It was at the 1986 annual POD Network conference in Hidden Valley, Pennsylvania, that Marilla Svinicki and Marilyn Leach launched the Bright Idea Award (BIA). Their purpose was to recognize innovative ideas that improve learning and teaching, as well as enhance the general effectiveness of higher education faculty members. The basic intent was to share innovative ideas with the POD membership and encourage others to adapt the ideas for their own use, as well as to develop useful innovations themselves.
Continuing this tradition at each annual conference of the POD Network, the Bright Idea Awards were presented to participants who implemented creative ideas for the enhancement of teaching and learning and/or faculty development. In 2004, the name of the award was changed to the POD Innovation Award. Recipients are recognized at the Awards banquet and receive an engraved trophy.