The Innovation Award

Innovation Award

Is there someone who’s come up with a really innovative project in your company? Or an idea to change the way you work. Tell us about it, nominate them.

Entry Criteria

Criteria for the Innovation category:

– Nominee works for a tech business/in a tech role

Successful nominations should detail but not be limited to the following:

– What makes the nominee innovative
– What makes them more innovative than others in technology
– Anything else notable that the judges might be interested in

2022 Winner

Mary Jo Hill

Mary-Jo is first and foremost a mum to three boys aged, 15, 13 and 9 and with this, is a middle- aged single, working mum forging ahead with an innovative product called YakBit. B2B software to help businesses measure inclusion processes at work, not just outcomes, with a view to creating greater psychological safety in the workplace. She is not techy by nature, although as a secondary school teacher she oversaw English and IT back in 1995 and managed to complete a 2-day JavaScript course back in the early days. Her passion and vision are about making better talking and listening interactions in the workplace, acknowledging that mental health in the workplace costs money. According to Acas, the cost to UK businesses because of bullying related absenteeism, staff turnover and lost productivity is estimated at almost £18 billion per year. The solution is not costly – research shows that for every £1 invested in employee mental health, companies can expect an average return of £5 due to increased productivity and fewer sick days. (Deloitte, 20) She gained a scholarship from Norfolk Network in 2019 (with match funding from a charity she was a trustee of) to study for an MBA at the UEA, graduating (at last) this summer, after a hybrid on-line finish to studies. YakBit provides an affordable and scalable solution for insight into talking and listening habits in small team meetings; habits that are enhancing or inhibiting full participation and engagement of the workforce. This quantitative data, with additional coaching, will support behaviour change for more inclusive practises at work. Most days, she has no idea what she is doing, but in the time since graduation, she has been awarded the Santander/UEA Do It and Grow It Award and is now reaching for the 50K Scale It award, and three other grants to make the Yakbit prototype ready for beta testing. Co-founding with Jo Hughes in Sydney, Australia, this really is a global and virtual Start Up about to seek EIS and SEIS and all beyond. Early pitching with SynchNorwich in Dec 21 with John Fagan, made her realise the warmth and inclusivity of the Norfolk Tech crowd, and talking at Norfolk Developers Conference in June cemented her position in the “ones to watch.”

2022 Finalist

Kathryn Hoare

2022 Finalist

Aiste Fedotovaite