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Promote Creativity & Innovation through Award

To mark Creativity & Innovation Day today, April 21st, we encourage people to apply for the Cheryl Stephens Innovation Award that we sponsor. The award spotlights the work of inspiring members of the Plain Language Association International (PLAIN).

The root of innovation is creativity.
As Jeremy Johnson, co-founder & CEO of Andela, said,
“Creativity is evenly distributed; opportunity is not.”
This builds on Rye Barcott’s in message in his 2011 memoir,
“Talent is universal; opportunity is not”.

Creativity produces innovation. We celebrate both.
At skritswap we believe everyone can be creative although opportunity may not be present. And sometimes people lack the tools or confidence to use their creativity for professional purposes.

True innovation puts people first.
Technological and scientific advances have improved practices to achieve clear communication. But innovation reaches arises outside technology, as Kevin Morris from the Ontario College of Art and Design University describes:
“At its most basic level, design thinking provides a structured and iterative approach to creative problem-solving, putting users and customers — instead of our own organizations or a new technology — at the centre of the problem-solving process.”


Share ideas across professional boundaries.
Cross-fertilization of ideas from a variety of fields also produces innovation.
Innovation has come to plain language thanks to people, from fields like neuroscience or usability or linguistics, who shared their knowledge and techniques, new or time-tested.

Award highlights an incredible career.
This new award honors our own plain language expert for her outstanding achievements in creating and advancing the plain language community and as a PLAIN co-founder.
Across her 30-year career, Cheryl Stephens has had a growth mindset with innovative and creative thinking, while also importing learning from other fields. Cheryl introduced the plain language community to many internet developments like listserves, email lists, online forums, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms.
Before she joined our artificial intelligence start-up, skritswap, Cheryl worked to:
• expand global awareness of plain language,
• build international links and resources,
• teach others how to practice plain language,
• develop international training programs.

Most recently, Cheryl has supported the work of the umbrella organization International Plain Language Federation, now focused on creating international standards for plain language.
For skritswap, she has adopted new technologies for working as a remote team, provided critical product development feedback, and trained a machine in plain language. We are so grateful to have her here at skritswap, I especially appreciate her unique perspective on our team.

Recognize the significant contribution of a PLAIN member.
We know there are many amazing people like Cheryl in the plain language community who exemplify the tenets of this award. So we have sponsored this award to encourage such contributions.
The award will recognize someone whose contribution benefits the plain language field in one of these categories:
• Technology
• Advocacy
• Research
• Professional development

The deadline for nominations is June 1, 2019 at 5:00pm Eastern time and the winner will be announced at PLAIN’s conference in Oslo this September. Check the criteria on PLAIN’s award page, then submit nominations to: awards@plainlanguagenetwork.org .