There are still Australians who can come up with clever ideas and are willing to invest enormous amounts of their energy and money to bring them to fruition. Sadly, in the past, some of the innovations have had to go offshore to be recognised – the coronary stent being a good example. But now the Consensus Innovation Awards provide a local platform for early recognition of Australian innovators and entrepreneurs.

Last week I was a judge at the inaugural Innovation Awards. It was an interesting experience. Ten judges from a wide range of backgrounds gathered in Sydney to listen to the finalists’ presentations then question and assess each one.

Some filtering had taken place before a small number of finalists where chosen to face the daunting task of presenting to the judging panel. We had all received detailed written submissions in advance of the presentations. The finalists spanned a range of products: an innovative development for evaporative air conditioning systems; a voice recognition system that promises to remove the need for passwords and personal information checks; a waste management planning/scheduling/tracking and reporting system based on mobile devices; and a high level collaborative life cycle tool.

It was fascinating to be involved in this process. We were a diverse group with experience in such areas as: venture capital; information technology; human resources; futurism; and patents. We evaluated not just the innovative aspect of each offering but also its performance and its potential; so business plans, funding, and approaches to distribution and company growth were as important as the innovativeness of the entry.

At the presentation dinner Senator Kate Lundy presented awards to the winners: ArmorVox and, two significant Australian innovations that are already having an impact both locally and overseas. Of course, not every entry could receive an award, but the dedication, energy and passion of each of the presenters was impressive and bodes well for the future of Australian innovations.

Written By Peter R Hill

Peter has been in the Information Services industry for more than forty years with broad experience covering a number of industries working in both Australia and New Zealand. He holds an MBA from LaTrobe University. For seventeen years Peter headed and was a director of the International Software Benchmarking Standards Group (ISBSG) a not-for-profit organisation with a mission of improving the performance of IT through the provision of project history data. He has served on a number of Boards of IT companies. In 2010 Peter became an non-executive director of Fenwick Software. Peter has been a speaker at conferences in Australia, Asia, Europe, Brazil and the USA.   He has had a number of articles published, covering key aspects of the Information Services industry.  He is a past Chairman, Secretary and Fellow of the Australian Computer Society. He is a member of the Committee of Management of Writers Victoria. Peter has compiled and edited five books, including: "Practical Software Project Estimation"  published by McGraw-Hill. In his leisure time, Peter enjoys motor sport and writing.

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