Each year we invite you to submit your great ideas to the coLAB Award. We then get a panel of industry experts to draw up a shortlist of finalists who then have the opportunity to promote their ideas at a high profile event. During this event the visiting public are invited to vote for their favourite idea and select an award winner.
The award promotes the exploration, innovation and design of products, systems and services in the adventure sports environment. It aims to encourage grass root design participation and to reward people with the passion for design by giving them the opportunity to show their idea to the outdoor community at a high profile event.
For the second year running coLAB09 will take place at The Outdoors Show, a 3 day outdoor adventure show at the Birmingham NEC in March. The Outdoors Show attracts 40,000 visitors giving colabbers a great opportunity to get their work noticed!.
Our expert panel which includes Graham Thompson, Mark Taylor and Andy Kirkpatrick have shortlisted our nine finalists! This years coLAB09 stand was located next to the Elements Theatre.
As a committed outdoor adventurer you are no doubt always thinking up devious way of making your outdoor experience even more enjoyable. The award is open to everyone interested in the outdoors; walkers, climbers, bobsleighers, MRTs, hardened industry professionals, divers, canoeists, cyclist, gear freaks, men of the mountains, woodcraft folk and even those people who never stray more than 100 metres from the car.
We are not going to stifle your idea by trying to pigeon hole it into any one category. The important thing is that it has a useful application somewhere in the microcosm we all know as 'Outdoors'. What we do not want are products that are already developed and on the market, other awards already exist for developed products.
Competition start date: TBA
Deadline for submitting entries: TBA
Grand final: TBA
Stage 1 TBA.
You have three months to get your idea ready for our expert panel. You can develop your ideas by yourself, team up with someone who has expertise in an area you do not, get friends and family to try out your ideas with some Heath Robinson prototypes. Use the coLAB forums to ask questions, learn more about which materials and processes can be useful to you but don't give away your idea!
Our 'expert panel' will meet and select just nine entries to go through to the next stage. In general the judges will be looking at how well you have identified a real problem and how succesfully your solution manages to solve it.
Stage 2 TBA.
The nine finalists have just three months to get their ideas ready for coLAB09 at the Outdoors Show. This is crucial time in which to build second generation prototypes, follow up with some further testing and work on your marketing!
It all leads up to this point. The shortlisted nine will have to impress up to 40,000 Outdoor Show visitors over 3 days. This is a totally different pitch than your original entry. It is hectic, it lasts three days and by the end you will be shattered. There is no hiding, you will have to be confident about your product, know what you are talking about, ready to take criticism as well as compliments and market your idea.
The expert panel is drawn from the ranks of the outdoors industry; engineers, marketeers, journalists, technologists or practionists. The role of these industry specialists will be to draw up a short list of 9 entries who will be invited to attend coLAB at the Outdoors Show. Judges for coLAB09 were Graham Thompson, Mark Taylor and Andy Kirkpatrick.
Graham Thompson - GT is quite possibly the best known gear tester in the UK, and deserves credit in putting science behind the testing. Choose any day of the year and you will find Graham somewhere in the Lakes testing a pair of boots or someones latest waterproof.
Dr Mark Taylor - If anyone has been lucky enough to spend a little time in the Labs of Leeds Uni. then you will have seen Mark spinning some dials, applying some kind of force to something and generally trying to break stuff. Mark is also a keen caver and mountain biker.
Andy Kirkpatrick - One of the UK's leading alpinists, Andy knows a lot about gear and the way stuff works. He is also willing to test this stuff in some really really harsh environments. His recent trip to Patagonia saw him gear testing in the extreme. He is also one of the funniest men alive.
By entering our award you have a chance to exhibit your idea at Europes largest outdoor adventure consumer show. By attending the show as an exhibitor you will have a unique opportunity to develop contacts within the industry as well as promoting and creating exposure for your idea. It is not every day you get the opportunity to present your idea to 40,000 people! There is no charge for entering the contest.
In addition the three projects most highly rated by the shows visitors will receive a cool trophy plus:
If you are looking for inspiration check out the entries from coLAB08
The Award attracts a range of entries that are as diverse as the outdor sector itself. Your work will be evaluated in two stages by two very different audiences. The judges can only judge what they have in front of them so think how you can communicate your idea clearly and trigger their interest. No matter how good your idea it is important that you target your pitch correctly at each stage.
Remember that if your idea makes it past our expert panel you will be invited to show your idea at the Outdoors Show. This will require a lot of hard work on your part but the rewards can be high.
If you are considering developing your idea and bringing it to market you should seriously consider protecting it. The Outdoors Show is a very public arena! Our repository contains some useful links to help you get started down this road.
A great idea isn't always complicated and developed by teams of boffins working in a dormant volcano. It is a fact that some of the most innovating designs in the outdoors industry have been the little things, such as buckles! If your idea succesfully solves your problem then you are half way there.
Theoretical ideas are fine but if your idea involves futuristic uber-technologies such as teleportation then you may be better posting your idea in the coLAB forums. To progress in the Award you will need to convince the judges and the show visitors that your idea can work!
If you are in the final and you want a career in the industry then be ready to market yourself. Print up some business cards, send out some invites before the event, maximise your exposure.. you have earned it.
For entry details click here.
Want to take part but not sure where to get started? The coLAB website includes some useful resources to help you design and realise your product. To help you on your way you may want to check out our repository of links that includes innovative products, other design awards and forums where you can talk to other activists.
Last year we uploaded entries as they came in giving fellow colabbers the chance to leave their comments. This gave people some great ideas on how to improve their designs but it was to late to change their entries. This year we are going to do things a little different, you will be able to share your ideas in development with other colabbers through the coLAB Forum. We feel this will offer a better degree of interactivity. When you are ready to submit your idea you can do so through our online form.