Back from IABC Gold Quill Awards Blue Ribbon Panel

I just came back from beautiful San Francisco after taking part in the IABC Blue Ribbon panel … some 20 or so of the world’s leading communication professionals trawling through more than 200 finalists for the 2006 Gold Quill awards from IABC.

What a great group of people!

What a wonderful, fun city!

We did work hard over the two days of judging, spending about an hour with each finalist, in pairs. Some complete alignment of thoughts, and some spirited debate.  And I didn’t go to bed before 2.30 am on any of the nights…

I don’t want to reveal a thing, but a couple observations…

  • There is a lot of “really good” communication happening out there, but it is getting harder to “wow” … I wasn’t genuinely inspired by anything I saw. Maybe best practice is stuck?
  • No matter how hard we try to make it subjective, it isn’t. One judge’s 6 is another judges 4. This is clear not only from the Blue Ribbon panel I experienced, but also from the range of finalist entries we received.
  • My entries for 2006 should have moved forward. I would say that, though, wouldn’t I? But seriously, I put in an entry for a major government engagement and branding project with audience segmentation … messaging … effectiveness objectives and measurement … and analysis and brand architecture solutions that blew the doors off (I mean, Italian Job style) anything I saw as a Finalist in San Francisco. I’ll be interested in the feedback I get from the judges. If that sounds like sour grapes, so be it. I know what is good and what isn’t … and am understandably curious as to this result.

Mainly, though, it was such a pleasure to hook up with some very capable, smart, funny, switched-on and most of all passionate people. I’m glad I’ll be going back!

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