Describe the issue in a clear narrative
Was this ‘something nice that you did’ or was there a genuine problem or area for improvement?
Make sure you show how your initiative fits into the overall strategy of the Business School. Think of the judges as your reader; tell the story in a lively, compelling way to bring it to life.
Show there is a business benefit. Innovation doesn’t have to be big and expensive, but it should make a difference. Remember to include the budget. It’s hard for judges to assess a strategy without understanding how much money was available. Entries without a cited budget often fail to be shortlisted for this reason alone.
Provide all the information requested
If you miss any out it’s hard for the judges to compare your entry to others. Judges often report suspecting there was a more compelling, impressive strategy lurking just out of reach.
But they can only judge what’s been described – even where they know the strategy is in reality more impressive and the submission doesn’t do it justice. Don’t rely on your success story being widely known within business education circles. To reiterate: judges can only judge what they’ve been given.
Describe the results and impact with data
Include business critical metrics and softer benefits. Be clear on the measurable outcomes, but remember this doesn’t mean throwing numbers around – just relevant ones.
Read the criteria on which the award will be judged… and make sure your entry covers all of them
Perhaps include sub headings listing the criteria. This might make it easier for the judges to get the full picture.
Show involvement right across the Business School
A real indicator of an impactful strategy is when a CEO or other business leader comments on the value of the work you’ve done. And of course comments from those employees whose working lives have been impacted by your work are always a strong indicator of excellence.
Check spelling and grammar
This is about excellence and that includes attention to detail. Judges won’t be inclined to look favourably on sloppy work. Don’t let an unprofessional, difficult-to-read submission detract from some great content. Also, make sure you fill in the box just above the entry summarising why you should win; you would be surprised how many don’t.
The judges spend hours reading and discussing the submissions and it never goes down well when it looks like an entrant hasn’t bothered to complete the forms properly.
Don’t be afraid to enter something that may not appear innovative
Even if it’s not overly innovative on the surface, is it something you did in a creative way? Context is everything.
Make sure the entry comes from the Business School
We understand you might want to get help writing your entry, but ones that are submitted by suppliers or PR agencies don’t tend to do as well as those that come from the Business School team themselves.
Getting to the heart of the story and the impact the strategy had will only come to life if submitted by the people who made it happen. Agencies may polish your entry, but be sure it comes from the team who actually implemented it.
Make sure the entry itself contains all the relevant material
Supporting material should be just that: to support your entry, but not crucial to judges’ understanding of it.
Entering a submission in the wrong category
You’d be surprised how often we move entries into a category all judges agree makes more sense, but this won’t always be possible.
Often the way the entry is written, and the details provided, means that although the judges can see it’s really a CSR strategy, say, rather than an innovation one, it can be hard to move successfully.
So, think and think again: is this really a CSR strategy, or should it have been entered in the innovation category?
Submitting self-serving ‘aren’t we marvellous’ entries
These don’t fare well with our judges. Remember modesty is a virtue…
Making the submission too long
Some categories have 20 or more shortlisted entries, so you want yours to be easy to read and understand…and memorable. Don’t send reams of appendices, particularly where the information isn’t relevant.
Making the submission too short
If you only write a few lines of text, with no clear explanation, our judges will probably dismiss the entry. Please don’t expect the panel to read between the lines and assume how great your strategy is, if you don’t take the time to tell them
Writing entries in textbook speak
Submissions that seem like they could have come straight from a management textbook won’t capture our judges’ imaginations and often confuse as to what’s actually been done and achieved.
Entering an initiative too soon
Often judges will all be in agreement that a School is doing some good things, but it seems the strategy has been entered just a year or two too early, i.e. before the team’s had chance to measure and reflect on results. So ask yourself if it would be better to wait another year to build up more supporting evidence.
Submitting exactly the same entry, word for word, in several categories
It’s fine to enter the same strategy in more than one category. But make sure you tailor your entries. Some judges will be judging both categories, and they will want to see some thought as to why each submission has been entered.