- BRW Lists
Published 06 December 2012 05:09, Updated 06 December 2012 06:29
Harvey Sanchez, chief executive of Australia’s most innovative company Clickview in the digital television outfit’s Pyrmont Office. Photo: Louise Kennerley
The three most innovative companies in Australia, as judged by an esteemed BRW/Inventium panel, are a mixed bag of sizes and industries – ClickView, a video streaming service for schools; Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which needs no introduction; and Blue Chilli, a venture technology incubator.
What unites them is their awareness that in times of disruption, innovation is crucial. They also recognise that the harder times are, the more difficult it becomes to innovate. In the midst of economic turmoil a company’s ability to innovate is exacerbated by a sense of paralysis. APN News & Media director of digital ventures Danny Gilligan puts it best: “At the point at which [the corporation] needs to invest in new things, they’ve got negative earnings growth, which means there’s a focus on cutting costs, which means they have no tolerance for [losses], which means they don’t do the innovation.”
But the fact that innovation is so important right now is the reason why BRW teamed up with consultancy Inventium this year to find the 30 most innovative companies in Australia.
BRW had 120 entries, an intense judging process and an innovation audit to whittle the number down to the 30. The ideas they were judged on are diverse – from creating a more environmentally friendly bottle, to a best-selling bar of chocolate, to 24/7 lockers and daily settlements – but there was also a commonality to these winning entries.
Although this list focuses on the end point of innovation – the product or process that came from the innovation – the 30 companies all displayed an understanding of the culture and processes required to support innovation. Whether it was a weekly ideas meeting, or building innovation into key performance requirements, or giving out awards, each of the top 30 had something in place to foster innovation. They also understood that driving innovation has to come from the top and were able to show how senior leaders were involved.
“Innovation starts on the inside,” Inventium founder Amantha Imber says. The top 30 companies don’t necessarily see innovation as bringing something new to the market, she says. Instead what they had in common was, “their leaders took it seriously, they didn’t just pay lip service to the concept of innovation. They were investing resources in building the right culture”.
Imber warns it is wrong to think that innovation will just bubble up from the bottom of a company. “Ninety-five per cent of the time that doesn’t work,” she says. “The senior team needs to unite in driving innovation and setting the tone. It’s also vital to embrace different points of view.”
Her one piece of advice for chief executives reading this list and wishing their company was on it? “Define what innovation means in your company first. In most organisations when you ask what innovation means, everyone has a different answer. You need to get everyone on the same page.”
|2||Commonwealth Bank of Australia|
|9||Mail Call Couriers|
|19||Institute of Public Accountants|
|24||HJ Heinz Australia|
|25||Management Consultancy International|
|29||Kraft Foods Australia|