Defined as “change that adds value”, innovation is no longer relegated to the domain of tech companies and creative start-ups. Market disruption is big business for both large corporations and agile offshoots in order to anticipate clients’ and consumers’ ever-changing needs. Innovation labs are idea incubators, where teams are brought together to collaborate, problem-solve, and deliver practical solution to customers. Innovation is not simply about technology, but about a company culture where people are inspired.
Here we’ve looked into 5 big businesses who are proving that they too can be as lean and experimental as a start up, and continue to employ innovative strategies to make today’s dreams tomorrow’s reality.
This week, M&C Saatchi, a lead creative advertising company, was named the top innovative company in Australia by the Australian Financial Review. Accepting the award CEO Jaimes Leggett reflected that “every business in every market is being disrupted. Creativity as a means of driving business transformation is profound, and Australia needs it more now than ever.” Reflecting its status as a company creating “change that adds value”, M&C Saatchi was also awarded the Best Product Innovation and the Best Overall Innovation for the bush fire detection technology, Fire Blanket, it developed for NRMA. This collaboration project is an example of businesses collaborating and bringing a unique solution to the market.
In 2016, CBA was ranked Australia’s most innovative financial services company. CBA’s Property App was ranked the Best Services Innovation in 2016 and has changed the way Australians search for, find, and buy property. According to Marc Totaro, Head of Professional Services at CBA, innovation should not be degraded to a meaningless buzzword simply because companies are now adopting it as part of their business model. The Professional Services Insight Report supports Totaro’s claim that as long as companies are optimizing the client experience and creating tangible financial return, innovation is working. Comm Bank has opened three innovation labs in Sydney, Hong Kong, and London. These labs showcase the innovation process to visitors, introduce them to the bank’s latest products, and serve as incubators of collaboration with other clients and fintech partners. You can hear CBA Innovation Director Paige Talbot share her approach to innovation at Insight by The Office Space on Tuesday 31st October.
BCG Digital Ventures is a group of entrepreneurs, investors and operators who believe that visionary companies have to “deliberately reimagine themselves” in order to stay relevant. This uber-innovative arm of the already innovative Boston Consulting Group global management consulting firm is founded on the idea that corporations can, and should, combine start-up-based innovation with their trillions of capital. In doing so, they are enabled to become the new disruptors, rather than being disrupted. They put their heads together to attack established models within the sectors of travel and logistics, commerce, consumption, media, and connected health, just to name a few.
The Office Space is proud to be part of the BCG DV success story. In 2012 a strategic design firm, S&C, leased a workbench at our Reservoir Street offices and, as the 19th fastest growing company in Australia in 2013 (BRW Top 100), ended up taking out the entire floor. S&C was acquired by Boston Consulting Group in 2014 and because the foundation for what is now BCG Digital Ventures. Hear about this growth and discover what S&C director Mike Priddis did next with last year’s Insight event on Innovation.
For Optus, innovation isn’t just one area of business; rather, it is weaved through their entire business fabric, from new products and technologies to the customer experiences, as well as supporting customers in their own enterprises. ThinkSpace is a customer workshop facility where Optus business customer teams are guided to unlock creative thinking, co-create solutions with their team, and are supported to innovate within their own businesses and collaborate with other organisations.
Optus also funds the YesLab, a specially designed studio space where a team of innovators partner with tech startups, universities, and other various institutions to design, build, and test products. The Yes Lab-Optus collaboration allows big business to take a risk, experiment with products and services, and stay competitive. Are Optus future-ready? Yes! Hear how past Insight guest and Clever Buoy inventor James Bush worked with M&C Saatchi and Optus on a multi-award winning innovation to save lives.
HIVERY, formally known as Red Garage, is also an “Office Space” success story, as their team of 5 co-founding entrepreneurs grew their artificial intelligence business while working out of The Office Space in 2016. At their inception in 2014, the team used data from small experiments with vending machines in Newcastle to study consumer markets. Supported by the Coca-Cola Founders Platform, they continue to prove that “data has a better idea,” as they use technologies from machine learning to create retail strategies around brand, package, occasion, price, and channel.
The matured team of architects, designers, programmers, and scientists specialize in using artificial intelligence and mathematical optimization. Their in-progress Retail Genome Project brings new levels of recommendation to companies through smarter planograms without the human bias inherent in traditional retail strategies. Diving deep, their AI-driven engine helps companies minimize over stock and maximize sales. For example, one vending machine has gone from $0pa additional benefit to $2,220pa just by using HIVERY’s Retail Genome. To learn more, watch our Profile interview with TOS founder Naomi Tosic and Hivery co-founders Jason Hosking and Franki Chamaki.
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