Here's the link to the short list and finalists and winners of the IxDA Awards: http://awards.ixda.org/entries/
Steve Baty during the closing ceremonies of the conference said that we do these awards and similar initiatives to create a discourse in the community about them. I know I have little conversations here and there about them, but I don't see it happening in a way that moves things; that impacts the larger group. So I'll put this out here.
First off, I loved this year's awards. The video introductions were very well done and the entire ceremony was tasteful and entertaining. Thank you so much Janna & Niklas for crafting such a wonderful evening.
One of the topics that I have been hearing and believe myself is the weight of finalist winners towards concepts over submissions that are in production. Yes, this is not 100% true, but it does suggest a possible (and maybe rightly so) bias for concept work over production work.
I'd like to suggest that maybe we create 2 categories (like the Golden Globes does for separating comedies from dramas) for concept work vs. production work. Concept work should be heavily assessed based on how well it presents a vision for the future that is grounded in research, yet exploratory of the unpredictable. Production work should be assessed almost entirely based on impact, first on intended impact and then on unintended impact.
I do like that the chair's award doesn't have to be limited to just the submissions. That award had me most confused. I see it's value in the future and the name of the award is future voice, but there is another opportunity that this selection always seems to miss (well the 2 years it's been running); that is what is awesome NOW.
This issue seems doubly highlighted in light of this past year's amazing phenom of Nest. It was the presentaiton bingo winner by far. But I'm sure there are other examples.
Failure: What about darwin awards. Healthcare.gov this past year feels like such a tremendous case study of failure. There have to be others to compare to. The Gulf spill jumps to mind, as I'm sure others can think of more. Why go negative on such a positive evening? Because of balance. While it is great to reward what is awesome in IxD, I think it is balanced a soberig to note how much more work we still need to be doing and maybe where we need to be putting greater attention to detail in our work.
Enterprise: Enterprises do tremendous work in design, but the glitz of these awards makes it hard for the enterprise to get it's say. I think it great that SAP Labs won for their work this year, but looking back on previous years 18% of the categories would probably be a high percentage for enterprise work and the awards. Is this an issue of reaching out? Of the messaging of the awards? Not sure which way to think about this one; but as a long time Enterprise IxD this feels important.
What are your thoughts about the awards? Whatever they are, we should be discussing them appreciatively and critically and always respectfully.