News & Media

Judging the Lateral INCITE Awards

Petra Vanessie

Petra Vanessie

May 23, 2020

Have you ever wondered “What’s the judging process for entering and winning the Lateral INCITE Awards?”

In this post, Celia Jordaan, the Chief Judge for the INCITE Awards, takes us through the rigour of the judging process that every year – for the last 29 years of the Awards – have resulted in many WA digital players recognised for their innovation – locally, nationally and internationally.


Introduction: our 2020 judging process

We go through a thorough two staged process to determine our WA winners and merit award winners.  We select a limited number of finalists to go through to stage 2 and to become winners and merit award winners.

It is a tough competition and therefore we need to make sure that we have the right processes and checks and balances in place to ensure that the process we use will select worthy finalists, winners and merit award winners.

Due to COVID-19, we had to adjust our judging process to deal with the constraints regarding social distancing:

  • The INCITE Awards cover both product/project categories (e.g. Social Impact) as well as honorary categories (e.g WA Entrepreneur of the Year). In 2020, the Committee has decided to split the INCITE Awards judging process into two separate areas – project/product awards and honorary awards.

    The honorary awards (i.e. Entrepreneur of the Year, Achiever of the Year and the Dr Mal Bryce WA Tech Company of the Year), will be judged in the second half of 2020 with a planned winners announcement at an event at Parliament House event around September/October 2020.

  • The stage 1 project/product category judging has always been an online judging process and we were able to complete this in a business as usual manner.


  • The stage 2 project/product category judging will be done in a virtual format, allowing us to continue the process and continue to recognise and showcase our State’s innovators.


The Lateral INCITE Awards Judges

Every year, the INCITE Awards identifies and invites up to as many as 60 industry peers to be part of the judging panel. Our judges are industry leaders, executive level representatives from our sponsoring businesses and organisations, past Achiever of the Year and Pearcey Award recipients and educators. 

We want to make sure that there is consistency, fairness and due process in the way how we determine the stage 1 finalists and the ultimate winners and merit award winners.

We do this through:

  1. Careful selection of judges from industry with the appropriate skills and experience to judge the different categories (as per above)
  2. In selecting the judging panels, we make sure that there is segregation of information – information on entrants, scoring etc is managed in accordance with approval levels and there is no cross-pollution of information
  3. Judges are screened for conflicts of interest – not only actual but also potential or perceived conflict of interest
  4. All judges are bound to confidentiality.
  5. Sponsors are not allowed to be judging in any categories where they may have a potential conflict or an entry.


Phase 1 Judging in detail

Once the above judging selection have been finalised, our judges complete the first stage online judging of all of the entries for each category.

We provide clear guidelines to the judges on how to score the criteria to ensure consistency in scoring. Where necessary we use Olympic scoring to remove any outlier scoring.

We conduct referee checks as part of the stage 1 finalist review to ensure that the finalist entries are substantiated by independent referees.

All judging scores are firstly reviewed by the lead judges and then the overall scoring is reviewed by the Chief Judge.

The Chief Judge does not do any judging but manages the judging process, questions from the judges, sorts out any disputes and other logistical requirements associated with this role. This is done to ensure probity, fairness and consistency across the process.


Phase 2 Judging in detail

Once a list of finalists have been put forward by the lead judges for each category, the Chief Judge reviews all of the scores and recommendations of the finalists to ensure that there is consistency across all of the categories and that the judging had been completed in a diligent manner. This year, due to COVID-19,  our finalists received a virtual congratulations on becoming finalists and are informed on the stage 2 judging timeline and process.

Normally, phase 2 judging occurs face to face over a period of a week, where each finalist is required to make a presentation to the panel of judges.  This year, we had to adjust to the social distancing requirements and will be running a virtual face-to-face judging process as part of the stage 2 judging process.

In 2020, this stage 2 judging process will start the week of 15 June 2020.

The virtual judging format will be

  • Online Lobby – 15 minutes prior to judging; 
  • Presentation – 15 minutes
  • Questions from the Judges – 15 minutes

In order to maximise the value for our finalists, we have reduced the time of the presentation but have increased the time for questions from the judges.  We find that the peer review and questions from the judges provide real value to the finalists and often result in some interesting 

This is a fairly intensive process, requiring every finalist to work on their presentation, public speaking and business acumen. Key part of the process is for the finalists to clearly articulate what sets them apart and why their product/project deserves to be recognised and showcased as winner or merit award winner. 

The Chief Judge provides oversight on the judging in order to ensure consistency and rigour in the process.  Once the judging is completed, the Lead Judges provide the scoring to the Chief Judge with recommendations for winners and merit award winners. 

All judging is then reviewed by the Chief Judge to ensure that there is consistency, we avoid potential conflicts of interest, issues are resolved and that we have followed a diligent judging process. The results are kept confidential and on a need-to-know basis and is not made available other than in preparation for the awards night. 

Winners and Merits for each award category will be determined from phase 2 judging, with results revealed on the night of the Gala Dinner (in 2020, this will be a Virtual Awards scheduled for Friday 24 July, 6pm onwards).



The INCITE Awards is a competitive process to showcase excellence in WA.  With the rigour we apply to our process, we ensure a fair, consistent and thorough approach in how we judge the INCITE Awards.  As a result of our process we make sure that every finalist, merit award winner and/or winner can proudly display their achievement as they can be assured of the integrity and rigour around the process.


More information

If you are interested in finding out more about the INCITE Awards’ judging process, please get in touch with the events team who will be able to assist with your questions: 

Petra Vanessie

Petra Vanessie

INCITE Marketing Manager