The Real Innovation Awards

The hunt is on to find the truly innovative people and organisations who have been trailblazing a path to the future over the last 12 months. Now in their fifth year, The Real Innovation Awards don’t just celebrate the dynamos and the disrupters: the true history of innovation is littered with tales of hardship, hubris and happenstance – and change that reshapes the world as we know it. Shortlisting is now in progress and nominations are closed; please see below for information on the categories.

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. 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.

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