By Kyle Loades, Former President, NRMA
Kyle was the Chairman of NRMA until December 2017. During this time he presided over a period of change which included diversification, board and executive renewal, and introduced an aggressive strategy to become one of Australia’s foremost providers of transport and tourism services.
This is what he had to reveal about working with Slingshot Accelerator.
Why did NRMA commission the Jumpstart accelerator?
NRMA was looking to innovate for the future and deliver innovative products and services for its members. NRMA considered both running a program internally or partner with an external party. NRMA decided to partner with Slingshot because they had the capability to fast track our innovation. Within 6 months the Slingshot program managed to turn around new products and services which was an outstanding result.
What were your expectations in terms of outcomes before launching the program?
Our hope was that through the Slingshot process what we would be able to find or create new services for members that we would otherwise not be able to achieve. The reality was that we identified a number of ventures that would deliver benefit to our members. We chose to invest Camplify, which was close to one of our core business in travel and tourism, yet offered a new business model based around the sharing economy and built on technology. The business has since gone on to expand locally and world-wide which is a great result from a what started as not too much more than a concept.
How does the accelerator support the broader strategy for innovation at NRMA?
Over the 90+ years of the NRMA, our core business objective has been to add value to our members with new services and products that support the traditional roadside services. The accelerator program helped find, build and support those new services and products.
What insights or learnings can you share with other corporates who are looking to innovate?
Many times corporates go their own way with their own in house capability. Whilst this approach has merit, Corporate should seriously consider a partnership model as a way to fast track innovation. Slingshot had the ecosystem of startups combined with in-house capability which is unique and allows corporates to leverage this.
What do you foresee to be the biggest challenge during the program?
There weren’t many challenges. However, there were learning taken from the rate at which the startup cohort were able to move. NRMA was able to leverage these methods to fast track innovation internally.
What was the biggest benefit NRMA experienced?
The benefits from the program were twofold. Not only did we create new services to benefit our members, but we also enhanced the internal innovation culture at the NRMA. With a proud 90+ year history of innovation, the program showed us what could be achieved through partnership.