Over the course of time, innovators have introduced new ideas into existence to transform the way we live, the way we work and the way we play. New Zealanders have been at the forefront of this, from pilot Jean Batten’s recording-breaking solo flights, to AJ Hackett launching himself off the Eiffel Tower via a bungy jump. Idealog celebrated New Zealand's wide array of creative individual last year when it launched 'Idealog's Most Creative'. This year it's showcasing New Zealand's most forward-thinking companies through 'Idealog's Most Innovative'.
Some may say this is a futile quest, as innovation is one of the most overused – and misused – words in the business world (The Uber of yet another industry? Ground-breaking) But we’re confident we know a truly innovative company when we see it. After all, we have been writing about game-changing New Zealand businesses for 12 years at Idealog – heck, we even wrote a nine-part series instructing people how to innovate.
We also know that while there is an obvious attraction to the new, innovation isn’t always about large-scale projects or revolutionary business models. A simple idea can be transformative, too. Take Allbirds making a shoe out of wool, or KidsCoin teaching children about money through a virtual currency.
So, how do we define what’s innovative? We’re looking for companies that have broken away from the standard modes of thinking and are embracing the transformative power of creativity, technology and design to solve an issue facing the world today.
But it goes further than that. We don’t just want to hear about great ideas in theory, we want to see how businesses are actually implementing and executing them to the best of their abilities. After all, the greatest innovators don’t let transformational ideas be born and die in isolation – they try, try and try again, going through many iterations until they arrive at a refined and perfected idea.
Or as Sir James Dyson, the inventor of the first bagless vacuum cleaner, the Ballbarrow wheelbarrow, the Dyson Airblade and countless other products put it: “It's the unlikely juxtaposition of creativity and logic which causes the wooliness and confusion around the term 'innovation'. Everybody wants to be innovative, many companies and ideas are proclaimed to be innovative and no one doubts that innovation is a money spinner. And, thus, we are all looking for the magic formula. Well, here you go: creativity + iterative development = innovation.”
So, do you have what it takes to stand out in your sector as one of the Most Innovative?
Note: it's $100 to enter the Most Innovative Company categories, while the special categories are free, as we want to encourage people to nominate friends, relatives, co-worker or bosses for categories such as Most Innovative Leader.
Applications for entries open today and close Thursday 25 October, with the winners being announced in Idealog’s upcoming Innovation Issue and online.
The full list of categories to enter is below.
Most Innovative Company categories:
- Architecture/Urban design
- Health and Science
- Retail and Hospitality
- Social enterprise/Charity
- Most innovative leader
- Most promising innovator
- Best Collaboration
- Best Emerging Business/New Brand
- Long-Term Innovation Excellence