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Editor's comment: "Tales of innovation and collaboration"

We as an industry should spend more time sharing our experiences and our ambitions, says Andrew Gaved

In last month’s RAC I shared the excitement we were all feeling at the introduction of the face to face presenting round to the Cooling Awards. Now it is over, I can safely say that it has exceeded expectations.

The job of co-ordinating 53 judges and almost 100 presentations over the course of six days was a bit of a test of nerve.

We are not a large industry, which of course means: a) many people are required to fulfil several roles, and b) everyone is perennially busy.

My nightmare was that a heatwave or big supermarket crisis would wipe out half my entrants in the space of
a morning.

In the event, the logistics all went pleasingly well, thanks to the sterling efforts of our Awards organisers, and we only lost three or four people to last minute alarm calls.

As excuses for withdrawals go, it was hard to top ‘an audience with the President of Tanzania’ though (step forward IOR president Graeme Maidment).

There is no doubt that requiring people to come to present demanded a major commitment from the industry – effectively making you all not only prepare the entry a second time around, but demanding you come and deliver it in person – and so we are really grateful to all of you who did make the effort to attend.

Particular respect goes to the multiple presenters, Messrs Mitchell and Vallis, who were in the RAC offices almost as often as we were during the week.

I also hope that you found it a valuable use of time and expense, because our judges really appreciated the whole new experience.

They appreciated the chance to see the entries leap off the page and brought to life – in many presentations they had the chance to hear directly from the chief developer of the product or the person leading the project.

They also welcomed the opportunity to have a proper dialogue about the entry, asking the questions that came to mind at that moment, rather than having to make assumptions on the basis of the entry form, as they did in the ‘old days.’

The presenters that did best were the ones who used their time slot to bring out the best in their entries, distilling just why they should win the category – and not just dictating their Powerpoints.

However, there were a few – all salespeople, I have to report – who didn’t seem to realise what they were pitching for.

One judge noted as a contender left the room “I think he was a bit disappointed we didn’t buy anything.”

Rest assured we will be working on some guidance for next year.

All of this, should, I hope, convince you that the Cooling Awards have a certain gravitas to them – that you have been part of something bigger than just a paperwork exercise.

But more than that, I wonder whether we don’t do this ‘dialogue’ thing enough as an industry.

As businesses we don’t get together too much, and perhaps the result is too much time developing things within the four walls of our own companies. There was certainly a real buzz just from the simple process of sharing the stories and having conversations about the process.

Maybe we should keep up
the sharing.

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