Common errors made when completing entry forms
Below are some common mistakes made in completing European Award entry forms.
Frequently the entrant fails to explain how the senior management of the company, right up to Director level, makes decisions and takes responsibility for the implementation and progress of the development.
Sustainable development is about economy, environment and social equity and entrants fail to explain how their development is fully integrated into the operation of the company in all three respects. Environmental considerations alone are not synonymous with sustainable development. Frequently the objectives and targets are not set against a timescale, making it impossible to know if the company is achieving what it set out to do.
Performance is often not clearly identified in terms of time and objective measures. Graphs are very useful as a means of showing the entrant’s achievements.
Entrants forget that a company needs to report not just to management but also to shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers and the wider public. The manifold aspects of accountability are often missed giving the impression that the company only looks inward and does not care about all stakeholders.
- Employee involvement
It is important to show how employees perform better if they are full involved and informed in company activity. You need to avoid the impression that developments happened without any employee involvement.
- Replication potential
Often entrants fail to recognise that their development may be applicable in different companies and in different contexts.
A key aspect of the EBAE is innovation and you need to check that that there is no evidence to refute any claims that the innovation in your project is really new. It is worth using an internet search engine to check for similar developments to your entry. Frequently a similar invention has happened before in other countries. Check this out because the jurors will.
- Environmental benefit
A clear and comprehensive explanation of the impacts of the development on all resources over the life cycle of the product or service is needed and often not given. Very narrow statements of environmental impact are frequently provided.
- Social benefit
Don’t confuse social benefit with economic benefit. You should explain the impact on employees and customers in respect of working conditions, health and quality of life.
- Economic benefit
Don’t be reluctant to state how financially successful a development has been, also make available market data that supports the view that the development is wanted. There is a big difference between sales push and market pull.
- Clear objectives
Lack of clearly defined objectives has been a particular problem for the International Cooperation award. In many cases the project looks like an aid programme with only one party being benefited – make sure you are clear on what you set out to achieve and how all parties benefit.
- Planning and resource allocation
A common fault is to omit a clear statement of the contribution to planning, resource allocation and implementation each partner has made to a co-operative venture. It is not uncommon to find that one partner does the planning and managing and then tells the other partner what to do. This is not effective cooperation and one partner may be getting a very poor deal out of the co-operation.
- Sustainable benefit
Long lasting benefit needs to be demonstrated. Too many entries show benefit in the short term whilst the project is active but with no longer term implications.
Make sure you demonstrate the benefits to both parties along with any extra benefit from the cooperation that would not have occurred without cooperation. Synergy is often not apparent on an entry.