The Real Innovation Awards

The Real Innovation Awards celebrate the real heroes and the real stories that make innovation happen. We know innovation can be haphazard, slow and serendipitous, and rarely follows a smooth straight path. Innovation calls for tenacious and passionate people with vision to make it happen.

Every year these awards select the inspirational best from these ranks.

The 2019 People’s Choice and Judges' Choice was revealed at the awards dinner on 14th November. Check who the winners are.

Learn more about our shortlist, the judging and the awards ceremony in November.

What's in it for the winner? 

Winners will be fêted at a prestigious awards presentation ceremony at London Business School in November and will feature in London Business School Review and the LBS website. Winners and shortlisted entries will also be promoted online and through our social media feeds (#RealInnovationAwards).


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. Both sets of winners are revealed at an awards ceremony and dinner held at London Business School in November.


  • 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.


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“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.

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