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How to submit a winning entry to the 2021 Innovation by Design Awards

Six tips for applying to the 10th annual Innovation by Design Awards

How to submit a winning entry to the 2021 Innovation by Design Awards
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Are you ready to enter Innovation by Design, the most prestigious competition honoring design in business? Great! Here are six tips on how to submit a winning entry.

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Clearly articulate the problem your project is trying to solve

Good design is about meeting needs. What unmet need does your design address? It can be big or small, or somewhere in between. All that matters is that it’s a real problem that demands a real solution. See last year’s honorees, for examples.

Explain why your solution is the best one

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How does your design solve the problem? And why is it the most logical solution? Our reviewers aren’t looking for novelty for novelty’s sake. We want original work that is rooted in specific user insights, whether it’s a groundbreaking new product or a significant update to a time-honored design. This is a good place to briefly explain your design process—how you arrived at the solution and what challenges you faced along the way.

Tell us why your design is important right now

The competition is a reflection of design innovation in 2021. Your project doesn’t have to have been designed in 2021, but it does need a timely peg. The competition is open to projects that came to market or were made public in the past year.

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Show us the impact

What is your design’s impact on users, business, culture, and the planet? Show, don’t tell. Provide hard numbers and facts.  If your design is a prototype, concept, or student project, walk us through the potential impact, being as precise as possible. This is also a good opportunity to show us that you’ve thought about any unintended consequences.

Submit your best visual assets

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Great images sell great ideas. Visual assets aren’t necessary to win an Innovation by Design Award, but they go a long way toward showing how you communicate your idea and what helps it gain traction in the market.

Use plain language

Avoid jargon and alphabet soup. Our reviewers and jurors come from a cross-section of backgrounds and areas of expertise, and the clearer and simpler the language in your application, the better they’ll be able to grasp your ideas. Write as if you’re explaining your project to a stranger you met on the street.

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The work of Innovation by Design honorees is seen by millions of people each year. Our hope is that by showcasing the most inspiring design ideas, we can elevate the profession and further deepen its impact. The deadline to enter is April 30. Enter today!

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D

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