Kippa-Ring’s JESI – whose global, location-based software monitors the whereabouts of staff working remotely – was honoured with the award for Innovation Excellence at the 2021 Moreton Bay Business and Innovation Awards.
Co-founder and director of special projects Kathy Wilson says JESI’s (Journeys, Events, Safety and Innovation) success has its foundations in playing to the strengths of each member of the team.
She and co-founder CEO Joe Hoolahan started the global software business in Townsville about nine years ago before moving to the Moreton Bay region two years ago, and she says that collaborating within the business as well as outside of it fosters growth and innovation.
“Joe and I we have relied on each other’s strengths.
“Joe is phenomenal in shareholder engagement relationships, whereas my skill set is very operational and customer focussed.
“We navigate really well knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”
Kathy says developing a culture of trust is also important.
“We have trusted our software team, working with them to understand what the reasons are if we go down that pathway - working as a team we share that risk.
“Joe and I are not developers but we understand enough to ask the right questions.”
Joe says the key to fruitful collaboration is clear communication.
“Five or six of our staff are in other regional centres,” he says.
“(Online) Teams (meetings) and video communication are great, but nothing beats one-on-one - you can see what’s behind the face.”
Kathy and Joe say creativity and innovation have also been a big part of JESI’s success.
“Thinking about it from a regional perspective, we were born in Townsville and were able to launch a global business over cloud solutions,” Kathy says.
“That’s about leveraging technology that allows that to happen, like cloud solutions and digital technology.
“It’s around the value proposition and the audience you’re targeting so they can see there’s a solution for the problem they have.”
While many businesses are reluctant to embrace to technology, Joe says it’s the only way forward.
“I think if you don’t, you’re going to continue to be behind the eight-ball.
“It’s a matter of being ok that there’s a fear about that – whether it’s onboarding new technology – if it’s not your strength just stare that straight in the face and learn from other people’s mistakes.
“You will always make mistakes with innovation - as long as you do the best you can to reduce the risk, you can learn from it.
“Maybe it’s not the software’s fault; the timing might not have been right.”
Kathy and Joe say winning last year’s Innovation Excellence Award was great recognition for the hard work of the team.
“Don’t underestimate the motivational shot in the arm it can give your team,” Joe says.
“Even the process is a great opportunity, regardless of the results, if you get the team involved in the nomination.”
Kathy says the award has opened up new opportunities.
“It’s also the network you build – you’re in a room with like-minded people and then that energy becomes its own inspiration.
“Not one person did it by themselves – it’s a tribe that gets you to where you need to be.”
The Moreton Bay Business and Innovation Awards are returning in 2022 with nominations opening on May 16 at 9am. They close on July 17 at 11.59pm.