About the Challenge

The Challenge in 2017

 

This year, our Innovation Challenge focuses on the Professional Services sector: a key contributor to the Australian economy; a major employer; and a sector that supports the growth and development of businesses across our economy. It’s also a very mature sector – and one that is ripe for technology-driven innovation.

 

Do you have the idea or business that is a game-changer?

Our challenge to entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers is to come up with the next big idea that will shape the future of Professional Services to support its growth – with a particular focus on accounting and legal practices.

 

Technologies such as cloud computing, big data, AI and machine learning all have the potential to significantly shift the very nature of professional services and how they are delivered. These innovations present significant opportunities to reduce costs, improve efficiencies, and better meet customer needs.

We invite entries from all start-ups and entrepreneurs with game-changing ideas or innovations that can help transform the sector. This might include:

Ideas to help attract and retain top talent: Attracting and retaining high-quality employees is at the cornerstone of the Professional Services value proposition. It’s also being increasingly challenged by workforce trends, and the need to attract a changing skills mix. Today’s workforce expects an environment supportive of work-life flexibility and remote working solutions. As digital natives, Millennials also expect workforce tools to reflect the way they consume and interact with information socially. Clients also expect Professional Services firms to deliver quality advice and support on a wide range of topics, to have a deep understanding of their business, responsive to tight deadlines; and to be available at any time.

 

Opportunities to deliver improved customer value: Professional Services clients are increasingly sophisticated in their expectations, with increasing demand for digitised, seamless and transparent service delivery. As the industry matures and faces increased threats from disruption, there is the need for further diversification and creation of new and higher margin revenue opportunities, while continuing to deliver the traditional services current customers expect. In response to disruptive trends, Professional Services firms are looking to commoditise solutions that they can scale, increasing accessibility and affordability of their services, while also continuing to innovate to deliver full service, value-added expertise.

 

Ideas to leverage new technology to transform the sector: Professional Services involves the analysis, management and flow of information and, as a result, it is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the rise of technology solutions such as cognitive processing, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and big data. As cost and margin pressures continue, operating models must adapt to these new technologies to realise opportunities for improved productivity; flexibility in service delivery and the collection, consumption and visualisation of data.

What’s on offer?

The Challenge in 2017

If you have the game changing idea or business that is selected as this year’s winner of the Westpac Innovation Challenge, you’ll receive $40,000 and support to take your innovation to the next level.
Five finalists will be selected from qualifying entries to attend a boot camp at Westpac in August to prepare for the live pitch which will take place at Barangaroo in Sydney on Thursday 7th September before a panel of leading industry experts.

How to enter

Entries are now open so if you believe you have the winning idea that can disrupt and transform the Professional Services sector, read the T&C’s here and lodge your entry below.

 

Registration Process

10/7

Registration Opens

10/7

Ideation Submission Opens

13/8

Ideation Submission Closes

14/8

Judging Begins

29/8

Top 5 Finalists Announced

29/8

Finalist Bootcamp

7/9

Live Pitch & Winner Announced