Cameras flashed, glasses clinked and pink paperclip trophies were dished out tonight as 250-plus gathered for the 2011 NZ Innovators Awards ceremony at the HP/Intel Winter Garden in Wynyard Quarter.
Previously known as the Bayer Innovators Awards, this year the competition pulled in 124 entries, which a team of evaluators from academia and business whittled down to 24 finalists.
But it was cloud-based POS Vend, which recently expanded into the US, that reigned supreme. Judges congratulated founder Vaughan Rowsell on the company's "spectacular" growth and tipped "great things globally" in its future. Vend also won the ICT category.
Teacher Steve Martin and his Virtual Lesson Project were voted both the most inspiring individual, as well as the People's Choice Innovator of the Year – overtaking Rowsell at the eleventh hour.
In the pre-commercial and design/engineering categories, HaloIPT's wireless car-charging technology prevailed. "An excellent idea and product," judges said. "This market will become huge over time, and licensing this IP could be a textbook knowledge-intensive innovation success story."
The Journal added to its already healthy collection of accolades, picking up the gong in the marketing and communications category for "crossing over from advertising and promotion into a treatment and support programme", plus the popular vote for most innovative product.
Magritek, which has developed a range of magnetic resonance (MR) spectrometers and imaging scanners, took out the health and science category, while the C-Dax Pasturemeter won the environment and agriculture field.
In manufacturing, the EnaSolar Converter solar inverter was named victorious; judges praised the product innovation, quality and range, driven by a customer-led focus.
And rounding out the People's Choice category, Serato's Scratch Live, which lets DJs control their digital music library using special vinyl records, was voted most innovative product.
We'll be profiling all the winners here on Idealog over the coming week, but in the meantime, feast on the full list of winners:
Finalists EnaSolar Converter; Fisher & Paykel F&P Icon CPAP; Magritek
Finalists PolyBatics; CRL Energy
Most inspiring individual award
Winner Virtual Lesson Project
Finalists PolyBatics; (C-Dax) ñ PastureMeter; Rim-Pro Tec
Marketing and communications
Winner The Journal
Finalists eBus Delivery; Mt Cook Alpine Salmon; TVNZ U
Finalists Medtech Global, ManageMyHealth; Serato Audio Research, Scratch Live
Design and engineering
Finalists F&P Icon CPAP; KM Medical
Environment and agriculture
Finalists Greentide; Expleco
Health and science
Finalists The Journal; Smart Gels
Winner EnaSolar Solar Converter
Finalists Meatvision; Stratis Ice
Person Steve Martin / Virtual Lesson Project
Product The Journal / DraftFCB