Property developer Stockland has revealed the early results from its creation of an internal innovation hub and ‘Innovation Champions’ to seed innovation culture in the business.

The company, which is known for building everything from shopping malls to office and apartment blocks, created a company-wide innovation program called Ideas@Stockland in August last year.

The aim was to “encourage and foster commercialisation of innovation” and to be prepared for the impact of digital disruption in the property industry.

“Our ability to develop products that meet anticipated future customer and societal demands is crucial to the sustainability of our business, particularly in light of Australia’s ageing population and changing demographics,” Stockland said in its annual report, released this week.

“Rapid technology advancements and other converging mega trends are changing consumer behaviour. We are focused on creating opportunities from these changes.

“To that end, we are introducing support and tools for our employees to foster innovation and make it easy to implement ideas quickly.”

Ideas@Stockland was created in August 2015 and built up over the next few months. A bit less than a year in, the initiative has seen a positive response.

“In the first 12 months of Ideas@Stockland, more than 100 new ideas were submitted and over 800 people across the organisation participated in some way in an innovation challenge,” the company said.

“Of those 100 ideas, nine have been chosen to be developed and resourced, and six ideas are progressing towards working pilots.

“In addition, 20 employees were selected to receive training on leading innovation methodologies and tools. These ‘Innovation Champions’ are now assisting business units or functional teams with their own ideation or innovation initiatives.”

The Ideas@Stockland innovation hub has become a place for “employees from across the business to share, collaborate and build on ideas, further enabling us to take advantage of new opportunities.”

Stockland also believed that between the hub and its champions, that it was well on its way to creating the kind of innovation culture internally that it wanted.

“We are fostering a culture of innovation where we remain flexible and identify and take advantage of opportunities to leverage movements in stakeholder preferences,” it said.

“Enhancements in digital technology have rewired customer behaviour. We need to be accessible, responsive, and anticipate future consumer behaviour and disruption to our industry.”

In addition, the company has turned to the 50 percent Woolies-owned data analytics firm Quantium to help it get ahead.

“We are continuing to evolve our market leading product innovation and deepen our customer insights,” it said, partially through the use of Quantium, “which provides de-identified customer transactional data to inform how we view markets and opportunities.”