RSL becoming hi-tech veterans

ONE HUNDRED years after being formed by returned and injured soldiers, the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) of today is well and truly transitioning into the digital age – and leading the charge is the Queensland arm of the major ex-service organisation, with 38-year-old CEO Luke Traini at the helm.

Capitalising on the opportunity to employ new technologies to more deeply engage with modern veterans of all age groups through online, mobile and social media channels, Mr Traini is well underway positioning the RSL as one of the leading providers of welfare, support and assistance and ensuring that the ever-challenging needs of the veteran and Defence community can be met well into the future. 

To support the recruitment of a highly innovative team of Queensland’s most talented transformation and technology specialists to drive these changes, one floor of the 1980s era RSL State Branch building has been brought to life with the very best in innovative workplace design, to leverage the benefits of a high-tech work environment.

This new area was created to spur innovation within the RSL, but with a look and feel that is anything but ‘typical RSL’.

A wireless, open-plan layout conducive to project team work is combined with break out areas and dedicated quiet work spaces with the latest technology to enable collaboration across business functions and throughout the state, helping to reduce costs.

“It has been great to see teams adopt these more modern concepts and integrate new technologies into their day to ensure we build on our one team approach, regardless of where our people are physically located,” Mr Traini said.

The current focus on technology and innovation in the century-old charity has a future purpose: to ensure the most effective facilitation of service delivery is available for the ever-evolving and unique needs of current and future veterans. 

Typical of the way this iconic charity is transforming its technological footprint, Mr Traini encourages contact from organisations wanting to engage with the RSL through LinkedIn:


RSL is a Queensland Leaders Alumni member.



Speedwell creates Dossiere: secure enterprise document sharing

DOSSIERE is fast becoming the secure document sharing app of choice for government and large commercial enterprise sensitive material.

Speedwell CEO Bruce Young said the Dossiere product had been a case of constantly developing a system originally designed to protect and manage secure documents for the Queensland Government, which had since extended into other levels, including the Federal Government. 

“A few years ago Speedwell was invited to the Queensland Department of Premier and Cabinet for a discussion on managing sensitive cabinet papers digitally and securely on a mobile platform,” Mr Young said.

“In today’s digital age, it was interesting to learn that government ministers and advisors were still carrying heavy briefcases full of documents in the absence of a better solution.   Some of those documents were highly sensitive, some became obsolete soon after dispatch from their offices and some had not been included during the rush to the next meeting.  

“In addition, there were often multiple people making hand-written notes and changes on various hard copies of the same documents, rendering it difficult to capture all of the details easily in a ‘single source repository’ that could be shared.”

Covering the length and breadth of the security needed to accompany electronic documents being handled by multiple people was both a technical and interpersonal challenge.

“It is no surprise that data security and confidentiality is a concern for most organisations due to the increased expertise of hackers and the use of portable devices that can be lost or stolen,” Mr Young said.

“However, it quickly became apparent that government departments and many enterprise organisations need confidence that the highest level of security is protecting their information, even while those documents are being accessed by the relevant internal stakeholders on mobile devices.

“In response to that initial meeting, we developed a highly secure mobile document delivery application for iPad, specifically designed to manage extremely confidential and sensitive government and corporate material.  That system has now evolved into our product called Dossiere

“I am extremely proud of our talented team of developers who created the original app and have continued to upgrade and improve the Dossiere product, which is now used by state government departments and within the most senior Australian Government sectors.”

Speedwell is an Alumni Member of Queensland Leaders.



Australian Skin Clinics’ new complexion on growth

THE BEAUTY of Australian Skin Clinics’ outstanding business and reputational growth is more than skin deep.

In nine short years, spanning the global financial crisis (GFC), Australian Skin Clinics grew from a single Gold Coast clinic to more than 50 clinics across Australia’s east coast. While this outstanding growth was assisted by the company’s recent merger with one of Australia’s largest hair and beauty franchises, Hairhouse Warehouse and Ella Rouge, it was also accelerated by recent expansion to New Zealand.

Beyond the growth statistics and refinement of a very effective business model, Australian Skin Clinics managing director, Deb Farnworth-Wood, attributes the company’s success to the people involved.  More specifically, she puts it down to hiring motivated staff and recruiting committed franchisees. 

Importantly, Ms Farnworth-Wood made a crucial move several years ago to thoroughly analyse the cost-effectiveness of all the treatments Australian Skin Clinics provided.

“We originally offered a lot of the fluffy beauty treatments and some low-key surgical procedures,” Ms Farnworth-Wood said. “It was difficult to keep on top of staff training, development, service delivery and standards.

“I cut out many of those services and strategically focused on laser hair removal, cosmetic injectables and certain skin treatments.

“These specific treatments were the most popular, cost-effective and the most profitable for our business and were typically only available to the rich and famous. I was committed to developing a business model which could provide these quality treatments and also make them affordable to the everyday person.”

The first Australian Skin Clinics franchise opened in Helensvale in October, 2011. Within three years, the brand established 15 additional clinics across Queensland and Victoria.

In 2016, Australian Skin Clinics merged with beauty and hair industry powerhouse, Hairhouse Warehouse. This merger included the re-branding of 25 Ella Rouge clinics to the Australian Skin Clinics brand.

The merger of Australian Skin Clinics with Hairhouse Warehouse now positions the two franchise networks as leaders in the medi-aesthetic industry as well as the hair and beauty industry, which has developed into a $3.8 billion retail industry.

Ms Farnworth-Wood also revealed that success doesn’t stop there for her medi-aesthetic franchise.

“There are exciting plans in the pipeline for Australian Skin Clinics,” she said. “We look forward to opening more than 20 new clinics in the 2016/17 financial year and another four clinics in New Zealand over the next 12 months.”

Australian Skin Clinics is a Queensland Leaders Executive Leaders member.





Grow germinates better mental illness outcomes

GROW, Australia’s leading provider of peer groups for people with mental illness, is delivering on the promise of its name with ‘growing’ success through innovative programs such as Old Socks Day.

Called Old Socks Day – because anyone can have an odd day – is Grow’s national anti-stigma campaign and an opportunity for businesses to take a light hearted approach conversations about mental illness and stigma. 

Grow CEO Clare Guilfoyle said Odd Socks Day has five key actions – Be informed, Be brave (don’t tolerate stigma), Be open (share experiences) Be informed, and Be good to yourself … 

Ms Guilfoyle said Odd Socks Day this year is on Friday October 7 and Grow is urging businesses around Australia to take part as many of the solutions to mental illness can be developed in the business environment.

“Grow commenced in 1957, when there was little belief that people could recover from mental illness,” Ms Guilfoyle said. “Stigma surrounding mental illness was commonplace.

“Yet, our founding members believed that by supporting and encouraging each other, they could overcome the difficulties that their illness induced, and it worked.

“Our members consistently report improved relationships, sense of personal value, that they are taking charge of their lives and are more hopeful about the future.  They have a better network of friends and feel part of a community.”

Grow also supports people with high needs at two residential facilities, and provides a program in schools to disengaged children who are at risk of mental illness.

“We are also developing online groups for people in rural and remote areas,” Ms Guilfoyle said.

“The stigma surrounding mental illness is the leading reason why people do not seek help.  This year one in four people will experience mental illness.

“Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15 to 44 and the suicide rate among those aged 55 to 65 has surged by 54 percent,” she said.

“A 2015 report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers showed the cost to businesses is $10.9 billion per year where businesses do not take action to manage mental health conditions.”

Grow is a current Executive Leaders member of Queensland Leaders.




NBN: Are you really ready for it?

WHEN Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) finally reaches the front door of your business, you had best be ready for it – and that is no easy task, according to the experience of many clients of The GoLogic Group.

There is a great deal of communications system preparatory work to do, in order to see tangible benefits, said GoLogic CEO Clint Betts.

“Many businesses find themselves in a mad panic to organise their essential communications needs as most are not aware that you will lose many features with the loss of the analogue (copper) network including line hunt features and more,” Mr Betts said. 

“Tailoring a complete communications package with VoIP (voice over internet protocol) is a medium to major project within itself.  I have focused the delivery of our services to engage with our customers and provide fundamental planning and project management to the delivery of services to ensure businesses experience minimal disruptions.”

Beyond the vital communication network changes, there are other aspects to consider, including potential legal issues.

“The phrase ‘data sovereignty’ is now becoming a unique discussion within business security and slowly creeping up the priority board to protect the business and customers information,” Mr Betts said.

“Essentially it requires a business to be compliant with the Australian Privacy Principles (APP) guidelines (Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) amendment March 121, 2014).   You need to let your customers know if you are going to use a third party provider for any business software, storage or distribution solution through your privacy policy. 

“To avoid the threats and potential loss of customers, you can select to use a provider that engages data sovereignty such as The GoLogic Group,” he said. “On-shore routing and storage of your messaging improves your delivery success and response rates providing more beneficial to your baseline marketing.”

Mr Betts said recent high profile hacking, data breaches and spamming cases  had brought home the digital realities to Australian businesses and the changeover to the NBN was an ideal point at which to re-assess online communication systems and risks.

“Losing your customers details to an overseas spammer can be harmful to your business’s future and should remain a high priority at all times,” Mr Betts said.

“We have heard of the issues surrounding cyber attacks, ransomware and more world wide web threats and the impacts,” he said.

Mr Betts urged all businesses to keep data sovereignty at the forefront when considering which messaging and distribution solutions to utilise. The GoLogic Group specialises in online communications services, including online fax, e-mail to fax, fax to e-mail, e-mail marketing software, email newsletter design and campaign management, and SMS services including SMS broadcast and e-mail to SMS.

GoLogic is an executive member of Queensland Leaders.




Games in the workplace: serious business

USING GAMES to help improve business results is fast becoming an accepted practice and powerful tool according to Brisbane-based experiential company Escape Hunt.

“As a company that uses games to deliver unique experiences, it is exciting to see the benefits of gamification in work place first hand,” Escape Hunt Brisbane director Giovanna Shakhovskoy said.  

According to Ms Shakhovskoy, in 1999 the US Army made headlines through its initial use of a ‘virtual Army experience’ to attract and screen new recruits.  

“What has followed has been a raft of examples from large and small companies alike that have pushed the boundaries of using gamification to transform aspects of their business,” Ms Shakhovskoy said.

“The World Bank created an online game, Evoke that they describe as a ‘crash course to change the world’ which has engaged a new demographic of young customers.

“Deloitte turned its poorly attended leadership training model into a game that included ‘level ups’, ‘unlocking harder courses’ and initiation into the ‘Leadership Academy’ that became highly addictive,” she said.

“As a company built on the foundations of game-based learning and engagement these examples are no surprise to us.”

Escape Hunt Brisbane sees ‘gamification’ of the workplace play out in many varied and often surprisingly positive ways.

“We spend hours each week watching corporate teams break through negative teamwork patterns when they are drawn into a unique experience and their different skills are on show,” Ms Shakhovskoy said. “These on and offsite simulations are gaming in its most pure form.  

“Under pressure with a time-constrained objective, teams are forced to work together to ‘escape a room’ or ‘solve a crime’, with the competition proving an effective motivating factor.

“As the World Bank and Deloitte have showcased, almost anything can be a game.  There are now platforms that can turn office chores, answering emails or project management into personalised gaming within your team.”

Ms Shakhovskoy said gaming was certainly becoming serious business.  

“If you're not already thinking about using gaming in your team building, customer engagement and product delivery methods, you should be.,” she said.

Escape Hunt Brisbane is one of Queensland’s Future Leaders participants.



Software Bots: Part of the 4th Industrial Revolution

WORKING Mouse chief executive Eban Escott believes what he calls the “the Fourth Industrial Revolution” is already here and it is bringing a new wave of technological and innovative change.

In fact, Working Mouse is at the head of this process. Its teams have developed so-called software bots – software code that exists to write new code. 

“This progress has allowed us to move from the creation of the production line in the Third Revolution to the current position: automation of the whole process,” Mr Escott said.

“We have seen the reshaping of the Internet of Things (IoT), huge leaps in artificial intelligence (AI) and even autonomous vehicles like drones and driverless cars. Underpinning all of these technologies is the common goal of software development,” he said.

But Mr Escott warned that the focus on this type of development has come at a time when the world is in high demand for software, but remains unable to supply enough software engineers.

“In Australia, supply within the country is so low that we imported 3725 software engineers on a 457 visa from 2013 to 2014,” Mr Escott said. “The solution for the software industry lies in the automated processes of the Fourth Revolution.

“Within the array of technologies being developed in this movement are software bots. These bots can be described as code that writes code. They talk a common business language and can then work independently of humans to generate code.

“For instance, the WorkingMouse software bots are able to write an average of 92.68 percent of the software target. Figures like this indicate the Fourth Revolution providing a huge relief on the software industry for the pressure to supply engineers.”

Mr Escott said he understood why some people believed this would take away jobs.

“I do not however, think this is true because the bots will never achieve 100 percent for complex requirements,” he said.

“Innovation is a key component to successful business models that only humans have enough creativity to fulfil.

“But we can still find value in utilising the software bots to make a far more efficient, affordable and superior innovation process.”

Working Mouse is a 2016 Queensland Leaders Executive Member.



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