4 mins

Making your business more innovative: with Julieanne Alroe

I was thrilled to attend the State Library of Queensland’s final Game Changers event for 2018 and I was not disappointed! We sat down and enjoyed 1 hour with Julieanne Alroe to glean from her knowledge, leadership experience and reflections about her 30 years in the aviation and infrastructure industries in Australia. Julieanne Alroe was the CEO and MD of Brisbane Airport Corporation, being one of only a handful of women across the world to lead a privatised airport.  A highlight was that Julieanne managed the Airport through a $3.8 billion infrastructure program. Her full story defines what a game-changing career really is!

Across all the career highlights and business stories, when she was asked, “what is the headline of your life?”  Julieanne replied, “To make my bit of the world a better place.” With this kind of perspective, the event energised me so greatly that I knew I had to share my top takeaways.

5 Innovation Tips Gleaned from Julieanne

I’ve compiled my long list of notes down into some actionable Innovation-related tips, combining Julieanne’s wisdom with some practical cross-industry application.

#1 Execute your core business offering well.

Find out whether your market thinks you’re doing exceptionally well, rather decently, or abysmally – and find out why through market research or customer journey mapping. People expect what you’re supposed to be doing to work effectively, no matter what industry or sector. For Brisbane Airport, ultimately the foundational airport attributes ought to be done very well. For Brisbane Airport: safety, security, cleanliness and good value must be present (or else).

Sometimes we assume that it’s all the add-ons (i.e. augmented brand differentiators) which we create in marketing strategies which will delight customers. Julieanne highlighted that we should invest surplus time in those areas after the basics are achieved.

You need to be getting the fundamentals right otherwise you’ll be extinguishing fires in areas where you shouldn’t have to be. Make the core product/service right. Then conquer upwards and outwards!

#2 Develop authentic relationships with your shareholders and balance being customer-led.

Don’t underestimate how valuable these stakeholders are – for inspiration, understanding organisational priority, and for internal support when you’re chasing a vision of ‘making the business better’.

Community engagement helps you regain perspective and makes projects more thorough. Allocate time to creating an effective long-term stakeholder engagement program.

#3 Conquer project management risk.

In any internal project there are key elements. Make sure you’re having conversations as a team around risks, mitigation, who the right team is for the project and for which areas, and how the project should be initiated.

How the project starts off can set the tone for how the team kicks off and how the phases progress.

#4 Leadership is best described in one word: vision.

There’s something powerful about harnessing collaboration and getting others on board with an idea. Even as a leader, you’re part of the team.

This certainly isn’t limited to a formal leadership or management position. Sometimes the best teams have been fueled by members who inject purposeful innovation. So even as a team member, you can enact leadership qualities in support your leader.

Having vision is one thing but develop your skills in creating change in the organisation, helping teams to understand what you’re trying to achieve through them.

#5 Chase resilience.

There are sometimes (and quite often) barriers which may pop up in your execution of projects and that vision. Chase resilience in this area and grow in it. Over time you’ll gain perspective and not panic so easily!


Thanks for all the amazing nuggets of truth and wisdom, Julieanne! For more detail and insight watch the free webcast post at SLQ’s Facebook Page.

This was a Game Changers event. Game Changers is a Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame initiative presented by State Library of QueenslandQUT Business School and the Queensland Library Foundation.

Hayley Vale

Business and Marketing Consultant

Hayley brings award-winning international consulting experience to her clients and projects, as well as a wealth of business development and marketing experience with clients such as Deloitte, the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Domino's Australia, Suncorp and others. Her drive to provide tailored advice to clients adds vision, value and cutting-edge differentiation to project results.