Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 11.01.03I have been a jury member for Quadriga’s Digital Communication Awards in 2014 and 2015 and, prompted by fellow jury member Aurélie’s post about this year’s awards, here are a few thoughts about the awards this year, and what projects might like to do to stand a chance of winning in 2016. I also was filmed about this back in 2014 – video on Youtube here.

First a word about the jury process on the day – the jury is divided up into teams of five, and each time judges 4 or 5 award categories (from the 30 or so categories in the awards in total). The day as a jury member is fascinating, but with presentations following each other so swiftly the emphasis from each presenter ought to be to make something stand out in the jury members’ minds – by the end of the day what came before can become a bit fuzzy. Sorry – we’re only human!

I’m struck that the room for real innovation in digital communications may be narrowing; there may just be fewer really radical ideas around these days. So tell the jury what your project does especially well, why does it stand out from the crowd. We know large firms / small firms / NGOs / relationship between management and PR agencies (delete as applicable) are complicated – tell us instead why you are really good, what your project does especially well. Also be aware that you might be up against projects with much larger or much smaller budgets than your project – hence emphasise why your project is good for value on its own.

Also I’d advise you bring along your own computer, and with a old style VGA-output, to make your presentation (HDMI also theoretically works, but is more of a pain in my experience). That way you can have rehearsed how your presentation will look and work before you give it, rather than relying on the technology provided in the jury rooms. Also please go easy on video – as a jury member we want to hear from you as people, not watch a pre-prepared film. Video for context, OK. Video to explain yourselves, no.

If you have something that the rest of the world cannot normally see – an intranet for example, or an app that is context specific – bring it along and hand it around. Let the jury have a feel for what the project is like.

So to the projects this year, and what to learn from them (full winner list is here). I judged the categories Employer Branding and Recruitment Campaign, Website, Intranet and Mobile Apps. In Employer Branding, Bosch was a worthy winner with “Bosch World Experience 2014“, an excellent but not groundbreaking project that was impeccably executed, and very well presented to the jury. In the Website category I was very happy to see the Flemish Red Cross win the award – their new site structured and re-organised a very complicated organisation’s web presence, and did it in a very cost effective way. Their website design alone would not win an award, but the overall project was very cost effective and well structured and organised – that’s why it won in my eyes. Intranet was a very complex category – with large and small projects up against each other. Jyske Bank won, while I was personally more impressed with SPIE and UCB‘s systems (no links to either as they’re intranets, and hence not public).

Which leads me to the most extraordinary category I judged – Mobile Apps. Here three super projects were presented – AkzoNobel’s Visualiser, Audi’s TT Brochure Hack, and Norway’s Directorate of Health’s Slutta anti-snus and anti-smoking app. All of these were brilliant in their own ways – the tech involved in Visualiser and TT Brochure Hack is extraordinary in both cases. I’m glad to see that Visualiser won innovation of the year (more about that app here), and I am sad to see Audi did not pick up any award. Visualiser’s wider application of cutting edge technology put them a fraction ahead of Audi, but the conductive print and bluetooth connection in the Audi project (tech developed by Novalia) will be finding its way to books near you soon. That leaves us then with Slutta crowned as app of the year. Perhaps not as cutting edge as the other two, but with a major impact in Norway to reduce the use of snus and reduce smoking, the app makes clever use of the addictiveness of mobile and the addictiveness of tobacco to deliver a very (cost) effective app. The source code will also be made available openly so other countries can develop their own.

So there you have it – my summary of the 2015 awards, and some things presenters can possibly learn. Here’s to an even higher standard in 2016!

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