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2012 Innovation Award Judging Process

2012 Judging Process

A panel of funeral director judges will evaluate qualifying entries, based on specific criteria, to select Innovation Award finalists. After the top entries are determined, finalists will be announced. The competition will then be opened for online voting by funeral directors who will choose the product or service finalist they consider the most innovative. Following the voting, results will be tabulated, weighted and added to the judges' scores to determine the 2012 NFDA Innovation Award winner.

Judges will not be disclosed until after the Innovation Award recipient has been announced.

The judging process consists of four rounds:

Round One - Submissions are reviewed for eligibility, and completeness based upon conformance to the award criteria. Entries that do not meet all eligibility and submittal requirements will be automatically disqualified. Entry submission deadline is June 15.

Round Two - Qualifying entries will be judged by a group of funeral directors based upon criteria for entry outlined above. Finalists will be announced June 29.

Round Three - After the top entries have been chosen, the finalists will be announced and funeral directors will vote online for the innovative product or service of their choice. Open voting will begin July 16 and close September 14.

Round Four - Following the voting by funeral directors, results will be tabulated, weighted and added to the judges' previous scores to determine the Innovation Award recipient. The 2012 Innovation Award recipient will be announced during the Opening General Session on Monday, October 7, 2012, at the NFDA International Convention & Expo in Charlotte.

Judging Criteria:

Entries will be evaluated by judges on the following four criteria. Each criterion rating is on a 0-10 ranked scale, from 0 (did not meet criteria) to 10 (superior).

Originality & Uniqueness - Is the product or service unique in concept, design or performance? Is it cutting edge and first of its kind? How different is it from other products or services already in the market? Is it an original application of a new or exhisting product or service? Does it use new technology or bring new techniques to funeral service?

Quality & Design - Does the product or service demonstrate overall superiority and represent exceptional innovation in design, features, materials and process? Is it designed for extraordinary quality, ease of use, high functionality and/or hassle-free service?

Practicality & Sustainability - Does the product or service have a practical application? Does it significantly improve business processes, increase productivity or overall efficiency? Will funeral directors and/or consumers use it? Is there a market demand? Does it show signs of profitability and remaining a viable product or service long term?

Benefit & Value - Does the product or service benefit funeral service and/or the consumer? Does it address an industry need or issue? What challenge does it solve? How much value or importance will it bestow to funeral directors and/or the consumer?

Online votes from the funeral directors will comprise a portion of the total score.


The Innovation Award recipient is determined by judges based on the information submitted by the entrants. The judges will conduct no testing of the product or service. The selection of a particular product or service for the Innovation Award does not constitute an endorsement by NFDA or the judges. Selected products and services merely reflect the judging panel’s determination that, if the product or service in fact performs or functions as the submitted supporting documentation and materials claim, such product or service is more “innovative” than the others in its category. NFDA reserves the right to defer the award if there is not a suitable entrant.



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