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The Real Innovation Awards

The nominations for Real Innovation Awards 2017 are now closed. The shortlist will be announced in September when the voting for the ‘People’s Choice’ awards will take place.

There are six categories, named to reflect the ways in which we think innovative products and services really come into being, driven by inspired individuals, teams and organisations.


About the awards

In 2016 we teamed up with our friends at Management Today to create the Real Innovation Awards. They were designed to highlight and celebrate the real, messy business of innovation – a process that’s a world away from what most people imagine it to be.

Firstly, innovation is the wellspring of change. Without a constant supply of clever, creative and fresh ways of doing things, the engine of economic progress would grind to a halt.

Secondly, other awards for innovation tend to describe a simplified, sanitised and inaccurate view of the process. Yes, whizzy new products and visionary leadership are important, but they aren’t the whole story: real innovation is messy, uncertain and serendipitous. And so the Real Innovation Awards was born – an award scheme designed to showcase the authentic, haphazard and exciting business of real innovation and to identify and celebrate those people and organisations who exemplify the way it really works.

What's in it for the winners?

In a word – recognition. Winners will be feted by Management Today and LBS, with an exclusive awards presentation ceremony to be held at London Business School in November and a special feature in Management Today publication that has 150,000 business readers – plus appearances in LBS’s own journal the London Business School Review and website. Not only that, MT and LBS will promote both winners and shortlisted entries online via stories on their must-read website, daily news bulletin and extensive 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 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 a 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 running in parallel:

  • Judges’ choice: A panel of expert judges picks the category winners from the shortlisted entries.

  • People’s choice: The public is invited to vote for their favourite nominee using an online voting platform.


“Never give up – and follow your heart”

Watch this short film to see what else our 2016 winners had to say on the night they were presented with their awards.