The PM Society Awards. The Grosvenor Hotel. Early in the year (typically still cold outside). Starts at lunch and finishes when standing upright becomes challenging.
I’ve been going to these awards for about 20 years and, whilst the award’s day formula has stayed largely the same, the process to winning a gong in this competition has gone through some much-needed changes over the years. Most notably, as outlined in Carwyn’s previous article, several categories for 2022 have been removed, some added, and the line between pro bono / charity submissions and those more associated with pharmaceutical/life sciences work is now much more clearly defined.
In truth, there was a period in the not-so-distant past when some thought perhaps the PM Society Awards’ relevance was in decline. I mean, let’s be honest, there are so many awards in this day and age, do we still need them all? And shiny new awards programs had come to the fore, some perhaps more glamorous, maybe even with more lavish celebrations in warmer climes, perhaps…
But the fact remains that in the UK the “PM Soc Awards” are having somewhat of a renaissance. The number of submissions last year, for example, was the highest it has ever been (almost double the amount of entries on the previous year). And the quality – if we are to believe the many comments in the debriefing sessions with judges – is significantly up too. Most importantly, attendance was up to nearly it’s highest ever in March this year. We came. We saw. We celebrated.
Last year’s competition was not without its challenges: there were a few entries that seem to defy any category requirements and yet be relevant to all! Not the fault of the entries; more that the categories needed better descriptions and criteria (which has been actioned). And no doubt there will be a raft of new challenges in 2023 that will need addressing to ensure that the best work is allowed to shine. Because that’s the point of these awards. They are there to reflect the best work which means that the categories and the way in which they are judged has to flex with the times, the channels, the customers, the audience, the commercial pressures, etc.
Think of it this way: awards need course correction to remain relevant. Not wholesale shifts from year to year but subtle and important improvements so that we can accurately showcase the best that creativity in healthcare can achieve.
Dominic Marchant (last year’s head judge)