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Innovation Awards Entry Guidelines

  1. When entering, make sure to complete the entry form. If you are not certain which category to enter, contact Rachel Timko at NMMA, 312.946.6247.
    Please Note: All boats entered in the Innovation Awards must be NMMA Certified.                           
  2. When writing the 250-word description of your entry, tell the judges what is truly innovative about your product. If you are enclosing brochures, videos and other material, these enclosures will tell the judges how good your product is but often do not describe the product’s uniqueness. This short description about your product’s innovation is often what will get it onto the judges’ short list. If your product does not make it onto the short list, the judges will not visit your booth but may view the product at the New Products Showcase if there is one provided at that given show.

    You must provide a selling price for the products along with the 250-word description.                         
  3. Check other manufacturers’ products to ensure that your product is truly an innovation. Often, the judges find that a product is an innovation for a particular company, but 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 make it a “new” product that will qualify under the program’s definition of “innovation”. Changes strictly to packaging or promotion do not qualify as innovations and the product will be viewed only as a market extension of an existing product.                                                                                             
  4. Each judge reads the information sent by the entrant before arriving at the show and s/he comes to the first meeting prepared to create a short list among the dozens of products to be inspected. The short list is usually around 25 to 30 entries. Some products may be viewed by one or two judges to rule them onto or off of the short list. To develop the short list, judges look at product brochures and the short description of the product and rely on their knowledge and research of competing products. This is where your product description is of vital importance. A good description of the product’s innovative qualities will usually get the product on the short list — promotional language will not.                                                                                                                    
  5. Usually inspection is done the day before the show opens although each show has a slightly different schedule depending on the amount of entries and the logistics behind the show. Therefore, a representative must be avaialble to provide a concise description of the innovation and answer technical questions.  This person must be available at the minimum, by phone two days prior to the show open.                                                                                                             
  6. After inspecting all products on the short list, 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 received by a product that didn’t win. Honorable Mentions do not receive a trophy but the companies can use their Honorable Mention status in their marketing materials. (Contact Rachel Timko 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 did not win, please contact NMMA. The judges give their time freely and voluntarily and are under no obligation to discuss the deliberation for any particular product/category.


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