Key takeaways

  • CEDA digital disruption event meets to discuss the role of innovation in driving competition.
  • Focus was on how large organisations can overcome existing structures to navigate digital transformation.
  • Leader of Australia Post, Andrew Walduck shares a three-speed approach: long-lead, agile, and navigation of the two.

For nine out of ten Australian CEOs, responding to the impact of digital technology on customer behavior is their greatest concern. By and large, business leaders here have opened the gates of digitisation and familiarised themselves with the landscape. The question on the lips of many is not in what direction they should be headed, but how their organisations – driven by outdated structures and stalled by inherited process – can realistically arrive there.

This was the focus of discussion at CEDA’s latest Digital Bytes forum, which met at PwC’s Sydney office to discuss the role that innovation plays in driving competition. Led by Andrew Walduck, Australia Post’s Executive General Manager of Trusted Services, the evident concern was around how large organisations can drive change at a pace that provides the necessary oxygen for innovation to thrive.

Moving into the right gear

As the industrial revolution shaped the way we live and work, now the digital revolution must impose its own paradigm. New models and ways of thinking are needed in order to accommodate the fundamentally altered world, shaped by the evolving needs of the connected customer, that enterprises find themselves in.

Sharing Australia Post’s journey, Walduck explained the multi-speed approach of his organisation towards its myriad offerings, each of which varies wildly in digital capability. At the baseline lies the traditionally managed, strategic long-lead approach, while the top end operates at the pace of a start-up, implementing an agile methodology that produces rapid outcomes. He moves beyond these two modes, however, to assert a third speed. How to marry the two to produce a well planned and executed technical capability within a compressed time frame?

Deploying creativity

Innovation is a byword for creativity, he argued – and a ‘creative core’ of capabilities must form the basis of successful, digitally led organisations (transforming the way current enterprises are structured). These include a drive for disruptive invention and a move towards lean and adaptive execution; an obsession with customer needs and the will to create frictionless experiences; and the remit for transparency in all interactions.

These mirror our own perspectives on business model innovation – that four broad areas of opportunity can enable transformation: disruption, engagement, digitisation and trust.

The impetus to put the connected customer at the centre of everything you do creates amazing opportunities for businesses to rethink their products and services. But traditional structures inhibit this thinking, imposing as they do archaic forms of accountability, organisation or governance that can stifle truly creative innovations.

Leaders of the digital age face the challenge of freeing themselves from this complexity. They must position their priorities not around inherited mindsets or existing capabilities but instead pivot to focus on driving disruption from the inside-out, implementing digitisation with a customer focus, engaging those customers and maintaining their trust. That will enable the creative thinking and culture that will form the driving force to guide complex organisations to their future destination.

 

Contributor

Philip Otley

Philip Otley is a former partner in PwC Australia’s Experience Centre.

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