Yes, it's time to reveal this year's SMART 100 index.
What is the SMART 100?
In true Anthillian style, the SMART 100 is an ever-evolving, ever-improving experiment.
Designed to encourage, promote and support innovation in Australia, it identifies and ranks new Australian innovations by applying a combination of crowdsourcing, collaboration and common-sense.
Unlike your average awards program, we don't lock a panel of expert adjudicators in a small room. Neither do we demand a thorough analysis of each applicant's P&L statement. We don't even request an historical snapshot of 'runs on the board' or commercial achievements.
This is because innovation is future focused. It is about identifying and solving problems in ways that will change the way we live, do business and think.
What was the process?
Anthill readers were invited to submit detailed applications by completing open-ended questions, such as...
This innovation improves on what came before because…
The outcomes of these applications were amalgamated and short-listed to assemble the Top 100. These profiles were uploaded to the Anthill website for judging.
Applicants were invited to seek endorsements from friends, clients and colleagues to determine Anthill's SMART 100 Readers' Choice Awards.
At the same time, over 100 'maven' judges were invited to judge 10 applications each, using an online tool developed by Anthill to reflect a set of eight, individually weighted, criteria.
So, what’s a maven?
Most people define a maven as a trusted expert in a particular field. The word comes from the Yiddish meyvn and Hebrew mevin (מבֿין), with the same meaning, which in turn derives from the Hebrew binah, meaning understanding.
For our purposes, a maven also means a person who seeks to pass on this knowledge to others – an intense gatherer of information and impressions, the first to pick up on new or nascent trends and share them.
Mavens play a vital role in the commercial success of new products and services.
Unlike early-adopters, who are attracted to any new technology, mavens are more discerning. They are thoughtful in their approach to the adoption of innovations and that is why they are often turned to as trusted advisers.
A successful innovation may be attractive to your average early-adopter but mavens are the people who will bring a successful innovation into the mainstream.
As a result, Anthill's SMART 100 are not chosen simply due to the novel or unique nature of the innovations but because of the potential of each to achieve consumer adoption and commercial success.
What were the criteria?
In addition to the the obvious (Is this innovation unique? How similar or different do you think the idea is to other products / services that are currently available to its target market?), Anthill's criteria delved into areas of equal importance not normally acknowledged by other innovation award programs.
For example, Anthill's criteria included the evaluation of the innovation against questions designed to measure its potential to self-market (i.e. Is the innovation ‘remarkable’? Is it something that YOU would ‘remark on’ -- i.e. talk about or mention -- when speaking with work colleagues, friends or family?) and achieve adoption among its target market (Does this innovation respond to a necessity or a want? How important do you think this innovation would be to its intended user?).
Over coming weeks, we intended to reveal which innovations ranked highly against several specific criteria, in an attempt to uncover which attributes create a memorable and commercially viable innovation. The experiment continues!
And the winners are...
Why are there less than 100 innovations in the SMART 100?
Well... it's a long-ish story.
As mentioned, the SMART 100 is an ever-changing, ever-evolving program.
Every year, we ask applicants to submit their applications "as you would wish it to appear on Anthill".
This is because the promoted benefits of participation include broad exposure for the innovation, through Anthill's online community.
The subtlety, however, is lost on a small number of our centum, every year (no matter how pointedly we make the point), and, every year, a small number ask to be removed at the last minute, due to a various number of commercial reasons (usually an irrational fear of idea theft).
Last year, we tried to compensate by including some extras... but ended up with 102!
This year, we stuck to 100 and crossed our fingers. That's why there are slightly less than 100.