Innovation Awards Entry Guidelines

  1. When entering, make sure to complete the entry form. If you are uncertain about which category to enter, contact Rachel Harmon at NMMA, 312.946.6247. Please Note: All boats entered in the Innovation Awards must be NMMA Certified.
  2. You must provide a 250-word description for each product entered. This description should focus on explaining to the judges what makes your product truly innovative. You may also enclose brochures, videos and other material, to further describe your product and its benefits. This short description of the innovative nature of your product often determines whether or not it will be placed on the judges’ short list. If your product does not make it onto the short list, the judges will not visit your booth. They may however, view the product at the New Products Showcase, if there is one. . You must also provide a selling price for each product entered.
  3. Check other manufacturers’ products to ensure that your product is actually an innovation. Often, the judges find that while a product is an innovation for a particular company, other companies have had similar products on the market for years. If the product is brought over from another market as a market extension into the marine industry, it will need to show substantial adaptation or modification to qualify as a “new” product under the program’s definition of “innovation”. Packaging or promotion changes do not qualify as innovations and the product will be viewed only as a market extension of an existing product.
  4. Each judge reviews the award entries before the show and s/he comes to the first meeting prepared to create a short list of 25 to 30 entries from among the dozens of products to be inspected. Products may be viewed by one or two judges to determine if they should make the short list. To develop the short list, judges review the short description of the product, product collateral materials and rely on their knowledge and research of competing products. It is at this stage that your product description is of vital importance. A good description of a product’s innovative qualities is critical for a product to make the short list—promotional language is not.
  5. Inspections usually take place the day before the show opens. However, the schedule may vary by show depending on the number of entries and show logistics. A representative must be available to provide a concise description of the innovation and answer technical questions during the inspections. This person must be available at the minimum, by phone two days prior to the show open.
  6. Once inspections of all products on the short list are complete, the judges meet again to deliberate and determine the winners. If no product in a given category is deemed innovative as described by the judging criteria, no award may be given in that category. If there are multiple products that are close competitors, an Honorable Mention may be awarded to a product that did not win. Honorable Mentions do not receive a trophy but recipients can promote their Honorable Mention status in their marketing materials. (Contact Rachel Harmon for details.)
  7. At the awards ceremony, each winner receives a trophy and is asked to stay until the proceedings are over so that photographs may be taken. Please contact NMMA for information on using these photos.
  8. No products will be accepted or considered after the entry deadline.
  9. Winners are chosen by all judges working together. If you have questions about why your product did not win, please contact NMMA. The judges volunteer their time freely and are under no obligation to discuss the deliberation for any particular product/category.

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