Just a few more days left: the DIMA, an award for digital SMEs that is organised by Visable, is being handed out. Twelve SMEs are hoping to be honoured as the happy winners in four categories respectively for their digital projects. Jury Chairman Peter F Schmid reveals to us in an interview the process behind the jury’s nominations and what the audience can expect besides the award ceremony on 18 November during the free-of-charge live stream.
Mr Schmid, how is DIMA different than other, similar awards?
The digital award for SMEs has the same goal that we as entrepreneurs also follow. We want to help SMEs become more visible: on the Internet and now also on the DIMA stage. To do so, we are fully and entirely focusing on the “SMEs” with a maximum of 250 employees and which have made their company more futureproof thanks to the professional utilisation of new technologies and of the Internet. And after selecting the nominees, I can honestly say: I’ve never been more convinced or amazed by the potential of SMEs to innovate.
How has the award been received?
Over the course of the three-month application phase, more than 80 qualified applications had been submitted – an enormously high number, particularly when you consider that the DIMA is being handed out for the first time. In all four categories – Customer Experience, Sales Solutions, Sustainability, Innovation – we received highly professional and frequently very creative submissions, from truly technical novelties to clever strategies based on the skilful use of digital technologies. And this is what the DIMA is all about. We want to illustrate, highlight and reward the digital pioneering spirit of SMEs in all its facets.
Were there projects which particularly surprised or amazed you?
There were many initiatives which have made a lasting impression on me. One topic, however, that is personally close to my heart is sustainability. I was really delighted about the many different pioneering submissions within this category. The company Tele Haase Steuergerate from Austria, for instance, has made it their goal to be completely self-supporting by 2025 in terms of energy. To achieve this, they implemented a digital and networked energy monitoring system. This was realised in a truly impressive way.
But the competition within this category is tough. Tipp Oil Manufacturer submitted a project for the world’s first digitally supported redemption system for plastic containers in the oil industry – both an ingenious and an important innovation. The third company in the bunch is Promeos GmbH. It was nominated for its virtual service agent who enables the monitoring and diagnosis of systems remotely. As a result, the number of in-person deployments and the logistics behind these have been greatly reduced. This, in turn, has a positive impact on the company’s carbon footprint.
The high quality of these applications could be seen across all four categories. Luckily, I had expert support in the decision-making process.
Speaking of support: what was the selection process by the jury like?
I’m very thankful for my colleagues (German) in the jury who stood and continue to stand by my side with their expertise. The decisions were not easy ones to make. In the course of several session, we took a close-up and scrutinising look at the applications submitted – all the jurors from their very own expert perspective. For instance, they considered the digital form of the projects, their innovative character and their impact within the company. In light of the many excellent submissions, we had quite intensive discussions at times. However, in the end we were able to agree to three nominees per category. The selection of the winners, the most difficult and yet most exciting part of the process, is still ahead of us. I’m curious to see which four companies will win the race in the end.
We’ll find out at the awards ceremony on 18 November. What can the audience expect from the free-of-charge live stream?
In addition to the introduction of the projects submitted and the ceremonious announcement of the winners, the audience can look forward to a comprehensive supporting programme. For instance, our speakers Dr Holger Schmidt, expert for the digital economy and platforms, as well as the researcher in trends and the future, Oliver Leisse, will provide new stimuli and triggers in their keynotes centred round digital trends, B2B and the digital economy. Inspiration is therefore guaranteed! And who knows, maybe next year’s DIMA winners are already among those in the audience.