps the most significant is that awards are always retrospective - that is, by definition they recognise past performance - whereas good investments are always made in advance of, or in expectation of, good performance. Nevertheless it does seem to indicate the importance of awards in modern business.