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NFPs make the list of top 100 most innovative companies

The Smith Family, Oxfam Australia and WWF Australia are among companies that have made the Top 100 Most Innovative Companies list

Not-for-profits have been recognised among Australia’s 100 most innovative companies, celebrated for their original and inventive ideas that change the community for the better.

The Smith Family, Oxfam Australia and WWF Australia made the 2018 Australian Financial Review’s Most Innovative Companies list that assesses the innovation prowess of Australian and New Zealand organisations. This year, the list attracted more than 1,000 nominations.

The Smith Family, ranked 63rd on the list, was recognised for its innovative online portal, My Smith Family for Families, which was developed to respond to the evolving needs of students and families supported by the charity. Judges behind the award were the leading innovation consultancy, Inventium, and a panel of industry experts.

CEO of The Smith Family, Dr Lisa O’Brien, said: “I’m very proud that The Smith family has been ranked among the Most Innovative Companies 2018 – one of the few charities to be included on the list. It is a testament to our ongoing commitment to innovation.

“We recognise that the world is changing rapidly, particularly for the disadvantaged young Australians we support, and we need to keep pace with that change.”

Although many definitions of innovation exist, the Australian Financial Review list defined it more broadly as “change that adds value”, and assessed the nominees in three parts based on this idea. This includes describing one recent innovation, answering questions on how it was implemented and completing Inventium’s Innovation Benchmarking survey.

Specifically, judges looked at the value of the problem that the innovation is attempting to solve, the quality and uniqueness of the solution and the level of impact it has had.

Oxfam Australia Chief Executive, Helen Szoke, said Oxfam earned its place at 96th on the list for its work tackling poverty and striving to work with communities to achieve tailored solutions, including a program supporting female refugees.

“Being recognised in this way is not only acknowledgement of Oxfam’s willingness to tailor programs with the aim of improving effectiveness of aid to the world’s poorest people, it also speaks to the vital role Australian-aid funded projects continue to have,” Szoke said.

Also recognised on the list is The Whiddon Group, Anglicare Victoria and Scope Australia.

CEO of Inventium, Dr Amantha Imber, said: “The field of entrants for the 2018 AFR Most Innovative Companies list is the highest quality we have seen in seven years of judging.

“Making the 2018 list is a massive achievement and signals that the organisation is not only producing highly impactful innovations, but also has a sustainable approach to growth.”

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