The path of innovation does not always run smooth. In fact, it hardly ever does – so how do you evaluate the many components that go into making a truly revolutionary new product or service? Is the idea the key ingredient? Or is it the drive, energy and determination to make it happen? Vote now to have your say in who should win the most innovative company or individual in this year’s awards.
Visionary science-fiction writer and futurist Arthur C Clarke famously said, “The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.” This year, the entries for the Real Innovation Awards could all qualify for that description.
Whether it’s an online news channel’s ambitious attempt to counter fake news; converting cow dung into green biomass energy in India; a logistics platform providing quality medicines to almost half a million patients in Africa; a free, global, online language-learning app; add-on handbikes using technology from cycling and electric vehicles that can be connected to wheelchairs; a modular data-storage system that could have the same effect on fighting the ‘data tsunami’ as penicillin once had on repelling bacterial infections; or a digital platform to provide financial services to Nigeria’s 58 million unbanked adults, the shortlisted nominations for the 2020 Real Innovation Awards all show a profound entrepreneurial spirit, allied to the determination to make the world a better place for us all.
In fact, because the response from the business community to the global pandemic has been so impressive in scope, speed and scale, this year we have introduced a new category to the awards, ‘Innovation in Adversity’, which recognises innovations forged in response to difficult circumstances.
Nominations for the category include a remarkable case of cross-industry ‘collaboration for innovation’ in Turkey (involving the mass production of mechanical ventilators to combat COVID-19 worldwide) and a hospital in England that – in another impressive example of multi-disciplinary cooperation for the common good – is using recombinant innovation to vastly improve oxygen machines to treat COVID-19 patients at scale.
The CEO of one of this year’s finalist business said: “In times of crisis we must all come together for the greater good,” and that, it seems, is what so many innovative companies and individuals, both long-established corporates and embryonic startups, are doing today around the world.
The Real Innovation Awards will also include five established categories – from the Alexander Fleming Serendipity Award for recognising surprise discoveries, through to the Harnessing the Winds of Change award for firms that have picked up successfully on a new technology or consumer trend. “Every year, we are pleasantly surprised by the diversity of nominations,” says Julian Birkinshaw, co-founder of the awards. “This gives us an opportunity to showcase many unknown stories of innovation from across the world.”
This year’s finalists:
The finalists for the Alexander Fleming Serendipity Award who built their business ideas that originated from the most unexpected circumstances are:
Agromillora Group, bio-bean, Instabug, Invisibobble, Swiss Vault Systems
Best Beats First Award is for those who improved existing offering to become the leaders. The finalists this year are:
Bloom & Wild, BrewDog, Down Dog, Duolingo, Term Finance Holdings
George Bernard Shaw Unreasonable Person Award, selected for their determination and perseverance finalists are:
Abbas Dayekh (OyaNow), Alexander Rinke (Celonis), Charles Macharia (Mash Foundation), Sim Shagaya (uLesson), Simon Mottram (Rapha), Tomilola Adejana (Bankly)
Harnessing the Winds of Change, is for those who identify upcoming trends fast enough to take advantage. This year the finalists are:
Avataar.me, De Correspondent, Lemonade Insurance, Vault Platform
If at First You Don’t Succeed Award recognises those that translate learnings from past failures into successful outcomes. The finalists are:
Arth, Field Intelligence, Perkbox, Segment, Swiggy
Innovation in Adversity Award, is for those who reacted to a crisis and reconfigured their organisations to meet an urgent societal need. Finalists include:
Arçelik, Batec Mobility, Bit Source, Cheetah, Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals
So, get behind their efforts and vote now for your choice as we celebrate those people and organisations who exemplify the way innovation really works.
As another English writer and visionary said, “What is now proved was once only imagined.” We can only imagine who would have got William Blake’s vote in this year’s Real Innovation Awards – but we would really love to get yours.