03: Barriers to Innovation

In mid 2020 we sat down with a group of the countries most recognised and experienced corporate innovation leaders for their unfiltered and honest view of key industry issues. They represented both clients, customers and agencies servicing the industry.

David Parfett
ex Qantas and Scentre group innovation Strategy and venture leader

So, within any organization, there’s always the black hats. What I’ve kind of learned over my journey is don’t work against them but work with them. So bring them into the tent early on when you’re co-creating or ideating the solution and allow them to be part of that solution in the end.

Daniel Biondi

One of the biggest barriers is innovation theatre, which we need to stop in Australia. Because it doesn’t benefit or help anyone in the ecosystem to deliver the right business outcomes that we’re looking for. We need to start a project, link it to clear business metrics, and track that towards the end and the execution of the project outcomes.

Colin Weir
CEO at Moroku

Look, I like lots of niggle. I love it, and that doesn’t do well for people that don’t do lots of niggle. But I go back to this idea about being courageous. In these small agile teams, we need everybody being the protagonists. We need everybody challenging the ideas and each other, so that we can get to the outcome.

Anthony Johnston
CEO at CoVentured

The best way to remove barriers and get that momentum back is to remove the barriers. In any program, there’s always things that go wrong, it never plans out the way that you think it does, but that’s part of the reason why new things take time and they’re challenging. You have to remove those barriers and remove them quickly.

Melissa Witheriff
Head of Digital Innovation CUA

So, innovation is challenging because it’s really about change management. It’s about challenging the status quo and thinking differently and so the key learning for me is about engaging those people that are critical to the organization, that have subject matter expertise. Bringing them right in the center of the co-design process, so that they feel empowered to be able to create the solution moving forward.

Giles Day
Founder and COO at Big

Once you get to a certain level in an organization, you need to be seen to be right. And we totally sympathize with that. But, there’s too much energy wasted on being right. If you know the answer already, you can’t innovate.

Be open-minded enough to maybe consider ideas that don’t immediately grab us, so that we can hold two opposing ideas in our heads at the same time and try and make them both work before we decide which one we’re going to recommend.

Lorraine Thomas
Chief Officer, Product & Innovation at HCF Australia

Managing detractors can be a full-time job. And let’s be realistic, there’s always going to be people in the organization that are not fully on board. I like to find the problems that they are trying to solve and then align that to an innovative idea or concept. That’s one way to break down the barriers and break down the silos. Another is to find a pain point in their business and get their staff on board and engaged. And kind of do the bottom-up approach as opposed to the top-down approach.