VirginOne narrowly failed to win the financial services category, but was nonetheless Highly Commended. Set up less than three years ago, the Virgin bank demonstrated all the user-friendliness and youthful energy of its sister organisation Virgin Direct, harnessed to a genuine desire to treat customers as adults - no scripts in its call centre.
VirginOne displayed a particularly strong integration between channels, with customers able to apply for their account via telephone, post or internet, or in virtually any combination of these.
One of VirginOne's key innovations was the use of 'prototyping' to develop a process capability at low cost - a good example being the company's main call centre system - which can then be engineered into a more robust version.
But the key to the company's success to date, it was agreed, are its outstanding culture and people. Chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia deliberately chose 'troublemakers' who were prepared to break the rules when she set the company up, and the rebellious streak remains strong. With a senior management team mostly in their late 20s, the empowerment is genuine. The challenge, of course, will be to keep it as the company grows.