You know that feeling when a big project comes to an end. It’s a good time to reflect on the highlights as well as what you might tweak next time.

So here are seven reflections on the #UnAwards16

1. No one makes up the numbers

I'd said pre-event that win, lose or draw I wanted no one in the packed ceremony to feel like they were making up the numbers.

Hopefully pulled this off? Colleagues I spoke to after the event who hadn't won or hadn’t been shortlisted said they’d still got lots from the day. Some met Twitter followers IRL. Some arranged meetings with new contacts from their sector. Lots exchanged business cards.

We're a community and we should never lose sight of its importance and potential. 

2. It's hard choosing a film for 141 people

I often get it wrong on a Saturday night when it's just Mrs C and I. I laboured hard over this year's choice but it seemed to work? Groundhog Day echoed nicely this year's theme of teamwork and collaboration.

3. Keeping it fresh

I’m keen that the UnAwards evolves to stay fresh each year. But keeping things fresh has to be balanced with what people enjoy. And, actually, sometimes in life it's good to have some traditions to look forward to. Particularly end of year traditions.

I’d had a few ideas on how to do it differently next time. I mentioned a chance to a dozen people and they all said no, keep the format the same.

So in my haste to keep the UnAwards from becoming a bit samey I've maybe got this wrong. If the format works and people enjoy it who am I to spoil it.

4. A lesson in being gracious

I hadn't known the team or their work before the event. Being shortlisted five times in the UnAwards16 and not winning was tough luck. Their grace and enthusiasm afterwards spoke volumes and is a lesson on how to conduct yourself. I expect to see them at UnAwards17.

5. Winning can take many forms

I met Karen Newman, who had been shortlisted for the lifetime achievement UnAward at the event.

There are some people you meet who you instantly like and I could see why so many people had voted for her. Being nominated for a lifetime achievement UnAward is a lovely accolade and something which would only happen to truly great people, who just happen room work in comms.

6. Supporting our young people

26 entries for best young communicator was so good to see. I wish I could have given them all an UnAward. As I said at the event - they're not the future, they're the now.

I floated the idea that we need to do something extra to support and recognise this important group of colleagues.

Then - and this is why I love the UnAwards - the three Lifetime Achieve the winners, who were all present, had a chat and had the idea that they could share some of their substantial learning and wisdom with these young communicators. What a brilliant idea.

One of our sponsors has said they may be keen to support the initiative too. If others want to chip in then great. I am happy to coordinate and facilitate it.

More on this in the new year.

7. Some big numbers…

The UnAwards16 created huge interest and engagement:

332 entries

77 shortlistees

16 judges

141 attendees

21 winners

4.2million impressions in the last 7 days on Twitter

Finally, on a personal level I was proud of and pleased for all of the winners. You can remind yourself of who won what here.

What next?

I am talking to a couple of organisations about the potential to sponsor three regional 'UnAwards Winners Masterclasses' where we’ll get winners to share their experiences and learning. These were hugely popular in 2015 so keep them peeled on the UnAwards website for masterclass launch news in the new year.

And will there be an UnAwards17? Oh yes. I may ask for a couple of extra pairs of hands next time.


And if you would like to talk about potential sponsorship of UnAwards17 please drop me a note here.

Thanks again to everyone who supported the UnAwards16.

Together we made a beautiful thing

Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0 and organiser of the UnAwards16