Award ceremonies can be the worst and best of times. I’ve been to lots and the one’s I’ve enjoyed the most have been those that descended into chaos! Easily the best was way back in the early 90s where Willie Rushton told a horrifically sexist joke (based on the name of the host organisation -BIVA) and was booed by most of the women in the room. Bread rolls were thrown and the whole thing descended into farce. My second favourite was last year’s WOLCE awards, where Marcus Brigstocke had a hilarious time congratulating non-deserving companies like RBS on their ‘Understanding Business’ e-learning programme. It started late so the audience was as at peak point of drunkenness, where all are at one with the world and everything seems funny. The hotel, somewhere in Birmingham, was seedy, tacky and slightly odorous, as only cheap British hotels can be. The poached pears were as hard as marble. So, I was hoping for some welcome anarchy last night, as I trooped off by train, with Clive Shepherd, to the Sheraton in London, for the E-learning Age Awards. As the WOLCE awards have collapsed, this is now the premier UK awards night, and deservedly so. The number of entries was up and the mood seemed buoyant.
Caspian’s double triumph
I have to declare an interest here (as I’m on their Board) but well done to Caspian. a Gold Award for best games/simulation in learning (for Royal Navy), as well as a Silver for Most Innovative New Product, 'ThinkingWorlds'. It takes some doing to get two awards on the one night for both your content and the tool you created to make that content. We had three of team who helped create the programme and tool at the table (down from Newcastle) and they deserved this. I also had time to talk to the wonderful ‘Queen of Tools’ Jane Hart, who was sitting next to me at the table. We’re speaking together at Online Educa, which should be fun. Check out her incredibly useful tools site.
I’ve known Piers for 20 odd years and he’s as nice a man as you’d ever hope to meet, and thoroughly deserved his Outstanding Achievement Award. Piers is the CEO of LINE which has seen a surge in sales over the last four years. He has some really talented people in his team with Keith, Sean, Bruce, Fi, Andrew et al. These guys really know their stuff. Again I’ll declare an interest, as I’ve been working with Piers over the last few years helping to open up the defence sector and bringing in some fresh blood, such as Ken Robertson (best proposal writer in the business) and John Helmer (best e-learning marketing person in the business. Just a word of praise for David Wilson, who was shortlisted. He’s sure to win this some time soon, as he’s been a key figure in the industry in terms of objective analysis.
You can’t keep us Brighton boys down! So a big congratulations to Charles, Lars, Virginia and the rest of the excellent Brightwave team, for winning Production Company of the Year. Their table was curiously packed with kilted Scotsmen (from Sky TV), as they have an office in Scotland. Good people doing good work. And check out Lars blog – it’s quality stuff.
Good to see my old company Epic get back on track, after its disastrous dalliance with the hapless Huveaux. Great to see Roy Evans, of the British Army, and the Epic team, Nick and Vicky, get the Gold for best mobile application. I’ve blogged about these excellent projects before, on the Nintendo and iPods, as they’re way beyond the often fuzzy mobile learning projects you find in education. These teach numeracy, Arabic and Pashtun, to young soldiers on the frontline. It’s not often you can say that e-learning may be saving lives – ask Roy, he knows. Let’s hope there’s more from Roy and the Epic team. Strange footnote to this one. I was collared by Jonathon and Naomi, of Epic, for being rude in my blog about some quango person in their Oxford debate. They were a little confused as I haven’t written anything about the debate in my blog (I think). I did, in fact, make one short comment on Clive’s blog about her banal views. Lighten up guys – it’s only a blog!
More Brighton success with Kineo coming in for an award for something. Nice to see Mark Harrison swan up to the stage dressed even shabbier than me! Well done to Steve, Stephen, Mark and Matt. These guys are working their proverbial bollocks off to build their business and continue their meteoric rise with over 50 staff and new offices in the US. Go Kineo!
A word also for Gavin Cooney of Learnosity who won a Gold for Most Innovative Tool. Gavin, who’s a prodigious social networker, online and offline, will no doubt put this new sobriquet to good use. He’s another lovely guy with, he tells me, only one suit. Clive and myself look forward to working with him in Ireland in the new year.
All in all, a good evening. The right folks seemed to win the right awards. No, sorry, hold that ending……I forgot to mention The Royal Bank of Scotland, who won the Gold Award for (wait for it) ‘Meeting the Needs of Compliance for an External regulator or an Internal Workforce’. Have the judges been locked up in solitary confinement for the last year? This is the company who we’re all bailing out, as they failed to comply with anything, even normal standards of decency. Maybe a Platinum Award for the ‘Most Non-compliant, Arrogant, Wasteful, Incompetent and Greedy Behaviour of any Bank in the History of Banking Award’ would have been more appropriate. Sorry, let’s get back to business. A good comedian would have ripped into this one, and maybe that’s what the event needs next year to take it to the next level – some comic chaos!