Entries for the annual Pause Awards opened this week, with CEO and founder George Hedon announcing an amazing lineup of more than 60 judges to decide who gets the gongs.
The Pause Awards present awards in five main categories: growth, excellence, operators, good and culture. The awards include People’s Choice, Winner, Grand Prix, Hall of Fame, Champion and the Diamond Award for best all-around company.
Hedon is simple about the purpose of the Pause Awards, which he started in 2018:We only reward the real people who do real things”.
This year’s jury consists of experts in product, growth and innovation at companies such as Mastercard, Airtasker, Google, Medibank, Dept, AWS, Bookings.com, Microsoft, Birchal and more.
“We are incredibly excited to have such a diverse and experienced panel of judges for this year’s Pause Awards,” said George Hedon.
“Their insights and predictions highlight the dynamic and transformative nature of our industry, and we can’t wait to see how these trends will be reflected in the submissions we receive.”
If entries are open this week – they close on August 18, but stragglers can still apply until September 1 – several members of the jury were asked how they see the year ahead, with answers covering everything from AI transformation to sustainable business practices, and growth and innovation.
Some, like Nathan Connors of Granicus, are wildly optimistic and predict: “Australia wins the Rugby World Cup.”
Airtasker’s Doug Rathbone believes that economic fundamentals will rebound over time “product and technology leaders are learning how to build successful and profitable businesses again”. Veljko Golubovic from New Moment “complete creative chaos”, while Trevor Townsend of Startupbootcamp Australia is more in Survivor mode with ,“a year of turmoil where the resilient and resourceful thrive!”
Robyn Wilson of Sydney management consultancy Superora predicts that “we will see an explosion in the ChatGPT Plug-in ecosystem, with service providers quickly integrating with AI to enable faster, more dimensional service experiences.”
India Gad from Shipeezi envisions “a stronger emphasis on sustainable business practices and the development of transparent ESG efforts.”
When it comes to work culture, Viona Young of VY Consulting believes that “the realization that work and life are not two separate things will persist and we will move forward towards a people-centered approach to ways of working.”
Jodette Cleary from hipages sees a similar thrust, saying “holistic wellness will become the most important employee benefit companies provide, energizing teams physically and mentally to give their best every day and we care about the whole person, not just the work person.”
In the meantime Stuart B. Richardson of Adventure Capital predicts “there will be profound changes in work and workplace, catalyzed by AI and commercial real estate.”
Among the great tech gurus Google’s Jessica Williams has gone for an oldie but goodie in “disturbance, disturbance, disturbance” while Mastercard’s Michael Zyla predicts “a year for optimizing core value propositions for customers and securing spend in volatile economic times.” Sam Ayre of Medibank sees an economic fundamental saying “value rises to the top as the cost crisis continues”.
As for industry-specific forecasts, Evan Davey from the department hopes “mixed reality finally gets a chance to go mainstream”
Penelope Shell of advertising agency OMD thinks so “in a backlash from the hyper-local pandemic focus, FY24 will be the year in which more Australian-founded brands expand their footprint globally than ever before.”
You can enter the Pause Awards here.