7 Tips for Writing a Winning Submission for our 2012 CAD Awards

Planning on entering our 2012 Public Sector CAD Awards but not sure what to include in your nomination? Worried your writing isn’t up to scratch? Let’s face it; the exercise can seem a little daunting! But an award is actually a great opportunity for you to showcase your innovation and demonstrate how you and your team has made a difference in the public sector. But we want to hear from you and make it as easy as possible for you to be a winner this year! So without further ado, here are seven tips for writing a killer award submission! 1. Read and understand the award criteria Why? Criteria acts as a guideline that can help you structure your award submission. In the case of our CAD Awards, we are looking for entries that clearly show how digital design and your achievements have helped improve the performance of your agency (or the agency you contract with) and enhanced the delivery of citizen-centric services. For example:
  • Have your digital design achievements changed the business of government in your city, county or agency?
  • Has design software helped your agency save time and money?
  • Have your projects helped transform how your agency collaborates with team members and stakeholders?
Take a look at last year’s winners to see the types of challenges and achievements that caught our judge’s eye! 2. Review the questions, brainstorm, and prepare brief responses Now go through the questions and requirements and jot down brief answers ensuring you address key points of the question reflecting the challenges your agency had or limitations you faced. For example, last year’s winner Joe Porostosky, the Senior Manager of Facility information at The Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University, had relied on 2D AutoCAD documentation for representing building floor plans (six million square feet of plans). This created limitations in the representation of space and the associated data, Joe and his team also wanted their customers to get more value out of that data. To address these limitations, Joe started exploring the adoption of building information modeling (BIM). But how do you convert six million square feet of AutoCAD to BIM? With this challenge in mind, Joe built a winning submission (read more about Joe’s achievements here). So here, you see a story is starting to unfold. The challenges and limitations faced by Joe Porostosky and his team are clear. As you reflect on any challenges you may have faced, think about your approach to fixing them. Ask yourself, the following:
  • What did you do that was different?
  • Can you showcase great team work?
  • What role did CAD or design technologies play?
  • What did digital design help you accomplish?
  • What hurdles did you face on the way?
  • Did you find unexpected, yet positive, outcomes?
Brainstorm as a team – there may be aspects of the project that you’ve forgotten or didn’t think worth mentioning. After this, you should have a good understanding of the layout of your submission and what supporting information will be required. 3. Prepare supporting information Anything you mention in your submission should be supported with evidence where possible. Things like how much money you saved, etc.  We’d also like you to include samples of your work – you can attach up to three files in support of your submission. 4. Begin writing your draft submission Don’t fill in our entry form just yet. Start fleshing out the first draft in a Word document. Be brief – address each point of the question in concise detail (we have a word limit), don’t waffle. Remember that some questions bear more weight than others – questions 3, 4 and 5 on our form are where you want to spend most of your time. 5. Brag! Remember, you’re trying to win an award. While it’s important to remain truthful and transparent about your organization, be sure to sell your achievements. The goal is to convince someone why your organization or team is better than the competition and deserves this particular award. 6. Edit Make sure the wording used in your submission is consistent, flows nicely and is easy for the reader to understand. Be economic with your words and shorten sentences where you can. Use bullets – this can really help narrow down what, why and how you did things. Reference your supporting materials. 7. Get Feedback Now have someone review what you’ve written – do all your points come across, are you under-selling yourself, does your copy make sense and tell a clear story. Here’s how you want your submission to read:
  • It needs to be eye-catching and easy to read
  • It should offer a clear profile of who you are
  • It should outline clear responses that meet the key requirements of questions
  • Your supporting information should be relevant and self-explanatory
Got questions? Email me at editor@acronymonlin.org or reach me on Twitter @AcronymOnline! Good luck!