How to recognise growth through innovation: An interview with category judge John Garner

11 June 2020

We spoke to John Garner, Head of New Business at LDC to find out what he wants to see from entries to the LDC Growth Through Innovation Award, and how he’ll identify the businesses and organisations that truly shine in this category.

 Why should organisations and individuals enter this category?

The Growth Through Innovation category is a chance to celebrate those businesses that have driven significant growth by thinking differently.

I would encourage any business that has strayed from the status quo and taken a different path to put themselves forward. Whether by launching a revolutionary new product, taking a business to a completely new market or transforming the culture of a company, we’d love to hear your story and celebrate your success.

In the current climate, it’s normal for many businesses to want to stick to what they know - which is understandable—but fortune often favours the brave. This category is for anyone who has worked to make their bold vision pay off and can demonstrate how it has translated into significant growth.

What kind of organisations and individuals would you like to see enter this category?

At LDC, our core focus is to support ambition—often the difference between good and great. It’s the main attribute we look for in the management teams we partner with, so we’ll have a keen eye on what the entrants have planned for the future.

We would love to see businesses in those fast-moving sectors where innovation and change is key—the likes of technology or software companies, for example. Having said that, we’re not governed by sectors and our main focus is celebrating those businesses that have really spearheaded growth through innovation and thinking differently, whichever world they operate in.

What do you think makes a successful entry?

A successful entry will be able to demonstrate how a specific innovation has driven growth, with data and evidence to back it up. We will be looking at how the innovation has been developed and applied to deliver growth by considering improved commercial performance, operational effectiveness or customer engagement.

A successful entry should be able to articulate this and provide the data to demonstrate it. We will also be looking for something different—anything that challenges the norm and is an example of how a new idea can change the trajectory of a business.

Why do you think awards like this are important for UK businesses?

The Lloyds Bank National Business Awards is one of the best-known and loved forums to celebrate success in the business world. It gives firms large and small the opportunity to showcase their greatest achievements, and at a time like this that’s something we need more than ever.

The UK has one of the most envied business communities in the world: it spans multiple sectors with businesses of many sizes. One of its greatest assets is there is often such a focus to push on and get things done. That is why it’s so important to have awards like this, to give us chance to step back and take the time to recognise our achievements.

How do you recognise growth through innovation?

Recognising growth through innovation is pinpointing that one pivotal idea that changed the course of a business, and then highlighting how it has driven its success to date. We will do this by looking at commercial performance, operational effectiveness or customer engagement information.

We are open to interpretation when it comes to the term ‘innovation’, all we want is a business that has shown how a forward-thinking and disruptive approach has helped a company achieve significant growth.