How These Four Australian CEOs Are Using Innovation to Future-Proof Their Business
Today’s businesses are having to aggressively pivot and strategise if they want to succeed in a constantly changing world. By embracing change rather than reeling away from it, organisations are able to better position themselves ahead of their competition.
Here are four lessons that we can learn from the C-suite of multiple successful Australian companies, from specific technologies that they are now adopting, to philosophies and cultures that they have developed over the years. These changes are being implemented at many levels, but have all been driven and guided by the organisation’s CEOs.
How can a modern organisation leverage digital disruption to its benefit? These four CEOs have it all figured out.
1. Domino’s Embraces New Delivery Technology — Through Drones!
“We invested in this partnership, and technology, because we believe drone delivery will be an essential component of our pizza deliveries.” – Don Meij, CEO at Domino’s
In November 2016, Domino’s first delivered a pizza by drone. But this was only the beginning of the company’s strive for innovation. Though the service was initially dismissed by many as a publicity stunt, Domino’s has continued to move forward with drone-based technologies. In fact, it’s even partnered with the Flirtey drone delivery service.
Domino’s Don Meij stated, “They can avoid traffic congestion and traffic lights, and safely reduce the delivery time and distance by traveling directly to customer’s homes. This is the future.”
Just six months later, Domino’s began to deliver pizzas with delivery drones in the Netherlands and Germany. These were different delivery drones — small, autonomous vehicles that traveled by sidewalk. The ultimate goal for Domino’s is to improve the way that food deliveries are handled, in a way that improves the overall customer experience.
Fast food pizza is a tough, competitive business. Many individuals have their “favourite pizza company” and often the pizza they order is determined by region. By looking into these new drone services, Domino’s poises itself to revolutionise the industry while also having something that no one else does.
2. Charter Hall Builds out Its Innovative Processes and Promotes New Technologies.
“We want to be at the forefront of this innovation; we’re not just focused on creating a pipeline of great ideas, it’s all about partnering with organisations to build capability and execute, and a culture of innovation to think and act differently.” – Aidan Coleman, CTO of Charter Hall
Why was Charter Hall named one of the Top 20 Most Innovative Companies by Collective Campus? If you ask their CTO Aidan Coleman, it’s all about company culture. Charter Hall has focused on creating a “well-established innovation pipeline,” designed to produce creative thinking at all levels of the organisation.
If you ask Charter Hall CEO David Harrison, it’s also about the buying: “In my career the profit is always in the buying. You have to buy well to generate good returns.” Both explain why technology is so incredibly important.
Coleman notes that the majority of the real estate sector is hesitant to adopt new technology. Outdated, legacy technologies can keep real estate companies lagging behind their peers in other industries. Charter Hall keeps itself intentionally agile in order to take advantage of new technology and innovation as it arises. They have their innovation processes to thank for this, which they spent 2 to 3 years developing. Coleman adds that encouraging diversity and different thinking has led to many new approaches throughout the company, as both bring in fresh new ideas.
3. Qantas Accelerates New Businesses, with an Eye on Potential Future Partnerships
“We had a very tough period, where the company had to make a lot of changes to survive. And what was great about the transformation program was how people got behind it.” – Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas
In early 2018, Qantas Group held its second AVRO Accelerator, in partnership with Slingshot. The AVRO accelerator is designed to give startup companies the opportunity to work with established businesses in order to quickly grow their businesses. At the same time, Qantas is able to learn from these partnerships, and potentially get on board early with new and innovative technologies. This has been a necessary development for a business that previously experienced economic hardships.
By interacting with up-and-coming businesses, Qantas can improve its own relevancy and potentially expand into new sectors. As a member of the notoriously competitive and tumultuous airlines industry, Qantas has focused on building out its customer service and overall user experience.
As a consequence, the AVRO Accelerator project is specifically targeted towards companies offering personalised experiences, life-enriching services, customer connections, safe operations, and original thinking. These are all values that Qantas holds today.
4. Carsales Uses New Machine-Learning AI Technology for Image Recognition
“Carsales sees the investment in AI as a key pillar moving forward allowing for future improvements in fraud detection, automation, personalisation, and recommendation engines.” – Jason Blackman, CIO of Carsales
Artificial Intelligence could be coming to car sales at Carsales. To encourage the development of new and unique products, Carsales holds a regular hackathon. During these hackathons, developers are free to work on related projects and prototypes, one of which is an Artificial Intelligence solution that can recognise uploaded images.
Called Cyclops, this AI-driven technology could radically improve the platform by making suggestions to users and helping users compare images. Rather than forcing employees to manually categorise images, the Carsales.com platform can instead automatically categorise images, greatly reducing administrative time.
Through machine learning, Cyclops can learn over time, improving upon its accuracy the more images it sees. And it sees a lot of images. Carsales has 20,000 images uploaded to its platform every day. Eventually, this technology may be used for other image recognition services. All of this was initiated through the scheduled hackathons that Carsales often holds.
The Future Is Coming: Is Your Organisation Prepared?
All of these organisations are very different, but they have one thing in common: they have embraced new technology and all of the opportunities that it represents. Naturally, it can be difficult for organisations to determine which direction they want to grow, as well as staying knowledgeable about new technology as it arises.
Having a strong network can help. Building a network of mentors, entrepreneurs, and other C-suite professionals can help executives in planning their company’s future.
For more information about managing digital transformation and connecting with other innovative businesses, speak to a TEC membership advisor.