Nick Johnston23 March 2017

The secrets to innovation from a parcel delivery company that doesn’t own a single vehicle

Providing your staff with plenty of time to innovate can be a tough nut to crack, but the parcel delivery company – Sendle – has it under control. We sat down with James Chin Moody (CEO) and Craig Davis (CMO) to uncover how they assign time to innovation.

Sendle came in 4th in the 2016 AFR Most Innovative Companies List. Since then, they have grown revenue 300% and have 50% more employees! Not bad for a parcel delivery company that doesn’t own a delivery truck!

Senior leaders at Sendle practice what they preach when it comes to innovation. It is not uncommon for one of the senior leaders to be assigned to an innovation project for months at a time. What we love about this is that it sends a message to the wider business – that innovation is a priority! If I had to choose the three biggest learnings from our chat with Sendle they would be:

1. Momentum is king. There are no time limitations for innovation at Sendle. Instead, through natural experimentation, they have found that the key to project success is momentum. In practice, momentum involves providing adequate resources and removing project roadblocks as quickly as they are identified. Projects generally have a mixture of full-time and part-time resources as required to keep these wheels in motion.

2. Focus on quality over quantity. Sendle is very deliberate when allocating people to projects. People can only focus on a small number of things. By only assigning people to a select few projects, Sendle allows their staff to approach projects with their full focus. For Sendle, an increased workload is seen as a lead indicator for lower quality work.

3. Passion kickstarts momentum. A project’s momentum starts with the decision to go ahead with an idea. Sendle has found that if a project starts with little momentum, it is destined to fail. Their solution to this is to tinker with the decision-making process. They now only have two responses to an idea pitch – ‘No’ or ‘Hell Yeah!’. This small change ensures that a project only gets the go-ahead when it has a greater degree of commitment and energy.

If you think that your organisation is nailing innovation, drop me a line at and tell me what you’re up to. Or better yet – enter the 2017 AFR Most Innovative Companies List and you could get the recognition that you deserve!