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Judging the INCITE Awards

Have you ever wondered “What’s the judging process for entering and winning the INCITE Awards?” In this post, Celia Jordaan, the Chief Judge for the INCITE Awards, takes us through the rigour of the judging process that every year has resulted in many WA digital players recognised for their innovation – locally, nationally and internationally.

Introduction: our judging process

We go through a thorough two staged process to determine our WA winners and merit award winners.  We select a limited number of finalists to go through to stage 2 and to become winners and merit award winners. It is a tough competition and therefore we need to make sure that we have the right processes and checks and balances in place to ensure that the process we use will select worthy finalists, winners and merit award winners.

The INCITE Awards cover both product/project categories (e.g. Social Impact) as well as honorary categories (e.g WA Entrepreneur of the Year).

The stage 1 project/product category judging has always been an online judging process.

With the stage 2 project/product category judging, we will do this in a face to face to virtual format, the latter allowing us to continue the process and continue to recognise and showcase the excellence during COVID last year. The swift action on the part of the INCITE management committee during COVID allowed us to lead the pack in terms of the process to be followed, whilst still ensuring that we follow a due and diligent process – as we have always done.

The INCITE Awards Judges

Every year, the INCITE Awards identifies and invites up to as many as 60 industry peers to be part of the judging panel. Our judges are industry leaders, executive level representatives from our sponsoring businesses and organisations, past Achiever of the Year and Pearcey Award recipients and educators.

We want to make sure that there is consistency, fairness and due process in the way how we determine the stage 1 finalists and the ultimate winners and merit award winners.

We do this through:

  1. Careful selection of judges from industry with the appropriate skills and experience to judge the different categories (as per above)
  2. In selecting the judging panels, we make sure that there is segregation of information – information on entrants, scoring etc is managed in accordance with approval levels and there is no cross-pollution of information
  3. Judges are screened for conflicts of interest – not only actual but also potential or perceived conflict of interest
  4. All judges are bound to confidentiality.
  5. Sponsors are not allowed to be judging in any categories where they may have a potential conflict or an entry.

In order to maximise the value for our finalists, we have reduced the time of the presentation but have increased the time for questions from the judges. We find that the peer review and questions from the judges provide real value to the finalists and often result in some interesting information.

This is a fairly intensive process, requiring every finalist to work on their presentation, public speaking and business acumen. Key part of the process is for the finalists to clearly articulate what sets them apart and why their product/project deserves to be recognised and showcased as winner or merit award winner.

The Chief Judge provides oversight on the judging in order to ensure consistency and rigour in the process. Once the judging is completed, the lead judges provide the scoring to the Chief Judge with recommendations for winners and merit award winners.

All judging is then reviewed by the Chief Judge to ensure that there is consistency, we avoid potential conflicts of interest, issues are resolved and that we have followed a diligent judging process. The results are kept confidential and on a need-to-know basis and is not made available other than in preparation for the awards night.

Winners and Merits for each award category will be determined from phase 2 judging, with results revealed on the night of the Gala Presentation Awards Night, normally in July.

Finally, the INCITE Awards is a competitive process to showcase excellence in WA. With the rigour we apply to our process, we ensure a fair, consistent and thorough approach in how we judge the INCITE Awards.

As a result of our process we make sure that every finalist, merit award winner and/or winner can proudly display their achievement as they can be assured of the integrity and rigour around the process.

More information

If you are interested in finding out more about the INCITE Awards’ judging process, please get in touch with the events team who will be able to assist with your questions: [email protected]