26 April 2018

Innovation in the NFP sector for business growth

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Being innovative means taking risks, hence why the term ‘innovation’ is not always synonymous with the not-for-profit sector.  Most not-for-profit organisations don’t see the need to innovate, as they often implement conventional ideas and outdated business models that worked in the past, rather than invest their time, money and limited resources into developing new strategies. As a result, the sector struggles to remain sustainable in a competitive environment whilst trying to tackle the important social issues they set out a cause for.

So how can not-for-profits improve the way they think and operate while remaining sustainable?

To begin with, like any other sector and organisation, NFPs must first accept that change and uncertainty is unavoidable. With drastic decrease in donations, changing market dynamics, technological disruption, social media evolution and the constant fluctuations in government funding are just some examples of the new normal in an already competitive environment. It has never been more imperative that NFPs now need to start thinking outside the norms and be innovative with the way they run their business. 

Some key areas that help drive operational sustainability in NFP:

  • Keeping innovation simple an open
Innovative businesses are ones that improve upon established practices and focus on efficiency.  NFP organisations need to identify where innovation is needed by evaluating its value proposition, operating environment and business model.  Look at everything to see how you can set yourself apart from the competition. From campaign messaging, fundraising techniques, staff relations, even look at possible alternative services that can help be innovative if it brings something new to the front.

  • Driving a commercial mindset
Commercial awareness in the NFP sector is about having an understanding of the business world and its changing dynamics. This can be achieved by donning the commercial lens which helps NFP organisations develop their unique selling point. It is imperative to identify the position you occupy in the social space that differentiates you from the rest in a constantly changing market.

  • Changing culture and innovating from the top
It is inevitable that NFPs need to innovatively change their thinking model and mentality of operations. This starts with a change in internal culture and leadership mentality which needs to be filtered down through all levels of the organisation.  NFP leaders need to ensure that there’s a clear vison that the organisation is working towards while also ensuring all staff to work towards a similar goal. Once you have this leadership mindset, you need to develop a mission strategy to embrace and drive change, rather than shy away from it.

  • Internal and external collaboration brings better results
Australia Post and digital giving provider GiveEasy commissioned a report into the Innovation Index of the Australian Not-for-Profit Sector. According to this report, working together internally is a great way to fuel innovation. The report identifies that successful organisations also look beyond their four walls, developing innovation externally and working across boundaries for a common purpose – the NFP sectors who perform best at maintaining external networks are Youth, Social and Public Welfare.

To know more about how NFPs can innovate their business, attend the NFP Business Growth and Innovation Forum scheduled for June 19 – 21 at the Grace Hotel Sydney. Leaders from some of Australia’s most prominent not for profits will gather their successful case studies on how to make an organisation stand out, grow and bring its staff with you on this ever-changing journey towards innovation and sustainability.

20 April 2018

Most exciting digital innovations of 2018

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Digital innovation is a priority of the public and private sectors alike, with digital disruption coming fast and thick across industries. Technological evolution is confronting businesses and making them re-evaluate traditional business models.

It’s not even halfway through the year and there are already some exciting developments from 2018:

1. The e-health virtual assistant

The Australian Digital Health Agency is in the early stages of creating a virtual assistant to help users navigate the My Health Record website. ADHA is working with FaceMe to determine if the organisation’s data is compatible with the technology.
FaceMe also worked with the National Disability Insurance Agency to develop Nadia- a virtual assistant that helps the agency handle 8000 calls on a weekly basis.

2. AusPost’s Digital ID now accepted in Victoria

Victoria has become the first state to accept a digital version of identity proof in licensed venues across the state. Once the Keypass ID has been set up on the individual’s phone, venues will need to scan the QR code to confirm their identity.

3. Autonomous cars soon to drive Sydney roads

Having passed legislation to enable the tests, the NSW Government has announced driverless cars will be trialled across the Lane Cove Tunnel, Hills M2 Motorway, Westlink M7, M5, Eastern Distributor, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour Tunnel.

4. SA’s L-platers are already using digital licenses

Using the my SA GOV smartphone app, drivers can present their licences in real-time- they even feature an orange or red bar at the bottom to inform police officers of expired or suspended licenses. The app generates a barcode which refreshes every 30 seconds to prevent counterfeit licenses being used.

5. Open Banking

The days of filling out forms with the same information at different financial institutions may soon be over, with open banking promising to simplify every day financial transactions. Open banking will make it easier to compare fees, charges and interest between different banks or insurance companies

Written by: Claire Dowler

Claire Dowler is a Senior Conference Producer with Akolade. She recently graduated with a double degree: a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Media and Communications Studies majoring in International Communication. Claire minored in sarcasm and puns.

A ballroom-dancer who collects salt and pepper shakers and volunteers for animal rescue, you might say Claire has eclectic interests.

11 April 2018

Why are you even talking?

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If you look up the definition of stakeholder engagement, in its simplest form, it is a transaction.

But for me, it’s not about what format or what channels to use or how many times or who is responsible for the communicating. These are important components, and certainly should be addressed but in my view, the most crucial element of the equation that needs to be answered first and foremost is the WHY.

Why should I communicate with this person? And equally… Why would this person want me to engage with me?

To understand the why, our role as a chief communicator, head of function, trusted adviser, or whatever it may be called, it helps if we have an inquisitive mind in everything you do.

I’m constantly imploring my team to question everything. The ‘why’ – why are we doing this a specific way? Why have we not tried this before? Why have we not thought about this way or that…? Why are we still doing this? and the questions can go on and on.

Understanding the why is critical to trying to influence and sustaining effective stakeholder engagement. As we delve into the WHY, essentially what we are determining is the degree of value we are going to deliver.

So keep questioning. Never stop asking questions. If you don’t understand the ‘why’ then how do you expect to communicate the what to your customer?

I will always remember what a wise man once told me; the smartest person in the room is not the one with the right answer, it’s the one with the right question.

Written by: Joe Adamo, General Manager Public Affairs at AEMO

With over 15 years experience in the Public Affairs sector, Joe Adamo has built a reputation of ingraining corporate affairs as a critical business function that will help shape and drive an organisation's narrative and deliver measurable stakeholder value.

Mr Adamo has spent more than half his career within the energy sector, and is currently the Executive General Manager of Public Affairs at Australian Energy Market Operator.

06 April 2018

How well do youth fare in labour markets around the world?

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Australia’s youth employment rates are beginning to show positive progress, with numerous regions across the country now becoming ‘hotspots’ for job creation and apprenticeship uptake.

WA rates in particular are ‘very encouraging’ and ‘demonstrate that the regions do indeed boast strong economies and good employers’, so says Skillset’s CEO, Craig Randazzo.

However, it’s always insightful to view things on a relative global scale, so let’s take a look at youth labour market outcomes in relation to youth participation in vocational education and overall education quality.

In the countries highlighted in green, less than 10% of young people are not in employment, education or training!

Now, let’s look at how these countries with strong youth labour market outcomes do when it comes to involvement in VET.

Almost all countries in this selection have high-quality VET programs that enrol at least 1/3 of all upper-secondary students. But what about overall education performance?

Likewise, almost all countries in this selection have overall student performance at or considerably above the OECD average. And the two outliers, Iceland and Luxembourg, have high rates of upper-secondary VET participation (previous chart).

While economic factors outside of education have an impact on youth labour participation, the impact of high-quality, upper-secondary VET programs and of overall high-performance for all students is apparent.

As the highest-performing country on these overall scales, Singapore offers compelling insights for policymakers in Australia. It certainly begs the conclusion that the mission for improving education in Australia should be informed by lessons from the world’s best and most equitable education systems, so that all students, particularly those who face the greatest challenges, have access to a world-class education.

The question is, are we doing this, and are we doing this enough?

Written by: Beth Hampton

I came to Australia in late 2016, having spent some time travelling through Southeast Asia and briefly living in Singapore – I was ready to embrace the lifestyle of a working Sydneysider!

I grew up in London, and completed my degree in Psychology at the University of York. I always dreamed of landing a job in the police, but figured it was worth swapping the handcuffs and late shifts for an exciting new city and a job full of fun and opportunity in a fantastic company like Akolade!

Love cooking, playing the piano, terrible British soap operas, an ice-cold G&T and exploring new places.