The MediaGuardian Innovation Awards (Megas) for 2011 has now launched with a brand new range of categories that reflect the increasing relevance of technology in the media.
Welcoming the awards, the UK's Digital Champion and Megas judge Martha Lane Fox said: "I look forward to the MediaGuardian Innovation Awards this year.
The new emphasis on digital communications and technology innovations will showcase a captivating mix of new tools and future opportunities.
Most importantly, the awards address the increasing relevance of technology and innovation across different sectors, helping more and more people with new solutions for everything from shopping online to bringing about social change."
There are now new award categories for mobile apps, creative uses of data and disruptive technologies, in addition to those aimed at PR agencies which are taking bold new steps to promote brands. Entries for the technology categories are welcomed from independent developers, as well as larger organisations.
A new 'digital entrepreneur' category will reward the individual who has turned their own digital concept into a viable business, while the highly-regarded 'Media Innovator of the Year' award will be presented to the individual who judges believe has had the greatest impact on innovation in the media in the past year.
The judging panel for the awards includes top names from the digital sphere, including Martha Lane Fox, Tom Watson MP, Wired editor-at-large Ben Hammersley and TV presenter Aleks Krotoski.
Jane Martinson, MediaGuardian editor, said: "Last year's Megas proved that innovation in the digital arena has never been stronger. The media industry continues to face dramatic changes, and we're looking for creative people and businesses who haven't shied away from these challenges, and have instead embraced the new opportunities which have emerged.
"If last year is anything to go by, the shortlist will provide a fine debate and all the judges will look forward to celebrating with the winners next March."
The categories for the 2011 Megas are:
DIGITAL COMMUNICATION CATEGORIES
Across these six categories we are rewarding innovative digital communication across different industry sectors. Work entered in these categories can include social media, mobile and any digital platform. £200 per entry.
Culture and the Arts: In this category we are looking for innovations from the cultural and artistic worlds.
Lifestyle: This category attracts entrants whose work covers such areas as fashion, travel, motors, sport and finance.
Media & Technology: This category rewards organisations operating in the worlds of media and technology who have demonstrated a creative, innovative approach to communicating their brand. Public Sector: This category rewards entrants from the public sector whose ingenuity is often driven by the very public nature of their campaigns.
Campaigning – Charities and Social Enterprises: This category rewards innovative methods of galvanising public support for the greater good. On a Budget: Necessity is often the mother of invention, and this category rewards work which demonstrates innovative thinking without a pre-recession budget. (£100 per entry).
TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION CATEGORIES
Across these categories we are rewarding innovative uses of technology. Along with large companies who are funding and driving innovation in this area, we also want to see entries from independent developers. It is the innovative concept that will be judged and not the big budget behind it, so this is a real opportunity for the Davids to challenge the Goliaths. £200 per entry, £50 for independent developers.
Open Source Technology: In this new category we're looking for examples of technology that is open source. This could be a publishing platform, a hardware toolset, a peer-to-peer communications service or software development tools.
Disruptive Technology: Here we are looking for technologies which have changed the way we think and challenged the status quo.
Data: Data is revolutionising the digital world and we want to see the most innovative uses in this category. This can include apps, tools, journalism or visualisations. Technology Breakthrough Business: Here we're looking for technology startups and early stage companies with a truly innovative proposition.
Mobile Application: Is your app the most innovative app around, either in its usefulness, popularity or novel approach?
Technology for Social Change: The power of technology can be used to overcome the social challenges of our time. We are looking for examples of how the new digital world has been used for the greater good – whether it has empowered citizens, changed lives in the developing world, mobilised communities or enabled transparency.
FREE TO ENTER CATEGORIES
The final two categories reward those entrepreneurs and innovators who represent the spirit of the Megas. These categories are free to enter.
Digital Entrepreneur: The winner of this category might be a bedroom boffin who has spotted a lucrative gap in the market, a serial entrepreneur who has joined the dots to create an innovative product, or a startup founder who has shown that innovation is the true lifeblood of online success. Individuals can put themselves forward for consideration, or they can be nominated by colleagues or peers.
Innovator of the Year: This category will recognise the media figure who the judges consider has had the greatest impact on innovation in the media in the past year. Entrants will be considered across all media and could be a business person, creative or media personality. Nominations for this category can be made by readers of MediaGuardian and MediaGuardian.co.uk users and the winner will be selected by the MediaGuardian editorial team.
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