As I think back on the five years that I’ve been a judge for the Red Hat Innovation Awards, the thing that stands out most to me is that, every year, the innovative ways our customers are using Red Hat solutions become more impressive. The number of truly game-changing solutions being created each year by Red Hat customers is incredible.

With all the stellar nominations that we receive, the question I often get is, “how can we make our entry standout?” There’s no magic formula to winning the Red Hat Innovation Awards, but there are things that the other judges and I look for in the entries.

Overall, we’re looking for the project that tells a compelling story. It’s not just about sharing what Red Hat products and services you used, we want to hear the full narrative. What challenges did you face; how you implemented the project; and ultimately, what was the true business impact and transformation that took place? Submissions that are able to showcase how open source culture and values were key to success, or how the project is making a difference in the lives of others, are the entries that most often rise to the top.

When writing your submission, keep a few things in mind:

  • Red Hat is more than Linux. While we love Red Hat Enterprise Linux, our portfolio includes a wide range of products and services beyond it. We’re looking for projects that are outside the box, using our emerging tech solutions or multiple Red Hat solutions.
  • It’s a hybrid cloud world. Our customer adoption experience has demonstrated that the cloud is hybrid and we made big technology partnerships in the last year so that our customers can get the most out of their cloud platforms. We want to hear how you are taking advantage of running workloads across your own infrastructure/data center (traditional and private cloud) as well as in the public cloud to transform your business.
  • Containers are the next big thing. Container technology seems to have taken the world by storm and is now underpinning mission-critical, modern applications around the world. Judges will be looking for projects that include the application of containers, highlighting how it facilitates microservices based architectures and the practice of DevOps.
  • How has your life changed? Go beyond telling us what and how you executed, tell us why this project was such a big deal for your team. How did it impact your business and employees, as well as people outside of your company. Take a look at some of the winners from last year - Government of British Columbia, Macquarie, and Government of the State of Jalisco - for great examples of projects that made an impact.
  • Timing is everything. We need to see results. We love hearing what you’re about to implement or just started, but projects that have solid results will always score higher. Three to six months of implementation is ideal, but stories that have been in production for a year often have more proof points. Make sure to emphasize data around productivity, efficiency and scale. If you don’t have enough data for the 2018 program, wait until next year and submit then.
  • Say more, with less. It can be tempting when writing your submission to go into very specific detail about every aspect. I would encourage you to be concise and focus on quality over quantity. You don’t get extra credit for writing more, and we appreciate brevity. Determine the most important points of the project and spend your time on the elements that show the differentiators of your work.  

Nominations are open through Nov. 8. I am looking forward to reading about the ground-breaking innovations our customers have been working on this year. Good luck!

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