15 May 2024

Andrew Ward: Future Face of Technology and Innovation 2023

Andrew Ward.jpg

Here to talk about winning the Greater Birmingham Young Professional of the Year award for Technology and Innovation 2023 is Andrew Ward.

 

What is your name, and what is your role and your place of work?

My name is Andrew Ward and I am the winner of the 2023 Birmingham Young Professional of the Year Award in the Technology and Innovation category.

Before I speak a bit about BYPY, let’s first give you a bit of background about who I am; I am the managing director of Scorchsoft, a mobile app development company based in Birmingham.

I founded the business in 2010, and since then, we've grown organically to a team just shy of 20 people. Our primary focus is on helping businesses innovate with technology. We support not only tech businesses but also companies looking to become tech-enabled, assisting them in automating processes and improving operations, and more recently integrating AI. We also create products that leverage the latest technologies.

As managing director, I oversee all functions of the business, though I spend most of my time leading our team and strategising the development of new products and services and how we bring them to market.

Ensuring my team is aligned with our vision is a critical part of my role. While I still engage in some sales activities, I have been increasingly delegating these tasks to focus more on leadership and strategic direction.

 

Were you nominated by someone else for an award, or did you nominate yourself, and why?

I nominated myself for the Birmingham Young Professional of the Year Award.

My decision came from my previous nomination in 2016, when I was a younger professional but did not win my category. The winner that year truly deserved it—they were incredibly strong. However, the reason I chose to nominate myself again was that it was the last year I was eligible due to the award age criteria.

As someone who is quite competitive and enjoyed the process immensely the first time, I saw it as a fun challenge to take on one last time. It felt right to try and end my last official year as a young professional on a high note. I definitely don't regret that decision, especially having won the category this time around.

 

How did you find the application and interview process?

I found the application process quite straightforward. As someone who is accustomed to pitching and knows how to effectively position features and benefits of products, I felt that the questions on the application form resonated with my values and reflected the work I've done in recent years.

Writing the application was enjoyable, though concise due to the word limit. This brevity required precision in my responses, which was challenging, but I managed to articulate my points effectively within the constraints, qualifying me for the interview.

The interview process was interesting and very fast! We were asked four questions with only 15 minutes to respond.

Although the questions were provided in advance, the format can be quite daunting for anyone, regardless of their confidence level. Facing a panel of five, tasked with delivering robust answers in a tight timeframe, was nerve-wracking, but I felt ready.

I approached it like a pitch, and I intertwined my responses into one cohesive presentation, using the questions as pillars of my argument. I brought materials and examples to support my points, which I believe set me apart and contributed to the success of my interview. This strategic approach paid off, making the experience both challenging and rewarding.

 

How did it feel to win your award?

Winning the award felt fantastic, especially given the setting. It's one thing to be recognised at a large event filled with other professionals, but another to hear your name called while surrounded by your supportive team. Their presence made the moment even more significant, as it directly impacted how they view my leadership—whether I would win or not.

Beyond any accolades or social media recognition, having someone independently affirm the value of your efforts is incredibly rewarding.

Running a business means you seldom receive the kind of validation or feedback you might get in a structured organisational environment, where you have a line manager or a mentor to guide you. Most feedback in business is tied to commercial outcomes, so it's refreshing and meaningful to occasionally hear a simple 'well done.' This kind of recognition is rare when you're at the top, and it's something I truly appreciate.

 

What impact did winning your award have on your career?

Winning the award has impacted me primarily through the credibility it lends.

The adage 'people buy from people' is true not only for the products and services we offer but also in how the team perceives my leadership. I strive to lead effectively, setting clear expectations and vision, though I acknowledge my imperfections as a human. An accolade such as BYPY serves as a badge of honour, signalling a level of achievement that is challenging to earn and meaningful. Everyone knows what the Chambre of Commerce stands for, so to wear that badge is a strong sign that you uphold high standards too, which builds trust and authority.

This recognition has bolstered my credibility both with customers and potential team members. Customers see the award and feel reassured about doing business with someone who has been formally recognised. Similarly, it has influenced potential employees' decisions to join Scorchsoft over other offers, attracted by the values reflected in our leadership and aligned with those of the Birmingham Young Professional of the Year (BYPY) award and the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.

The benefits of receiving such an award can be unpredictable, ranging from subtle to substantial. Sometimes, what seems like a small acknowledgment can ripple out, influencing perceptions and events in surprisingly significant ways. This 'butterfly effect' can enhance your reputation and open new opportunities in ways you might not initially expect.

 

What advice would you give to those applying for the Greater Birmingham Young Professional of the Year Awards 2024?

My advice to those applying for the Greater Birmingham Young Professional of the Year Awards 2024 is to appreciate that the journey towards achieving something is often more rewarding than the achievement itself. It's well-documented that our joy stems more from the intrinsic motivation during the pursuit than from attaining the goal itself. Whether you win your category or not, the very act of striving towards this goal is valuable.

There's a well-known saying that you achieve what you aim for and miss what you do not. This holds especially true here. Even if you doubt your qualifications, I encourage you to apply. Use the application as an opportunity to refine your ability to sell yourself, a skill that is invaluable in many aspects of life. Often, others may view your achievements more favourably than you do, especially if presented well.

Don't approach the application process with the mindset of winning as the only goal. Instead, see it as a chance for personal growth and enjoyment. While I am competitive and certainly aimed to win, I would have been content regardless of the outcome. I didn't participate solely for the accolade but because I believed the process would be meaningful, interesting, and enjoyable—which it truly was!

 

Where can people get in touch with you if they want to have a chat about the application and interview process, winning an award etc.?

For those interested in getting in touch, I am active on LinkedIn, my company, Scorchsoft, is also on LinkedIn. You can follow our updates on X/Twitter @Scorchsoft. For more information about my Businesses services, visit our website at scorchsoft.com.

If you connect relating to being part of BYPY or the Chamber, please let me know in the note as I get a lot of people adding me on that platform to sell to me, so it will help me to make sure not to ignore you by mistake.

Additionally, I maintain a personal brand website where you can learn more about my other interests, including my involvement in international powerlifting competitions for Great Britain's bench press team.

Visit AndrewLeeWard.com for more about me and further contact information.