Hargraves’ Executive Director, Allan Ryan, welcomed participants from a diverse range of organisations to this event, hosted by AMP Services. Allan suggested that the role of innovators to inspire and achieve through collective wisdom had never been more pertinent as many organisations struggled for greater productivity and business transformation on every level.
Event host Mathew Wood shared how Living the Innovation Program at AMP had come about and from the perspective of a first time participant. His presentation of recent activities initiated by the AMP innovation Board included crowd sourcing idea challenges , interactive idea labs and how business led implementation shaped the experiences of a raw innovation advocate. Matt’s candid presentation embraced the experiences, challenges, fears and learnings of a leader who had been given the freedom to be creatively restless.
Deb Holder from the Victorian Public Service Continuous Improvement and Innovation Coordinator then explored the approaches that had been taken by the Victorian Government through VPSCIIN to foster and encourage innovative approaches to policy and program development and its implementation. Through VSCIIN initiatives, public servants are being brought together to learn and share their knowledge in supported ways. A key goal was to break down silos and find ways to encourage bottom up innovation and creativity. In the past year this had been challenging due to significant changes that had been introduced to the government workforce where fear and a siege mentality could potentially work against these practices.
For Session 2, Ed di Collato from Sustainbiz examined the prospect of Strategic drift: When incrementalism becomes palliative care. Ed contrasted strategic issues and approaches from the 19th Century to those that were required in today’s world. In his presentation Ed put the case for both incremental and breakthrough innovation which, if culturally accepted, would ensure future prosperity and success. With higher levels of uncertainty and ambiguity Ed proposed a need for: a population of competing business models; a continuum of risk/return experiments; a rapid prototyping of business plans and an internal market for the evolution of competing business plans. Ed was joined by Emma Young from Phooey Architect (Melbourne) who demonstrated how an innovative approach and lateral thinking can transform the outcomes of architectural design through considered reuse of materials in a changed context. Emma showed just how this could work creatively in both industrial and residential applications.
After lunch Linda Martin from Arthritis Victoria talked to attendees about ‘Using innovation techniques at Board level to build change’. Linda suggested that sometimes the most innovative things that one might do are the basics such as releasing the historical mindset and redefining values of the organisation and adapting new tools and techniques that foster interest in moving beyond the status quo.
Dr Sarah Mackenzie from Smart Water Fund then discussed her experience and insights into ‘The Importance of Structured Facilitation for Successful Collaborations in R & D’. Sarah’s role is to help her stakeholders pool their resources, share risk and access a wider set of expertise than would have been possible by working alone. Specifically Sarah shared information on how Smart Water Fund was using an on-line, custom built portal which helped project development and facilitated investment in multiple projects. The on-line interaction enabled the stakeholders to transfer knowledge and processes across the entire industry and clearly demonstrate the value of the investments made.
Theresa Saldanha from Stratosphere 360 demonstrated ‘New ways to drive Innovation and New Business Development in the FMCG/retail space’. As this space becomes more competitive, barriers to entry become higher and profit margins get squeezed. FMCG/retail players are turning to innovation to drive new business delivery. Theresa offered attendees a look at tools, processes and learnings from a technology driven sector that were revolutionizing how business was being done.
Victoria Tulloch from Stellar Concepts offered insights from the perspective of a small creative agency in an industry which is facing rapid change. Operating on a different scale, she demonstrated some of the rationale that has successfully led the agency to build a united and dedicated team approach to constantly analyzing and experimenting with new service offerings in the face of strong competition, and a cannibalized marketplace.
Kerri Ferguson from Box Hill Institute related her own case study Discussing the initiatives of an innovation culture within the Institute and described how she had taken innovation theory from scratch and experimented in partnership with her colleagues in a manner that had brought about both buy in and valued change.
Tess Julian from Ratio underlined the three core values of successful innovation – people, people, people. Innovation was now a widely understood concept that was self generating. Taking good people and building real performance as well as sustaining their performance in every facet of operations remained a challenge for every manager. Drawing on her extensive career in the innovation field, Tess shared some ways in which this might be achieved.
Connect Melbourne was hosted by AMP Services on 7 March 2013 as part of Conference 2013