By Clint Harvey, Business Development Manager, Brisbane Airport Corporation
Why did BAC commission the Horizon accelerator?
BAC was looking at a range of different external innovation programs that it could enhance innovation thinking throughout the business. Horizons accelerator was seen as a great
opportunity to partner with experts such as Slingshot to leverage their experience to enrich our internal innovation program.
What were your expectations in terms of outcomes before launching the program?
Brisbane Airport was pretty early on in its innovation journey and definitely very new to working with startups before the Horizons program. Our expectations reflected that. In saying that, people within BAC were amazed at how much could be achieved by the participants in such a short time and this has helped to drive a culture of innovation internally.
How does the accelerator support the broader strategy for innovation at BAC?
Prior to the Horizons accelerator BAC launched the BNE Innovation Hub to foster agile thinking internally. Events such as internal pitch days had been previously run successfully. The Horizons accelerator was the logical next step in our journey, to provide BAC with more structure, expertise and rigour around our innovation programs, allowing us to better connect with Startups.
What insights or learnings can you share with other corporates who are looking to innovate?
When an organisation is early on their innovation journey, it is important to work alongside a partner with industry knowledge and expertise to help understand which mix of innovation strategies are best for you.
What do you foresee to be the biggest challenge during the program?
The biggest challenge was ensuring our people could devote the required time to participate and take time out from BAU activities to be involved where possible. Whilst this was a challenge, there was significant benefit for all who actively engaged.
What do you foresee to be the biggest benefit (expected or unexpected) this year?
Horizons created a mind shift within the organisation to experiment, think openly and embed a culture of innovation. It has also allowed BAC to further develop its reputation as an innovative company, and one of supporting local Startups which has opened numerous opportunities for BAC to be an impactful player in the Brisbane and Queensland Startup space.
What are the outcomes delivered (e.g. customer deal, investment, trials, etc) by the program to date?
While it’s still early days, BAC ran a number of pilot trials that have the potential to develop into ongoing business partnerships.
What’s next for Brisbane Airport?
The Horizons accelerator has opened many new opportunities that BAC would not have been exposed to otherwise which has entrenched us within the local Brisbane Startup ecosystem. BAC will continue to support local startups that align with the improvement of the airport business, operations and traveller experience.