Meet the advisors: 2021 Awards for Excellence

James Riley
Editorial Director

There are a lot of awards programs in tech and innovation in this country. But the celebrations don’t always reflect the key attributes of new companies and new industries that will help underwrite a transition to a more complex economy that derives wealth from its intellectual muscle.

With the launch of the InnovationAus 2021 Awards for Excellence, we tried to take a fresh look at what’s important, and what the nation must get behind in building a successful innovation ecosystem.

We are well beyond the celebration of the shiny. We are looking to put a huge spotlight on companies and organisations with the outstanding attributes that will collectively change Australia.

We’re calling our gala awards ceremony in Sydney on November 18 a Commercial Disco – and a disco it most certainly will be! – but we have built these awards on a serious foundation of rigour and ambition.

Awards for Excellence 2021
The InnovationAus Awards for Excellence expert advisory panel

The idea for the Commercial Disco is all about this program of Commercial Discovery. It is about identifying and celebrating those genuine Australian heroes who have built on an idea, who have enjoyed commercial success or social impact or both, who have taken research and turned it into product.

In consultation with our expert Advisory Board, we have chosen to focus these awards on five key judging criteria. Our advisors are:

  • Professor Roy Green – UTS Innovation, Chair Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Hub, Chair Port of Newcastle
  • Luli Adeyemo – Founder/Director Best Case Scenario, and Director, TechDiversity Foundation
  • David Wright – Executive Chair Rozetta Technologies and Managing Director Aqua Ventures
  • Claire McFarland – Honorary Associate United States Studies Centre
  • Adrian Beer – Chief Executive, METS Ignited Industry Growth centre
  • Dianna Somerville – Chair Regional Development Australia Riverina, Founder Regional PitchFest
  • Phil Morle – Partner Main Sequence Ventures and Chair V2 Foods
  • Wilma James – Founder and Innovation Adviser Profitable Innovation

These experts helped us to shape what was important. They are a diverse group from different geographies and disciplines and areas of focus. But we are hugely grateful for the input. The judging of the 11 categories will hinge on five criteria based on the expert feedback.

Commercial success
Judges will review what commercial success looks like for your organisation, your export potential and success stories within the international marketplace. We want to see evidence of your company’s track record in creating a product or service, then effectively selling to domestic and/or international markets. It’s a Commercial Discoveery after all.

Translation of intellectual property
Intellectual property (IP) is developed in different environments and there are many strategies to successfully bring the research outputs to market. Judges will reward excellence in the translation of IP – through programs that enable successful research collaborations across various sectors as well as those companies that continue to develop IP internally.

What is your company’s impact on its sector? Does your product or service take Australian smarts and create new jobs and wealth for the nation, or make the lives of citizens better? Does your innovation inspire through originality and ambition? Judges will review how entrants are aligning their success measures –such as addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals or CSIRO’s Challenge Missions.

Non-R&D innovations
We will also be looking for business innovations that have helped your organisation translate its IP for commercial or societal success. Elements will include your organisation’s business strategy, a successful pivot, or its adaptability to major challenges, risk or unexpected outcomes. It will look at your leadership and human resources strategy and all the other non-R&D factors that are vital to successful growth.

Applied technologies
Judges also want to hear stories of organisations that have adapted or pivoted research and innovations to build a product or service for an entirely different sector. What horizonal applications of these particular technologies have been used to solve a challenge? How are they themselves consumers of emerging tech to create new products?

The Awards are now open and accepting entries. Early-bird entries will be accepted up to 5pm on Wednesday June 30. The FINAL DEADLINE for submissions is 5pm Wednesday July 21.

The judging panel will be unveiled later in the program. It is worth noting that no InnovationAus staff will be involved in the judging.

These awards are not a single night of celebration. It is a six-month program of activities – from articles to podcasts to video profile – aimed at giving maximum exposure to the bright stars of our ecosystem.

Enter now and enjoy the ride! See you at the disco.

The 2021 InnovationAus Awards for Excellence has been made possible with the support of our foundation sponsors – Verizon Business Group, Sitecore, Squiz, Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC), Mimecast, Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (DHCRC), Agile Digital, Microsoft Australia, CSIRO and Wrays.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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