Do We Need Awards in the Event Industry?

Why are the event awards important for the industry? A question for James Morgan, who is, just like myself, one of the jury members of the Eventex Awards. A worldwide and online initiative to crown the best events.

Kevin Van der Straeten
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Why are the event awards important for the industry? A question for James Morgan, who is, just like myself, one of the jury members of the Eventex Awards. A worldwide and online initiative to crown the best events. 


Hi James, welcome to our studio.   


Welcome, thank you Kevin.  


You are one of the jury members of the Eventex Awards. Maybe to start with: why do you think awards are important for our industry? 


Kevin, I think... Well, I know awards are important, because if you're pitching to a client, one of the parts of your pitch is to deal with the professionalism and the credibility of your company, and the products and services that you provide. And one of the great ways to demonstrate that is if you're in a fine listing in awards, if you win an award, it's one of those things to add value to that credibility and professionalism.  


At the same time there are many awards. Some of them are really serious. Others are...   


Yeah... That's an interesting question, and I think what me or you as a person who's entering the awards needs to be conscious about, is the credibility of the awards' competition itself. You also have to be conscious about the marketplace within which you work, because this is a global industry, and if you're working globally, then you want to enter awards all around the country, rather than just looking at: "this is the only place I work. These are the awards I need to enter". So whilst people in Europe, that work all around Europe, want to enter Eventex, because it's a truly internationally recognised awards ceremony and competition, people who do events globally should be entering that. then we have awards competitions that are just done for particular countries, or more commonly run by publications that are native to a particular country.  


Okay great, why did you accept to be a jury member?   


That's a good question, and the best way for me to explain that is from my position in the industry and as being an academic in teaching Events Management, Events Design and Production. It's my one job and my other job is running an incubator for event technology start-ups. I know from the start-ups that the technology, the format of events, the way we manage events, is changing continually. In academia we have research papers and textbooks that take 1 to 2 to 3 years, from the writing stage to the publication stage. So we've got students that are always trying to catch up with what the latest things are in the industry. By me judging these awards, I can see what's new out there, what's important out there, what trends there are. So for me it's a learning exercise as well as using my judgment in terms of: these are credible professional well-managed events.  


The Eventex Awards are mainly an online award. How difficult do you find it to... Well you're not able to participate in real-life at all those events, so you need to judge them purely based on materials submitted online. How difficult is it for you to get into those events and to judge them?   


Well, it's down to the actual award entry and the way it's written, the supplementary materials or evidence that's provided along with that award, to actually tell the story of that event. Some people do that incredibly well, and some people do quite badly. So what you have to do is: you can't just say: "well, you've done that well, but actually the event was not a great idea". So you have to read between the lines. So yes, you do go on the evidence, but then what I do personally is also try to look for press or tweets or things around those events, to see what other evidence is out there, so I can make more rounder judgment.  


What, apart from the general criteria, are the things you are looking for specifically in the events you judge?   


My personal passion is for the way people can re-purpose creativity, technology, processes from other disciplines; say architecture, interior design, pure design, construction and temporary constructions, and use that to create better experiences. That's the first thing. The second thing that I'm passionate about is changing the format and the way things are done so that they become more effective, and that we can personalise those experiences to individuals. Each individual has a relevant experience at your event. So we do see formats changing. We do see new technologies, new processes coming into things. For me that's the exciting part. The Eventex Awards are different in many ways.  


I already said they are mainly online. You already mentioned they're global. But one of the other things that is important in this award show is the transparency on the judging reports and things like that. How do you think about that?   


I think it's excellent to have transparency. Because a lot of time and effort goes into creating the events, and a lot of time and effort goes into creating the entry for the awards. And I think that in a way the people that have written those entries or produced those events need some kind of feedback from experts in the field. And normally that feedback should be helpful to the way that they can progress in either the events they do or the awards entries that they write in the future. 


We have one last thing to talk about. Besides the awards there is the awards ceremony. How does that happen, because it's a worldwide events award: not everybody can come over there. How does that work?   


Well, the way the organisers have done this in the past... Last year I was there for the first time and the way that they did it is they had live-streaming of the award ceremony and they included the entertainment that they had in the breaks and stuff like that. So whilst people might not have been able to be there in a live sense, they certainly were able to attend in a virtual sense, to see who was winning the awards, who was nominated, and to take in the atmosphere and the fun of the evening. And I think that was a very good job they did on that and the quality of the feed was excellent. 


I'm looking forward to the awards again. Thank you for your time.   


Okay Kevin, thank you.  


And you at home: thank you for watching our show. I hope to see you next week!