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Premiere of the Multi-Day Test Meeting for the Award in Annecy

Outstanding Outdoor: This Is What the Jury's Work Looks Like

How innovative is the outdoor industry really? The answer to this piquant question is provided by an independent jury of experts within the framework of the most comprehensive product comparison in the industry: Outstanding Outdoor. But how does the jury of international outdoor experts work and how does it come to its decisions? ISPO.com accompanied the jury meeting in Annecy, France.

Die internationale Jury von Outstanding Outdoor traf sich im französischen Annecy.
The international jury of Outstanding Outdoor met in the Annecy Mountain Region, France.

Outstanding Outdoor provides the best innovation overview within the outdoor industry - and although this award is provided by OutDoor by ISPO, it is organized independently from it," explains David Badalec, head of the ISPO Business Solutions, and complements it:We want to ensure the credibility of the award - and thus its orientation function - through maximum independence: ISPO is not part of the jury, nor do we only evaluate submissions from exhibitors to our events. All decisions are made by the jury purely on the basis of product quality, the expertise of the jury and the concrete product experience.

An extensive field test was carried out for the first time to finde the award winners. This year, perhaps the most important "outdoor playground" in France was selected as test area: The Annecy Mountain Region.

Day 1: Thumbs Up or Down?

The first working day was marked by a preselection. The jury members were divided into different working groups based on their expertise and dealt intensively with the products assigned to them, which were presented by the manufacturers in words, pictures and partly also with a video.

There was intensive discussion in the working groups, but the decisions were made by every individual jury member: Click on the symbol Thumbs up meant that an in-depth examination of the product was desired.

Day 2: Intensive Practice Tests

On the second day, the jury members and the products went outside: The working groups tested the products in practice - either on the campsite on the shores of Lac d'Annecy or on the flanks of the 2198-metre-high Le Sambuy, which with its numerous hiking trails, climbing routes and residual snow fields is an ideal testing ground. Two hours on a rock face often says more about a product than any description,“ says jury member Alexandra Schweikart.

Time for testing, time for intensive discussions in which each jury member could contribute itts practical experience. It was particularly important to the organisers that the products were viewed from different perspectives.

The jury was composed accordingly: Professional athletes such as alpinist Jost Kobusch or climber Alexandra Schweikart, whose life sometimes depends on the functionality of a product; product buyers from various distribution channels (Johannes Ahrens from specialist dealer Camp4, Nico Thomas from wholesaler Globetrotter or Carolin Fittkau from online specialist Zalando), who have a market overview like nobody else; Specialist retailers who know their customers' requirements and also take back defective products; the English sustainability expert Professor Charles Ross and production specialists such as Professsor Matthias Kimmerle.

Not to be missed, of course, were the voices of the independent press, which were represented by Gijs Loning from Holland, Piotr Drozdz from Poland, Will Renwick from England as well as Guillaume Nahry and Jean-Christophe Bastiani from France. The picture drawn of each product was a comprehensive one.

Die Fachjury testete die eingereichten Produkte in Annecy auf Herz und Nieren.
The expert jury put the submitted products through their paces in Annecy.

Day 3: Hard Decisions

The day of decisions: Each working group presented the products it had intended to be awarded as a "Gold Winner" to the plenum and had to face the critical questions of their colleagues in the process.

Are new materials or processing technologies used? Is the construction or the design unique? Is the product convincing in terms of sustainability? In any one of these areas, a product must be convincing in order to be awarded a prize," explains jury member Charles Ross the evaluation criteria.

Only when the majority was convinced a product was awarded as Gold Winner of a product category. In a final step, the „Outstanding Products were awarded.

"With the "Outstanding Product" award, we honor outstanding achievements across all product categories. The products of the outdoor industry often set standards - with "Outstanding Product" we offer these highly innovative milestones and industry trends a communicative stage", says David Badalec.

The 4 Industry Trends of the Outstanding Products

  • SustainabilityOur passion for the great outdoors goes hand in hand with a passion to protect it: Where the outdoors is at risk, we cannot turn a blind eye. Sustainability is doing business right: by avoiding future costs to restore nature, by more effective production, prolonging the product use and by considering the afterlife of products
  • Comfort PerformanceIt became clear across all product categories that product performance no longer has to be at the expense of wearing comfort or the feel of the materials. Modern outdoor equipment and clothing is characterized by extremely high wearing comfort and outstanding performance at the same time. This combination opens up areas of application for the outdoor industry's products, even away from extreme adventures.
  • LightnessWeight reduction is one of the core competencies of the outdoor industry, where the outstanding craftsmanship and technological maturity of the industry is most clearly visible. Being released from the weight of products, we can enjoy the perception of our natural surroundings even better.
  • Urban OutdoorThe outdoor mindset is not limited to one being immersed in nature. It is also a place of imagination, a dream of getting connected to the outdoors again, a dream that is alive even in the densest urban jungle. Contemporary urban lifestyle products create a strong reference to the longing of being connected with nature - aesthetically suited to the city and its performance demands.

No award was given in the Women's Products trend segment, as none of the products submitted was able to convince the jury without restriction. The four winners as well as the 21 Gold Award Winners and the 25 Winners will be presented at the OutDoor by ISPO in Hall B5. The Outstanding Outdoor awards ceremony will take place there on Sunday, 30.6.2019.

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