The Stevie Awards Blog

A Stevie Winner's Pursuit of Life-Changing Products

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, Oct 30, 2018 @ 04:42 PM

For most people, participating in conversations and listening to music are easy to take for granted. For those with hearing impairment, these everyday activities are a major challenge.

Over the past 71 years, Phonak, which is based in Zurich, Switzerland, has been working to eliminate those hurdles for customers around the globe. After many years of dedication in the industry, the company’s achievements now include a litany of technological breakthroughs, each resulting in hearing devices that are more discreet, effective, and versatile than ever before.

phonakA member of the Swiss corporation Sonova Group, Phonak launched the world’s first behind-the-ear hearing aid in the early 1970s, and a few years later, they introduced the first digitally programmable hearing device. In the 1990s, Phonak developed the market’s smallest FM receiver, which paired with a wireless transmitter to minimize background noises and to enhance the clarity of individual voices.

The desire to push the boundaries of hearing technology still drives the company today, resulting in a series of high-profile accolades. Phonak recently launched Audéo B-Direct, the first hearing aid that can connect to any Bluetooth®-equipped mobile device. The product, which earned the organization a Silver Stevie Award for Best Product at The American Business Awards® this summer, automatically senses the user’s surroundings and adjusts the output to make answering phone calls and holding conversations simpler.

On the heels of that achievement, Phonak was named winner of the Gold Stevie for Best Product at The International Business Awards®. This time it was for its cutting-edge Virto B-Titanium hearing aid. Developed using custom 3-D printing, the device capitalizes on titanium’s lightweight and superior strength. The result is a hearing aid that’s virtually unnoticeable to the outside observer.

The Stevie Awards are an extremely important achievement to us. They demonstrate our ongoing commitment to create a consistent, scalable, sustainable competitive advantage within Phonak,” says John Urbaniak, Associate Director, Media Relations US Hearing Instruments at Sonova.

Helping Families Cope with Hearing Loss

The firm’s management has made research and development a top priority going forward. In April, Phonak announced a new audiological center of excellence at its audiology research center outside of Chicago, Illinois, United States. The center will serve as a hub for independent research, as well as ongoing collaborations with a network of top audiology experts and institutions around the globe.

“Tackling everything from pediatric to profound hearing loss, Phonak remains committed to creating hearing solutions that change people’s lives and help them thrive socially and emotionally,” Urbaniak says.

The Swiss company is using its stature in the industry to increase awareness of hearing loss solutions. To that end, it recently partnered with a charity called Songs of Sound, which helps improve access to hearing loss testing and the technology to help correct it.

With support from sponsors like Phonak, Songs for Sound holds a free weekend retreat each year that educates families of children with hearing loss about new technologies. It also teaches them how to navigate the health care system in order to get optimal care. In addition to the camp, the partnership with Phonak helps assist the organization’s Hear the Music Project and mobile clinic tours, which provide 10,000 to 15,000 people a year with access to free hearing tests.

Phonak also works to reduce the stigma that sometimes surrounds hearing loss by leaning on successful hearing-impaired celebrities. For example, it inked a sponsorship deal with stand-up comedian D.J. Demers, a contestant on season 11 of America’s Got Talent. His performances often revolve around his experiences as a youth in need of hearing aids.

The organization also turned Swiss aerialist Jason Brügger into a brand advocate. In this role, he’s involved in a range of projects worldwide to help support those with hearing impairments. Additionally, U.S. golfer and Deaflympics gold medalist Kaylin Yost was a guest keynote speaker at Phonak-sponsored summer camps for children with hearing loss.

“With these ambassadors, we've been able to reach thousands through conferences, community outreach, and speaking opportunities,” adds Urbaniak.

In doing so, the company known for developing state-of-the-art technology has also helped hearing-impaired people heal on an emotional level, too.

Tags: new product awards, best product of the year, service awards, new products and services

How Etech Creates Remarkable Experiences

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, May 10, 2018 @ 09:58 AM

One aim of customer engagement is to continuously build and update knowledge on each individual visitor. Etech Global Services is a leading provider for customer engagement solutions, voice, quality monitoring, chat, social, and email. Etech began in 1997 in Texas in the United States and has expanded to include eight dynamic contact centers across the U.S., Jamaica, and India. Etech won the Silver Stevie® Award for Business Intelligence Solution - Human Intelligence Meets Artificial Intelligence in the 2018 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.
 
Pride in Their Job

etech 1Etech's solutions help their clients reduce efforts, enhance customer experience, increase sales results, and increase market share. Chief Customer Officer Jim Iyoob shares how their "servant leader" philosophy has motivated them to achieve success.

“The most evident area of impact is on the frontline employees,” says Iyoob. “The Stevie Award further validates their day-to-day efforts to make a remarkable difference for our clients. Being nationally recognized with a Stevie Award gives them a tremendous boost of confidence and pride in their job.”

Etech started with about 400 employees and now has grown to over 3,000 employees without a merger or acquisition.

An Effortless Experience

etech 2As 30-year veterans in their field, Etech's Insights division has continued to grow and now consists of more than 200 field expert data scientists. These experts have navigated a definitive increase of consumer control in today’s marketplace, directly impacting their industry and requiring their adaptability.

“Studies have shown that 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with particular companies after a single poor customer experience,” states Iyoob. “Consumers are willing to pay more for a service if they know they are going to have an effortless and positive customer experience.”

Etech constantly aims to make a remarkable difference in their clients’ lives and their communities.

“Growing as a leader does not occur overnight, but once our employees are presented with the tools of servant leadership, they set goals to start making changes intentionally, consistently and daily,” Iyoob says.
 
A Miracle in the Etech Family

Among all the gains and accomplishments Etech has experienced, one of the most dramatic and personal setbacks happened this past year to Etech's President and General Manager, Matt Rocco. Iyoob details Rocco’s story.

“In December 2016, Matt Rocco contracted a high mortality disease known as ARDS and fell into a coma for over a month. However, despite all the medical and scientific data to date, God decided to perform a miracle with Matt and keep him with us. Now, just hardly a year removed from being in a coma, Matt is back and leading the Etech family, which he has done so well for over 17 years. This event not only strengthened Matt and his immediate family, but in fact strengthened the 3,000+ Etech family worldwide.”

Etech defines adaptability as being flexible and willing to positively and purposefully introduce, embrace, and patiently lead the way through change. Etech has fully embraced this spirit.

Tags: best new products, best solution providers, business intelligence awards, new products and services

gemaker Takes Innovative Products and Services to Market in Australia

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jul 06, 2017 @ 10:37 AM

Getting new ideas to market is one of the hardest tasks in the innovation process, especially for a completely new idea for a product or service. Failure to launch can stem from a lack of production capacity to an inability to create a demand for the product and everything in between. That’s where gemaker comes in.

gemaker helps Australia’s inventors take their ideas to the world, providing services in research-industry engagement and commercialization to bridge the gap between origination and growth. gemaker was named the winner of three Silver Stevie Awards in the 2017 Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards for Innovative Management in Business Product & Service Industries, Excellence in Innovation in Business Product & Service Industries, and Innovation in Business-to-Business Services.

A Benefit for All

Natalie-Chapman.jpgAustralian research and innovation has potential for huge positive impact in the real world, if innovators can just connect to the right scientific and technical experts. Natalie Chapman, co-founder and Managing Director of gemaker, is a commercialization and marketing expert with more than 15 years of experience turning innovative ideas and technologies into thriving businesses. She comments on Australia’s role in business development.

“Australia is transitioning to greater professionalism in technology transfer. There's a change occurring in attitudes and approaches in research-industry engagement which we're trying to foster.”

She goes on to say that empowering researchers with skills and resources to proactively engage industries with collaborative innovation solves diverse social and environmental problems that boosts the economy and ultimately benefits all Australians.

How They Work

gemaker’s success speaks volumes about how they work and why it’s so effective. Although their research and technology commercialization consultancy company consists of a small core staff, their flexible auxiliary team of about 20 regular contractors understands perseverance, passion and a great team works best when success is measured by the work you do, and not just the time spent doing it.

“gemaker is proudly built around a sustainable, flexible and progressive employment model that is project-based. This means paying people for the work they do, rather than paying them for being in the office for a set period of time.”

This model creates opportunity to tap the skills and expertise of a range of intelligent, qualified and experienced people who do not want rigid jobs, but still seek to make valuable contributions through meaningful careers.

The World is Noticing

There’s often a divide in the understanding and culture between different research organizations, such as universities and commercial companies. Closing the research-industry gap is a win for both sides that also benefits society in general. One way of doing this is with international attention that helps promote what gemaker is doing worldwide. Natalie is particularly proud of the Stevie for Innovation in Business-to-Business Services award they received for their Industry Engagement Training for Researchers.

“The award recognizes the importance and quality of the work we do to help researchers develop effective strategies to form long-term, productive and profitable partnerships with commercial companies.”

Whether it’s helping businesses achieve their optimal commercialization outcome, a spin-off from a research organization, growing sales of products or services, licensing agreements, or the sale of your business, gemaker is helping companies grow and evolve into new markets to reach new heights of success

Tags: innovation awards, management awards, best new product, new products and services

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