AFR Most Innovative Companies 2019: Deloitte, Tec.Fit named

This article was originally published by The Australian Financial Review
By Michael Bailey
August 8, 2019

A three-dimensional remote fitting system that aims to abolish sizes from the fashion industry, and a machine learning platform that helps banks remediate customers in weeks not years, have taken top honours in the AFR BOSS Most Innovative Companies awards.Custom Innovation Co, which sells its 3D fitting software-as-a-service to fashion e-tailers via a business called Tec.Fit and its own e-tailer Tailors Mark, was awarded best overall innovation program at the annual awards ceremony in Sydney on Thursday night.

Professional services firm Deloitte took out best overall innovation for Cube, a machine learning and content analysis tool which uses optical character recognition to sift through archived documents and extract clauses relevant to, for instance, a bank’s decision on remediating a customer for inappropriate advice.

The development of the 3D-scanned fitting process had been a five-year journey to make customisation in fashion more efficient and accessible to everybody, said Custom Innovation Co co-founder David McLaughlin.
“We’d love to abolish sizes from fashion,” he said.

The product today is a portable turntable scanner, on which the clothes purchaser stands while being guided through a process which takes four two-dimensional photographs of their body.
Those photographs are then turned into a 3D model, which is uploaded to a cloud server.

Mass-market e-tailers or retailers might use this information to provide more accurate sizing advice to customers. However high-end tailors with a 3D printer at their disposal will use it to produce a life-size model of the customer.

“They can then dress that mannequin in your clothes as they make them, so you don’t have to make repeat visits to get a suit or a bridal gown that fits perfectly,” Mr McLaughlin said.
It also made getting clothes tailored in Hong Kong or Shenzhen much easier, said Custom Innovation Co co-founder Rob Fisher, who claimed the 3D fitting had already been used for 800 customers of Tailors Mark without a single return.
“We estimate our software can save retailers up to 85 per cent of costs they would have otherwise incurred from alterations, remakes, refunds and the like,” Mr Fisher said.
“We’re also reducing the environmental impact of clothing, which is currently the world’s second largest pollutant after oil. A reliable remote fitting system helps retailers stop over-capitalising on clothes, and incinerating most of the returns that can’t be re-sold.
The material in Tec.Fit’s 3D mannequins can be re-used for several printings, and are biodegradable, Mr Fisher added.
Custom Innovation Co has now partnered with University Of Technology Sydney to get the scanning technology adapted into a smartphone app.
Custom Innovation Co had armed its 30 employees and embedded academics with the skills and motivations required for successful innovators, said Nick Johnston, head of growth at Inventium, the innovation consultancy which compiles and judges the awards.
The same went for Deloitte, whose head of innovation Jason Bender said the instigator and leader of Cube’s development, Winnie Huen, was promoted from a director of auditing to a partnership following the product’s successful commercialisation.
“We want to foster innovation in all our people,” said Mr Bender.
“Where the problem they are solving is not one we think is core to Deloitte’s offering, we allow them a leave of absence to pursue it, but in cases like Cube we make sure we back them with all the time and resources they need to make their solution a reality.”
Many definitions of innovation exist, but for the AFR BOSS Most Innovative Companies Awards it is defined broadly as “change that adds value”, according to Amantha Imber, chief maker at Inventium.
Organisations are assessed in three parts. First, entrants describe one innovation they have implemented in the past 12 months.
Second, entrants answer several questions about how they have embedded innovation into their organisation.
Finally, organisations receive Inventium’s Innovation Benchmarking survey, an online survey completed by a representative sample of employees to assess performance on a range of innovation drivers.
The AFR BOSS Most Innovative Companies winners are featured in BOSS, published inside Friday’s The Australian Financial Review. For the full list of 100 companies, go to