Few companies have more credibility around innovation than those presented in the Australian Financial Review’s Most Innovative Companies list.
Here are some of their approaches to innovation that have yielded great success:
People are a key ingredient in an innovative culture, according to Stuart Elliott, managing director at Planet Innovation, which was recently named Australia’s most innovative company for the second time in three years by the AFR.
“We spend enormous effort recruiting entrepreneurial thinkers,” Elliott recently said, adding that he favours deep technical expertise coupled with broad commercial acumen. “Once on board we mentor our staff to seek diverse experience, share their challenges and champion their ideas.”
Appoint innovation ambassadors
Select champions of the end-to-end innovation process to build a predictable and repeatable innovation pipeline. This is the reason property developer Mirvac fosters “innovation champions” spanning different functions, divisions, locations, and seniorities.
Each ambassador is influential, respected and keen to drive change, according to group general manager for innovation, Christine Gilroy, who describes innovation as “very, very embedded”.
“It’s a continual process – and it’s based on lean start-up methodology,” says Gilroy.
Cutting-edge construction company Laing O’Rourke operates on the basis of an offsite practice called DFMA (Design for Manufacture and Assembly). Although routinely applied in sectors such as aerospace for more than a decade, DFMA tenets are new to construction.
Through this process, Laing O’Rourke is revolutionising how towns evolve via a range of manufactured modular solutions, including sleepers and smart walls, all delivered quickly and affordably at pace beyond that of traditional construction.
One of the most ambitious innovators, ING Direct, runs an instant virtual environment designed to mirror the out-of-the-box banking giant in all its complexity.
“The solution enables us to streamline processes that previously took eight people three months – with a very simple self-service model,” ING Direct executive Andrew Henderson says. The takeaway: get radical. Be ready to embrace broad technical solutions.
“Great ideas come from everywhere,” says Xero Australia’s managing director, Trent Innes. This is why the global cloud accounting software giant welcomes innovation through diversity and cross-team collaboration.
For example, when building a new product or feature people from various teams, such as sales and customer experience, are encouraged to be involved from the beginning. “They know the customers inside out and it makes great sense to have them help on the journey,” says Innes. “People with a diverse set of ideas will push your product forward.”
Partner with Telstra to become an innovation leader in your industry. Ask you AE about the innovation partnership opportunities.
Partner with Telstra to become an innovation leader in your industry. Ask your Account Eexecutive about the innovation partnership opportunities.