Gosnells CEO raises consultant threat

GOSNELLS City Council CEO Simon Holtby has found a way to make himself unpopular with consultants.

As part of his study to finish the first Doctor of Business Administration ever completed at Curtin University, Dr Holtby examined innovation and the screening of ideas.

The text books say the criteria for screening ideas apply to all industries.

However, Dr Holtby found this was not the case. He determined that for three different industries, three different sets of criteria applied.

Hence, those consultants promoting a black box solution face redundancy.

Dr Holtby said he found industries had to develop their own innovation criteria.

He argues that some good ideas are not necessarily good within an industry.

“For example, what if a food manufacturer invented the television?” Dr Holtby asked.

“The TV is a good idea but it is not compatible with food manufacturing.

“It doesn’t mean the company should discard the idea.

“It could spin off a new division to deal with it or it could patent the technology and sell or licence it to somebody else.”

Dr Holtby has shown a strong interest in innovation throughout his career.

He began his working life as a civil engineer with British Rail before spending time in the energy industry in Tasmania and WA, finishing as marketing manager for Western Power.

Dr Holtby said his appointment to Gosnells was his first foray into local government.

Since he took the helm at Gosnells, the council has embarked on a major restructuring of the city centre.

It also won the WA Municipal Association Best Practice for Innovation Award in 1999.

“When I came here the council indicated it wanted change,” Dr Holtby said.

“The town centre redevelopment came about from a survey that was innovative in itself.

“We were asking people to make trade off decisions about what they wanted for their city.

“As far as I know that approach has not been used in local government in Australia,” he said.

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