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Real Innovation Awards Judging process

A shortlist of up to five per category is selected out of hundreds of nominations. While the judges determine a winner for each category, the People’s Choice voting runs in parallel. 

Selection process and judges 

There are two selection processes:

  • Judges’ choice: The Real Innovation Awards are judged by a panel of distinguished experts.

  • People’s choice: The public vote for their favourite nominee throughout September using an online voting platform.

Please see the Terms and Conditions for full details of the judging process. 

The confirmed judges for the 2018 awards are the following:


Julian Birkinshaw



Julian Birkinshaw is Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and Deputy Dean at the London Business School, and Academic Director of the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Academy of Social Sciences.

Professor Birkinshaw has written thirteen books, including Becoming a Better Boss and Reinventing Management. His new book, out in March 2017, is called Fast/Forward: Make Your Company Fit for the Future.

His research focuses on how large companies can become more innovative and agile in today’s turbulent business environment.

He came 43rd in last year’s “Thinkers 50” ranking of the top global business thinkers.

Luis Cilimingras


Luis Cilimingras is IDEO London's managing director. He is passionate about how technology and communication combine to drive behavioural change.

Since joining IDEO in 2010 Luis has led numerous projects, ranging from electric mobility to FMCG appliances, retail spaces or healthcare.

Luis recently returned to London after starting up an innovation studio for Intercorp, a large Peruvian conglomerate, creating new products, services and experiences for the country's emerging middle class.

An engineer by training, Luis served as head of digital innovation at Fiat Group, where he oversaw the development and launch of Fiat eco:Drive, the first mass-market connected car app.

Charlie Dawson

Charlie Dawson_1

Charlie Dawson is Partner at The Foundation.

He established The Foundation in 1999 and it has evolved into a consultancy helping clients solve their most difficult growth challenges by being more effectively customer-led.

To achieve this means bringing together skills usually found separately, in particular customer and business understanding. He was inspired by working on a new car company launch that did this by happy accident to great effect. The firm has long relationships with HSBC, Visa, M&S, O2 and the Volkswagen Group, and recent projects include helping Jaguar Land Rover keep more customers, helping Morrisons find ways to differentiate and compete strongly in future, and helping ebay get better at creating trust. <>

He previously worked in advertising and has a first class degree in Manufacturing Engineering from Cambridge.

Adam Gale


Adam Gale is Associate Web Editor at Management Today

There’s little Adam likes more than a good conversation about business. It’s a good thing really, as MT regularly sends its web editor to chew the fat with CEOs, management gurus, academics and coaches. When he’s not chatting with Sir Martin Sorrell about his Latin O Level or musing about multitasking over porridge with Charles Handy, he’s more often than not found ‘deep diving’ into analysis or trying to figure out how to make his computer work. Occasionally covers tech, ironically.

Sarah Wren



Sarah Wren MBE is CEO of Hertfordshire Independent Living Service (HILS), a social enterprise that provides home care to elderly and disabled people in Hertfordshire.

She joined the multi award-winning charity – which supports up to 2,000 people a day and delivers around 500,000 meals to residents’ homes each week – in June 2010. Other services include nutritional screenings and assisting people with physical or mental health problems.

Before joining HILS, Sarah lectured on business and management degree programmes and was chair of some of Hertfordshire’s charities.

Sarah was given an MBE in 2012 for her charitable work through HILS.

Jeff Skinner - Secretary to the judging committee



Jeff Skinner is Executive Director of the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at LBS and leads on many entrepreneurship courses and student innovation initiatives at the School.

Before LBS, Jeff was Commercial Director at University College London where he co-founded more than 30 technology-based spin outs that collectively raised more than £30 million in first round capital.

Prior to this Jeff led technology commercialisation at Hoechst Celanese Photonics in New Jersey and was photonics research manager at General Electric.


He holds a PhD in thin film photonics from UCL and a MBA from LBS.

Rachel Bell - Entrepreneur


Rachel Bell’s journey in innovation has taken her from school leaver to recipient of the coveted Sunday Times Best Leader in 2012. The name of her multiple award-winning PR business, Shine, reflects a guiding vision of success: to be “fantastic” at everything she does. 

Under this mantra and Bell’s stewardship, Shine and its associated businesses today employ 200+ staff with a turnover in excess of £20m.

A long-standing board member of the Public Relations Consultancies Association, Bell is ranked 4th in the UK PR Power Book published by PR Week and is the highest ranking independent practitioner in her field.