Australia's Best Places To Work If You Want To Be Disruptive

The AFR list of the 50 most innovative companies has a few surprises.

19/08/2016 3:00 AM AEST | Updated 19/08/2016 2:36 PM AEST
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The most innovative Aussie companies are disruptive and come up with unique ideas.

From advances in renewable energy to encouraging young men to check for testicular cancer, Aussie companies are leading the way when it comes to being innovative and disruptive. The Australian Financial Review's 'Most Innovative Companies' top 50 list is compiled with innovation consultancy, Inventium as a way to pinpoint exactly which companies are moving in unique directions.

More than one thousand Aussie companies nominated themselves by submitting two innovations and describing the impact they're making.

Dr Amantha Imber from Inventium told The Huffington Post Australia the judges were looking at the problems being solved and how disruptive the ideas were.

"We used a tool we developed which is an innovation audit, to assess how staff are perceiving what we know to be the key drivers of innovation. We're seeing an increase in what's called open innovation," Dr Imber said.

It's when people don't feel like the best ideas come from inside the organisation but venturing out and investing in start-ups."

Dr Amantha Imber from Inventium

"There are companies on the list doing things like setting up incubators, so where they are investing money and putting towards promising start-ups. We're seeing that cross-functional collaboration is very important."

"Senior executives are no longer asking, 'Should we innovate?' but instead they're asking 'How should we innovate?'"

Top Five Innovative Companies

Planet Innovation

Currently 80 per cent of tests for infectious diseases are expensive and take days for a result. Planet Innovation adapted smartphone camera technology to produce a low-cost, highly sensitive reader called Nplex.

Ivy College

The college developed a proprietary algorithm to predict a student's progression and graduation rates. The data is used to customise academic support for individual students.

Commonwealth Bank

The CommBank Property app allows home buyers to view estimated market prices based on multiple data sources and assess a property's potential market price, even if it's not for sale.


A virtual courier service, Sendle chooses a courier for a customer using a unique courier engine. Sendle sets the price and the couriers can choose which route they'd like to participate in.


In the renewable energy world, Dyesol has innovated an alternative to the difficult-to-manufacture organic hole transport material called 'Spiro Me-OTAD'.

Filling out the top ten were M & C Saatchi Group, AbbVie, Claim Central Consolidated, CSIRO and CSBP.

The top 50 included categories such as manufacturing and construction, health, financial services, IT, Media, Marketing, Advertising, Government, Education, Recreation and NFP.

"A really cool one that won a prize for best social innovation is by M & C Saatchi. They were given challenge of getting young men to do checks for testicular cancer," Dr Imber said.

"They thought, 'Where are young men thinking about testicles...when they're watching porn!'

"So they approached an adult entertainment studio and proposed doing a community service announcement in the middle of a porn film. That led to the actors doing a demonstration about how to check your testicles."


"The most innovative companies placed the customer at the heart of the process. They made an effort to understand what their customers' frustrations were and made sure to involve customers when testing new ideas," Dr Imber said.

"For example, Commonwealth Bank spends time with their clients and business partners to listen, observe and understand them. In the lead up to market readiness, customers are invited to the build and test phase, where prototypes are tested with real customers."

Queensland business Epic Pharmacy made the top 50 for its development of digital health tools called Medication Manager and Chartflow.

Medication Manager is a secure electronic platform which allows patients and healthcare professionals real time access to pharmacy information. ChartFlow was developed to allow pharmacy and nursing staff to capture an image of the medication chart via a tablet device and directly communicate instruction straight to the patient's selected pharmacist.

Co-owner Cathie Reid is excited for the future of the health industry.

"We're always working to be 'digitally fit' in a fast-paced industry, while also addressing current and relevant issues in the healthcare sector," Reid said.

"Medication Manager and ChartFlow are addressing today's pain points and at the same time positioning the industry for an e-health future."

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