Q&A: Janine Leghissa – Staying Ahead of Trends and Finding Creative Ways to Engage is Crucial

“Looking ahead, one of the biggest challenges is maintaining the freshness of innovative ideas,” says Leghissa.

As part of the recent Asia Pacific Stevie AwardsBranding in Asia has partnered with the organization for a series of post-event interviews with jurors to get their insights on what they saw during the judging period – including the latest trends, business challenges, and those exceptional entrants that stood out from the rest.

Next, we talk with Janine Leghissa, Founder, CEO, and Designer at Desiderate, a jewelry brand based in New South Wales, Australia.

Over the course of our Q&A, Janine shares what she looked for when evaluating entries, interesting innovations, APAC regional trends, and more.


What were you primarily looking for when evaluating the entries in your category during the 11th annual Asia Pacific Stevie Awards?

Because the categories I was judging were awards in innovation, I was primarily looking for groundbreaking ideas and fresh perspectives. I sought out entries where people were trying different approaches and truly embracing innovation, rather than following the same old methods or imitating others. It was all about originality and creativity.

Considering the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards focus on innovation in all its forms, what were some of the most interesting innovations you saw based on your reviewed entries?

I saw some entries really having fun by using regular local people to showcase what their business offered. Some were doing it fabulously well and getting amazing results. It was fascinating to see how involving the local community in creative ways could lead to such impressive outcomes.

“Staying ahead of trends and finding creative ways to engage the audience will be crucial for organizations in the APAC region.”

The Stevie Awards judges’ average scores determine the Stevie Award winners. What factors helped certain entrants receive higher ratings to rise above the competition?

It was all about showcasing their innovative ideas and presenting them clearly, leaving no ambiguity about their uniqueness. Some entries demonstrated how well they were performing, but they weren’t doing anything differently from before and were following standard marketing procedures.


While this shows the system works and is successful, the main priority was to highlight innovation. Therefore, entries that showcased true innovation scored higher and stood out in the competition.

Were there any regional trends or challenges that you noticed in the submissions?

Yes, absolutely. Strong trends included art exhibitions in malls in China and local user-generated content in the Philippines.

Looking ahead, what are your thoughts on the biggest challenges and opportunities facing organizations in the APAC region in the coming years?

Looking ahead, one of the biggest challenges is maintaining the freshness of innovative ideas. Initially, I was very impressed with the art exhibitions in malls in China—it was a brilliant concept. However, as I reviewed more entries, I realised that almost all malls were adopting this idea, which risks oversaturation. The key challenge will be to continuously come up with new and interesting concepts to keep audiences engaged.

On the flip side, I think there’s a significant opportunity in leveraging local user-generated content from real people, as seen especially in the Philippines. This approach has been performing exceptionally well, and there’s a big chance to capitalise on it before it becomes overdone and loses its appeal. Staying ahead of trends and finding creative ways to engage the audience will be crucial for organizations in the APAC region.

This Q&A was published in partnership with The Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards. To learn more, including how and when to enter visit asia.stevieawards.com


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