The Oscars of the consulting and engineering community, the ACE Awards are a chance to showcase the best of the best - the work you do to create vibrant and sustainable outcomes for Aotearoa. So what makes these awards so great? We sat down with ACE New Zealand CE, Helen Davidson, to get the low down.
Why should firms apply to the ACE Awards?
It's an excellent way for our members to promote their business and the great work they do. We get terrific coverage of the awards through local and national media, and we see a lot of activity on social media. This type of publicity is good for existing client relationships, attracting new ones, and for staff. It shows your employees and clients that your firm is committed to aiming high.
What types of projects can win?
All projects have the potential for an award provided they meet the judge's focus areas:
- Depth and extent of technical expertise
- Creation of sustainable value for the client, stakeholders and community
- Delivery of the consulting experience
- Client satisfaction
In the past, projects have won because the consultant's work has set them apart. The experience a consultant gives their client through the project is equally important as being innovative.
Previous winners use old technology in a new way to solve a client's problem; others help a client solve what seemed like an impossible problem. If consultants can show they asked more questions and worked collaboratively with their project partners to deliver a technically-excellent, sustainable solution and a consulting experience that provided more than just what was asked for - that's a winner in our eyes!
The judges want to recognise the consulting solutions that elevate our profession and the behaviours we want to be coveted, admired, and trusted.
What tips do you have for someone who's never applied before?
We try to make it as easy as possible for you, so follow the instructions on our website. More frequently than we'd like, a submission doesn't include the correct contact information. The judges want to talk to someone who intimately knows what the consultant delivered and what it was like to work with the consultant.
Entrants need to identify a business consulting focus and up to five disciplines. Entries don't need to max out their selections, but each discipline listed should have a section addressing that technical discipline in the entry. For example, the judges frequently comment that a project may have selected five disciplines but discussed only three in their submission. Anything additional could be white noise that distracts the judges from focusing on what is unique about your work.
Also, ask the ACE awards team! Holly has been working on the awards for nine years and is happy to answer any questions or uncertainties you might have when preparing your submission.
What if a project is big and complex? How do people know what to include in the submission?
That one is hard because you know your project more intimately than us.
We've included some prompts online of what you can think about when drafting your submission report. These prompts will help guide you when deciding what to include and how to tell your story. Ultimately that's a good guiding principle – you're telling the judges a story of your work, why it's special, and what you've done differently to how the industry delivers similar projects.
The other recommendation for complex projects is to ensure you've detailed who has done what. Sometimes the excellence of a project is how seamlessly a massive project team contributed their own small portion to the greater whole. The story told of both the good and the bad in that relationship and what the alliance or CWA group achieved together is very compelling. Other times excellence is demonstrated in a consultant punching above their weight in the collective group – what they did to make the project better for the client and the community as a whole.
If you haven't already, apply for the 2021 ACE Awards
For more information about the awards, contact Holly Morchat Stanko [email protected]