As the DADI deadline looms today, our judges tell you what you need to demonstrate to win an award

DADI judge Alex Wright

Today is the final day to enter this year's DADI Awards, and so to mark the deadline The Drum has asked new judge Alex Wright and chairman of the judging panel Phil Jones what they will be looking for when they preside over this year's awards.

The DADIs, organised by The Drum and sponsored by Adnetik and Monotype Imaging, recognise and reward digital excellence. You can submit your entry at

Alex Wright, co-founder of Friday

What does your company do and what is your role?

I’m CEO of Friday. Friday is an agency that provides a mix of digital strategy, service design, and innovation to clients. Typically, those clients need to operate large ecosystems of digital products, tools, utilities, campaigns and so on, in order to serve their prospects and customers. For most, this means they’re marketers wrestling with a digital mess - which we help them untangle.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

From the people I work with - both clients and colleagues. We solve problems by gathering round large tables, drawing and telling stories together. The calibre of the people, and the chemistry of their combined expertise and attitude is incredible. We have a very strong “one team” philosophy, across agency and client, and a kind of militant commitment to collaboration. This way of working, and the speed and quality of output it generates, is hugely exciting and inspiring.

What is it about digital that excites you so much?

Two things:

1. It’s positively disruptive impact - redistributing power from institutions to people.

2. It is now genuinely ubiquitous. It’s been normalised into so much of everyday experience. There is no “not digital” anymore, anywhere.

For you, what's the most exciting development in digital?

In a phrase - the here-to-stay-ness of it. People’s expectations about the quality of digital experiences are high - we want useful, usable and delightful interactions that allow us to have real impact in the world and give us real control. The pressure is on for organisations to meet these expectations. Those that do, will win and keep customers.

This pressure is changing organisations for the better. It’s forcing them to develop new capability, to radically re-think governance, to re-engineer and re-plumb – all with the customer at the centre. This is a good thing.

Where do you see the digital industry progressing in five years' time?

The creation of good-quality interactions relies on what have conventionally been under-used marketing skills - e.g. the conscious practise of intimacy with the intended audience, an orientation of products and services around customer need, an aesthetic sensibility, etc. As organisations use these marketing skills to radically improve their digital service delivery there’s a great opportunity for marketers to change perceptions of themselves - dumping an image of slippery spin-meisters flogging us plastic rubbish we don’t need.

Actually improving things - re-orienting organisations, and their products and service delivery, around their intended users - is the new black for marketers. Digital is rehab for marketing.

Why did you agree to judge the DADI Awards this year?

I’ve judged quite a lot of awards. And i’m a little cynical about marketing awards in general. I’ve worked with awards-obsessed people in the past, with a knack for spotting and producing award winning work that was still rubbish. So, I’m rather keen not to let any rubbish win. And to spot the gems from people who focus on producing gems, not on producing slick award entries.

Mrrreeeeaaaooowwww. Get me.

What makes an award-winning piece of work?

Useful + Usable + Delightful + Effective. I have a personal predilection for “ingenious” too...

Phil Jones, consultant and chairman of the DADI Awards judging panel

What does your company do and what is your role?

Real Time Consultancy has been my business for the last 8 years since I gave up full time work to help mentor businesses, it consists only of “me and Mrs Jones”.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

It is really easy to be inspired when you are fortunate enough to be able to pick and choose who to work with each day. Apart from being much younger than me they are all more talented and driven and I just help point them in the right direction and connect them with likeminded people.

What is it about digital that excites you so much?

I started one of the first digital agencies in the UK back in the early nineties and seeing what we were able to do in those days and comparing it with today is quite amazing. Building the first ever websites for Canon or Diesel felt like a big deal in those days. I get inspired by the people who attend Digital Podge lunch every year, so full of enthusiasm and talent and also great fun.

For you, what's the most exciting development in digital?

It will always be mindset to me. Great creatives coming up with ideas that previously could not be done and now the opportunities are endless.

Where do you see the digital industry progressing to in five years' time?

I have worked on several projects recently to help large groups identify and buy smaller digital hotshops and it does look like medium sized digital agencies will possibly find it a tougher landscape. I hope not.

Why did you agree to judge the DADI Awards this year?

I was asked to choose the judges and chair the first DADI awards over five years ago thinking it would be a one-off but six years on I still really enjoy bringing together such talented group of judges. Apart from the knowledge in the room I always try and surround myself with judges who enjoy life and know how to have fun. Long may it continue.

What makes an award-winning piece of work?

I get to choose the Chairman’s award every year and it normally comes out of all the discussion by the other judges throughout the day, pointing out little nuggets that separate it from the others in the various categories. But sometimes it can be as simple as making sure the entry form adequately explains what was done and what the challenges were, agencies often undersell themselves.

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