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Queen's Awards: Innovation category - advice from a judge

Posted by: and , Posted on: - Categories: Advice, Innovation, Judges

Today we have Bonnie Dean contributing a guest blog about our Innovation category.

Bonnie Dean.

The Queens Award for Enterprise is a special distinction for the businesses which achieve it. It conveys a very positive message in all markets, particularly on the international stage.

It speaks volumes about the quality of the company and its commitment to innovation. Combined with effective PR and marketing, it helps to underline a company’s reputation, strengthen its brand and open new doors. Many companies have reported significant increases in turnover in international markets after they have received the award. A company’s size, whether it is a small to medium enterprise (SME) or a multinational, is no barrier to becoming a successful applicant.

However, it is often the smallest companies which benefit the most from achieving a Queens Award so it is important to raise awareness amongst SMEs.

I have been privileged to be involved as a panel member for the innovation category for two years and have found it a very rewarding experience. The assessment process is rigorous. It is only the companies which can supply the quality of evidence that make it through to the final panel review.

I have been inspired by the breadth of innovation across business sectors. Previous examples of innovations have ranged from complex, cross domain applications of technology to improvements in hair care chemicals.

When I am reviewing a company I look for evidence in several areas and to see that the innovation is not purely serendipitous. These include the financial impact of the innovation on the company’s overall financial performance, a structured approach such as evidence of planning and budgeting for innovation activities, scalability of the innovation and recognition of end user needs or trends.

The number of companies which invest in innovation on an annual basis is rising each year and this is most encouraging for UK plc.

It is a crucial element for any business in all sectors and it can take many different guises. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about the latest consumer-driven technology. Innovations that improve efficiency and productivity are just as important.

One thing is certain, innovation can be one of the primary ways in which a company differentiates itself from the competition and those that don’t do it risk being left behind.

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