Navigating the innovation journey – three successful paths

31 October

Regional finalists for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Abigail Forsyth of KeepCup and Andy Butler of Textor Technologies Pty Ltd, and 2013 winner Stuart Elliott of Planet Innovation Pty Ltd, deliver the last RMIT Business Lecture for 2014.

veski once again had the pleasure in partnering with EY to deliver RMIT’s Business Lecture event on Wednesday, 29 October 2014, with special guests Abigail Forsyth, Andy Butler and Stuart Elliott, who each shared the challenges and successes of their respective innovation journeys.

The first speaker of the event, Abigail Forsyth, founded KeepCup, which manufactures barista-standard reusable cups that are now sold in 32 countries around the world. Abigail’s drive for launching her innovation journey stems from her experience opening a Melbourne café with her brother Jamie in 1998; as their business grew they became increasingly shocked by the volume of packaging waste consumed. Within a few years, KeepCup has become an extensively-popular everyday accessory, with more than three million KeepCups sold since 2009. Not only has this innovation diverted billions of disposable cups from landfill, but it is changing the way people think about convenience culture and actively promoting positive behavioural change. 

Next up we had Andy Butler, Managing Director of Textor Technologies Pty Ltd, who enlightened us as to how his family-owned business became a market leader through constant innovation and collaborative work with local research institutes as well as large multinationals. Textor Technologies, founded in 2000 by Andy’s father Phil, produces a range of products used in healthcare, personal hygiene and industrial products. More specifically, Andy discussed the challenges and achievements experienced through developing new textile technologies for the manufacturing of newborn nappies in the multi-billion dollar hygiene product market. Despite the frequent uttering of the words “bowel movements” throughout the breakfast lecture, Andy’s presentation provided an informative and stimulating demonstration of innovative commercialisation in Victoria.

Finally, Stuart Elliott explained the ways in which Planet Innovation Pty Lyd has challenged the way technology services businesses think about innovation since he and three other founded the company in 2009. Planet Innovation provides technology innovation, product development and commercialisation expertise to companies around the world with a focus on the biomedical, clean-tech and hi-tech industries. Stuart shared an insightful discussion demonstrating his skills in the definition, development and successful commercialisation of advanced technology products.

Collectively, the guest speakers elucidated the various triumphs and tribulations encountered throughout their entrepreneurial journeys, and how these have shaped the way their businesses have developed and thrived. Refreshing, enlightening and inspiring; attendees left the RMIT Business Lecture with an appreciation for Victoria’s innovation economy, a clear vision of the dos and don’ts on the road to product innovation, and perhaps even a spark to embark on their own entrepreneurial journeys. 

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