Starlight’s mission is “To brighten the lives of seriously ill children and their families”.

What we did for Starlight

Inventium has partnered with Starlight since 2016 to equip cross-functional teams and leaders with the skills to innovate. Specifically, we have:

  • Engaged and aligned senior leaders on the key ingredients necessary to create an organisation where innovation can thrive, such as strategy, roles, process and culture. 
  • Equipped 36 “champions”  with the tools to take a “child-centric” and customer-led approach to innovation
  • Conducted a benchmarking analysis to understand Starlight’s baseline performance on the nine key drivers of innovation.
  • Supported innovators through specific innovation projects by providing tactical mentoring and support.
  • Engaged middle management in how they can see innovation as a crucial part of their day-to-day role and support their teams to apply the innovation process to daily business challenges. 
  • Engaged Starlight’s innovation team in Inventium’s Intrapreneur Club so that they can connect, grow and learn with other like-minded intrapreneurs.

The Results

Starlight has successfully created a culture where innovation can thrive from the bottom-up. The application of Inventium’s Best Practice Innovation Process and science-based toolkit has meant that Starlight has been able to capitalise on taking a child-centric approach to new programs. 

Notably, innovation has become an established practice within Starlight, with employees frequently working through the innovation process to identify rich opportunities and solve problems creatively. In addition to this, leaders and managers across Starlight are able to innovate daily, seeing opportunity to apply their innovation toolkit to solve daily business challenges. 

Don’t just take our word for it – here are the thoughts of Starlight’s innovation team; Head of Programs and the Executive Lead on Innovation; Felicity McMahon, and National Manager for Program Development; Imogen Aitken:

We were an organisation who would have seen innovation as focusing only on idea generation. But what really resonated with us (was) Inventium’s scientific approach and (the science) within the innovation process. It sparked the beginning of us having a more comprehensive understanding of innovation.

An absolute benefit of working with Inventium is the opportunity to work with people from a whole range of sectors and backgrounds. For me, that’s one of the great benefits of Inventium - it’s one of those opportunities to tap into people from industries that are so different from your own and it sparks thinking in a whole new way.

For example the Wish Granting Team are just one team across Starlight who are now using the innovation process in their team for all their new innovations - down to lean testing and experimentation. They use the process whenever they’re trying to evolve and improve how they deliver life-changing wishes to seriously ill children.

The most exciting thing, even over the last couple of weeks, has been members of the organisation who haven’t done the innovation training, have now been exposed enough to be saying “We need to do a ‘scan’ (customer research)’” and “We need to trial this before we roll it out” - that’s been really exciting to see. We are seeing the real cut-through across the organisation.

We’ve used Inventium’s Benchmarking survey to guide us on what our priorities will be. For example, when we first did it, “Recognition” was an area that we needed to improve upon, so we introduced the CEO Innovation Awards.” “The CEO Innovation Award program has helped to myth bust around innovation at Starlight. It’s shown people that you can do innovation on a daily basis. And you don’t have to come up with the next Uber… innovation can be a small thing that still has a big impact.

Starlight ranked in the Top 10 for Most innovative government, education and NFP ideas in 2019 with their “Starlight Moments” submission.

We asked Felicity and Imogen how adopting Inventium’s Best Practice Innovation Process contributed to the success of this hugely impactful idea. Here’s what they said!

“There were three things. Firstly, spending time on defining the Mission (also known as the strategic innovation focus area)… We actually had this breakthrough moment that would have tripped us up months down the track… We realised we were interpreting the program – the need, the project – differently as a project team. So, first of all it was the power of spending that time in thinking through the mission, what’s on the table and what’s off the table.

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“The second thing was doing the scan (also known as customer research) and being really creative with doing that scan. We didn’t stop with one perspective – we sought out many different perspectives, in really creative ways, including the experience of families. (This meant) actually stopping and making sure we were hearing from their perspective as opposed to believing we knew their perspective… This showed that the need was not what we expected – it was a completely different need – it was for families whose child has a life limiting condition, often they have a heavy caregiving burden and you miss the moments as a family to connect. And that is what Starlight moments provides for these families – those moments to connect.

“The third thing was the absolute freedom to be able to experiment. Of course we had to experiment carefully because of the families we were working with. We … normally would want to go in with something 100% right before we even talk to families, let alone families who have a child on palliative care. But because of the innovation process, and how freeing it was, we actually only had 50-60% of it worked out and 40% was “We will learn as we go”. And now we’ve been able to go back and work out – was that 60% correct, and what was that 40% that we learnt? It has changed aspects of the program that we would have never known if we hadn’t gone in with a curious mindset towards experimentation and developing the idea before implementing it.