The Real Innovation Awards

This could get messy, so get your nomination in now

The build-up to the Real Innovation Awards 2019 has begun and the search to find the seriously innovative people and organisations of the past 12 months is underway.

Now in its fourth year, if there is one thing the Awards have taught us, it is that the true history of innovation can sometimes read more like a Grimms’ fairy tale than a glossy cover feature, with more blood, sweat and tears than a full box set of Nordic noir – even if the heroine does emerge triumphant in the end.

That’s why the Real Innovation Awards seek out and celebrate the individuals, companies and organisations who have been there and lived to tell the tale.

So, if you know someone who has managed to bring real innovation to the marketplace, whether through brilliance, bravado or sheer ballsiness, nominate them now for the category that best describes their story.

Categories are below and nominations are open. The deadline is 12:00 BST on Monday 27 May 2019. It’s time to get real…


What's in it for the winner? 

Winners will be feted by LBS, with an exclusive awards presentation ceremony to be held at London Business School in November – plus appearances in LBS’s own journal the London Business School Review and website. Winners and shortlisted entries will be promoted online and through our social media feeds (#RealInnovationAwards).


Read about the past year's winners


There are six categories in the Real Innovation Awards.

  • The If At First You Don’t Succeed Award celebrates learning through failure.
  • The Masters of Reinvention Award is for the individual or company that most successfully reinvented itself through cannibalising its existing business.
  • The Best Beats First Award is about taking an idea, running with it and becoming the leader.
  • The winner of the George Bernard Shaw Unreasonable Person Award is an individual who has shown ridiculous obstinacy to get their idea or product to succeed.
  • The Alexander Fleming Serendipity Award celebrates success sparked by an accidental discovery.
  • And because sometimes timing is everything, we give the Harnessing the Winds of Change Award to an individual or venture that grabs what’s coming round the corner and makes it their own.

Selection process

A shortlist of up to five entries is selected for each category. The shortlist is announced online in September when the judges meet to decide on the final winners and the public vote for the People’s Choice goes live.

Please see the full Terms and Conditions for further eligibility criteria and details of the process.

There are two selection processes:

  • The Judges’ Choice. The Real Innovation Awards are judged by a panel of distinguished experts, who determine a winner in each category. The winner will be announced at London Business School on 14 November 2019.


  • The People’s Choice. Voting for the People’s Choice runs in parallel to the selection of the Judges’ Choice, with the public voting for their favourite nominee throughout September using an online voting platform.



“Real innovation happens at every level of business”

Watch this short film to see what else our 2018 winners had to say on the night they were presented with their awards.


People's choice winners

Read about the Real Innovation Awards 2018 People' Choice Winners

Read More

Innovation case studies

Read our case studies to discover what impressed us so much about these innovative companies that we gave them an award

Read More

Real Innovation Awards 2017: Judges' Choice winners

03 Nov 2017

Our judging panel has reached its verdict. Did our experts agree with the public?

Read now

Real Innovation Awards 2017 People's Choice winners

03 Oct 2017

The public has had its say. Which of this year’s shortlisted nominees earned the most votes?

Read now