When we launched The HCD 10 awards three years ago, the goal was to give attention to the diverse range of professionals who contribute to the design process—and to do so in a targeted way, distinguishing 10 different areas of expertise from which to choose our winners. The fine-tuning process is continual; each year, we’ve reconsidered and tweaked our categories, revised our submission form, and debated the judging criteria. We probably always will.

Determining the final list isn’t a completely objective process. Healthcare Design’s editors make the final selections, and once the nominations are collected, we often throw in a few names of our own based on our observations and reporting over the previous year. Some categories attract more outside nominations than others; some nominations are very thoroughly presented, while others are not. And, of course, the measurement of “impact” can go any number of ways. Do you base an individual’s achievements on numbers (quantity of projects or project size in dollars)? Awards won? Articles or papers published? Longevity in the industry?

We consider it all when we sit down to sift through the forms to determine what mix of 10 will paint the most thorough picture of the year that was. And that’s often the trickiest part. We want a balance: to give recognition to a variety of achievements and to organizations and firms of different sizes and types. We want men and women, newer hires and industry veterans, different geographic regions, and diversity.

We take this approach because we think it’s the best way to showcase the myriad facets of design in the healthcare space, to put literal faces to the unique challenges you’re up against. The creation of successful healthcare environments depends upon an intelligent combination of science, vision, operational performance, market strategy, structural integrity, stewardship, master planning, and art.

The parts (the individual winners and their accomplishments) add up to a spectacular whole. As you read about this year’s winners in the upcoming February issue of Healthcare Design, you’ll see what I mean.

As always, we encourage you to bring to our attention the projects and people that stand out and offer something worth emulating. And not just the big guys, either: We’re eager to tell the stories of smaller firms, niche players, and specialists whose contributions to the spectacular whole often get missed. We’re always looking—but it sure helps if you raise your hand.