What you can learn from Australia’s most innovative companies

By Robert Half October 23, 2016 at 1:00pm

The three most innovative companies in Australia made it into the top 20 of Forbes’ Most Innovative Growth Companies list for very different reasons.

We analyse what innovation looks like for each company and provide tips on how your business can follow suit.

SEEK's innovation by transparency

While many organisations shy away from employee feedback, or keep it as quiet as possible, job-finding platform SEEK invites open feedback. Comments are posted as reviews on its website for all to see: the good, the constructive and the downright negative.

In such an environment, employees are able to be creative without worrying about being shut down. By fostering a culture that encourages open communication, this transparency sets up SEEK for innovative success.

Employees are further motivated by what SEEK terms its ‘Hackathon’: a two-day event where employees can work on projects that they are passionate about and identify innovative ideas for growth.

Here's how you can learn from SEEK’s example:

  • Actively learn from employees as a way to grow and innovate, instead of the traditional top-down model.
  • Foster an organisational culture of open communication, which allows creative ideas to flow. Try starting an internal podcast series so that members of the company can share their ideas with others.
  • Arrange events that encourage employee motivation - get your team together to brainstorm innovative ideas. SEEK’s employee Hackathon is a great example of this.

REA's motivation with a social conscience

REA Group started as realestate.com.au and is now one of the country’s most innovative companies. This innovation has led to implementing forward thinking parental leave to coming up with the ‘Because we care program’ which enables people to give back to the community by volunteering or fundraising. One of their most innovative corporate social responsibility campaigns involves encouraging new employees to build furniture for the charity, Launch Housing.

REA Group recruits and retains people who care about their community by providing major fundraising drives and incentives. Some of these other innovations include:

  • A matched payroll scheme, where the organisation makes it easy for employees to donate to their chosen charity and then matches that donation.
  • Community grants to causes that are important to employees.
  • Creating more innovative employee benefit schemes. 

Through doing this, REA Group shows other organisations that a social conscience can lead to smart ideas and can secure people who hold the same values as the business.

Want to innovate like REA Group? Try these ideas:

  • Establish clear organisational values and demonstrate them within company policies, on the website and in other communications with employees and customers.
  • Put company values into action through commitment to policies, such as workplace giving.
  • Give employees the opportunity to be creative by understanding more about what they value and providing staff training or a platform to inspire.

Domino's game-changing technology

As one of Australia’s largest pizza chains, Domino’s uses technology to lead the way as one of the most innovative companies in the country.

Domino’s interest in technology began with one question: how do we keep the pizzas hot when they are delivered? They decided to take innovation to another level by working with international GPS experts to track deliveries. This allows customers to watch their orders from shop to home, and maintain communication with their delivery drivers. While technology plays a central role, the true message is that Domino’s uses innovation to stay ahead of its competitors and deliver the best result for its customers and employees.

How you can lead the way like Domino’s:

  • Take advantage of the latest advancements in technology to innovate and streamline solutions. As in the case of Domino’s the investment was worth it.
  • Ask your customers and staff what they admire about your company’s services and how they think you can foster improvement.
  • Establish practical based solutions from this feedback that directly improve your customers’ and employees’ experiences.

Will you be one of Australia’s most innovative companies?

These innovative companies were chosen for good reasons. Each brought their own unique approach to encouraging innovation, and as a result have been rewarded and recognised for their efforts. Take these best practices and apply some of the learnings to your own business strategy, and you might find your company on the Forbes list in the New Year.

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