Posted: 27 Nov. 2019 09 min. read

Driving innovation

Part 3: Best foot forward

Successful businesses don’t stand still – they’re always looking for what’s next. We sat down with Deloitte Best Managed Companies coaches, Carlo Pasqualini, Natalie Faull and Xenia Delaney, to discuss how innovation drives evolution in Australia’s top private businesses.

When we hear the term ‘innovation’ most of us will think of a brand new, life-changing technology: the iPhone, computers or robotics. But that’s not all innovation is.

As Carlo Pasqualini, Deloitte Best Managed Companies partner lead for NSW says, “It isn’t always about coming up with something new. It might be, but it’s also taking something that is already there and doing it better.

“Innovation is really about seeing things that other people don’t see.”

And it’s becoming increasingly important in business. As our world becomes smaller and more competitive, and technology almost ubiquitous, leaders are finding they need to evolve to stay ahead. 

“Companies are even adding creative thinking to their management teams because it’s so competitive out there,” Carlo says. “You need people who can see things differently.”

It’s little wonder that innovation was on the radar of our Best Managed Companies applicants and a key part of their strategy moving forward. How are they approaching it and what are they doing differently?

A framework for success

Xenia Delaney, Deloitte Private market leader Western Sydney, says having the right culture and capabilities add a significant competitive advantage to a business. But to spur innovation, this must be mixed with the right processes to funnel ideas.

“Best Managed Companies embrace innovation by having the right framework to capture new ideas and a system that enables efficient testing,” Xenia says.

“Employees are encouraged to try new ideas – but to fail fast if required. They often employ modern tools to expedite the design-thinking process and link multiple feedback channels to ensure customer centricity remains at heart.”

A culture of success

Natalie Faull, partner at Deloitte Private and lead for Australia’s Best Managed Companies, says often these processes are tied to culture, making innovation a more organic output. 

“A Best Managed Company will have a defined process on how they foster innovation and will have specific initiatives that align with a culture that allows it to grow,” she says. 

“A big misconception with innovation is that it always has to be about technology. It’s more than that. Technology acts as an enabler. But some of the best ideas are often process or procedurally-driven – it can certainly be innovative if it makes a real difference.”

Making it a reality

Private businesses are often entrepreneurial by nature, giving them a significant premium on creativity and innovation. But Carlo says the challenge isn’t idea generation, it’s often finding the funding to take the next steps. 

“You can have great ideas but you have to be able to monetise it. Even getting something off the ground costs money. It’s where a lot of people fall down,” he says.

“Private businesses have innovative thinking in spades – they have the right vision and they want to do things differently. It’s important they have a plan so they’re not hamstrung by the next step.”

Natalie agrees. “If you’re going to try and foster innovation within your organisation and encourage your employees to submit new ideas, you need to make sure you bring it to life,” she says. “It’s all very well and good to encourage innovation – but then you have to ensure you act on it.”

Meet our authors

Natalie Faull

Natalie Faull

Partner, Deloitte Private

Natalie is the National Leader for the Best Managed Companies program in Australia, with over 20 years in practice and 15 years with Deloitte Private. Natalie specialises in providing accounting, taxation and commercial advisory services to privately owned businesses, foreign subsidiaries and the families that own them. With the support of the Global Deloitte Network, Natalie is able to understand and solve for the complexities that exist in her client base for them to operate in foreign markets. Natalie is passionate about providing solutions that add value and tangible outcomes for her clients, while balancing a deep understanding of the family dynamics and challenges that arise as a result. Natalie's experience spans a variety of industries, with a focus and expertise in Consumer & Industrial Products and Agribusiness. Natalie is a Chartered Accountant, Chartered Tax Advisor and a member of the Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand.

Carlo Pasqualini

Carlo Pasqualini

Partner

Carlo is an experienced practitioner with over 35 years of experience in audit, assurance and advisory related services for private, middle market and small/mid cap listed companies. Carlo is a partner in the Audit & Assurance Private division of Deloitte and serves as a lead and audit partner for clients across a range of sectors including Retail, Technology, Consumer, Industrial Products and Professional services and has also assisted a number of clients going through an IPO process and other exit events. His years of experience in servicing the middle market has provided him with a commercial approach in dealing with his clients. Carlo is also the NSW lead for Deloitte’s Best Managed Companies programme. 

Xenia Delaney

Xenia Delaney

Partner, Assurance & Advisory

Xenia has over 24 years’ professional experience with Deloitte including 12 years' as an Assurance and Advisory partner focusing on the delivery of both external audit engagements and advisory work across an array of industries. Xenia is the Private Market leader in Western Sydney. She has strong technical accounting, reporting and advisory skills with specific focus on providing commercially sound yet compliant solutions to both her audit and advisory clients. Her experience has been focused on delivering services to both listed public companies and substantial Australian Private companies with geographically diverse business operations, including several Private Equity Funds. Xenia has been the Lead Audit Partner on several strategic client engagements who she has served in various roles over many of her last 24 years at Deloitte. Her passion for delivering exceptional client service is achieved through her openness and commitment to transparent and timely communication. Through this process Xenia has achieved a well-respected  rapport with Boards, Committee members and management overall.