Judging innovation

There’s little question that judging a competition such as the Innovation in Business Awards is a daunting task. That’s why Smart Business assembled an all-star panel of judges, comprised of regional business leaders and former Innovation honorees.

Smart Business provided each judge with the complete nomination packages for more than 50 nominees and asked them to find five Visionaries and four Rising Stars based on the following criteria.

  • Scope of innovation: What was the new product or service, management style or corporate outlook, and what is its potential or staying power?
  • Impact of innovation: How did the innovative product, process or technique impact the individual organization?
  • Origin of innovation: Where did the idea come from, and how did management foster it?

Judges came together for a July meeting to discuss this year’s nominations and potential honorees. Judges then submitted their choices for Visionary and Rising Star awards.

Smart Business tabulated the picks and named the winners in each category. Five nominees who fell just short of these nine awards were named Innovators for their unique smart ideas. The 2005 judges were:

  • Barbara Danforth, executive director, YWCA of Cleveland
  • William Nemeth, CEO, Mirifex (2004 Rising Star honoree)
  • Jean Giafagna, president, Giafagna Marketing; former president, NAWBO Cleveland
  • John Nottingham, president, Nottingham-Spirk Design
  • Peter Tuttle, president, CareerBoard LLC (2004 Master Innovator)
  • Joseph LaGuardia, regional vice president, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield (conference title sponsor and co-founder)
  • Dustin S. Klein, executive editor, Smart Business Network (conference presenter and co-founder)