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When you are an island at the bottom of the world you have to do things differently – innovatively – to find a place on the world stage. That is why Tasmanians have always been innovative because, as island folk, we’ve always had to find solutions and depend on our own ingenuity.

And that applies in every activity and walk of life according to Owen Tilbury, the Director of the 2017 Innovative Tasmania Awards. Now in their third year, the Awards are looking for innovations and innovators – young and old, female and male  – not just in products and services but in processes, start-ups, learning, regions, communities – and government!

” We too often talk about Tasmania’s problems yet we are surrounded by nationally and internationally recognised innovators as well as less well known innovators in every area of society who are making a difference by working innovatively,” he says.

Nominations have now opened and the entry process has been designed to be easy and simple. Entrants self nominate and merely write 120 words regarding why their innovation or their innovator is worthy of the Award. Then they add a high resolution photograph and up to three Powerpoint slides of support materials.

The judging process is innovative too! The nominations are up-loaded online in early August and Tasmanians across the state are invited to vote for the best in each category. Voting is free and voters can vote in one, more or all 10 categories.

The award prizes continue the innovation. Winners get a TV vignette shot on their innovation plus an engraved aluminium trophy, certificate and set of laurels. Winner’s vignettes are each run at the end of a Southern Cross News segment in early December, reaching over half the total Tasmanian viewing audience. Vignettes and airtime are worth $4,500.

The Awards presentations, on Wednesday evening 4th October at Wrest Point, Hobart are innovative and fun.   Keynote speaker, Larry Lopez, Director of Accelerating Commercialisation

in the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s entrepreneurs programme, will set the scene. As a category winner approaches the stage their Powerpoint presentation is played to the audience to showcase their innovation. Then well-known ABC Radio personality, Ryk Goddard, asks the winner probing and entertaining questions. The presentations flow so that winners and audience can move promptly to the fabulous Wrest Point cocktail party – and networking.

As Tim Jarosz, the 2016 Innovator of the Year says,  “I think it’s very risky NOT to be innovative.

Innovation’s a big part of everything we’ve ever done. If someone else is doing something we try to steer clear of it. The more different we can be the more successful we seem to become. It seems that innovators all speak the same language. Awards like this – it’s about being around like-minded people, they think the same, they talk the same. It’s a language you can understand.”

Nominations close on Sunday, July 23.