IdeaScale Nation

Royal Australian Navy: Challenging the Status Quo of Innovation

June 17, 2020 IdeaScale Season 2 Episode 3
IdeaScale Nation
Royal Australian Navy: Challenging the Status Quo of Innovation
Chapters
IdeaScale Nation
Royal Australian Navy: Challenging the Status Quo of Innovation
Jun 17, 2020 Season 2 Episode 3
IdeaScale

The Royal Australian Navy consists of nearly 50 commissioned vessels and over 16,000 personnel. They are one of the largest and most sophisticated naval forces in the Pacific region, with a significant presence in the Indian Ocean and worldwide operations in support of military campaigns and peacekeeping missions. Lieutenant Commander Delo is the innovation engagements manager for the Royal Australian Navy where he has implemented networks and processes to assist intrapreneurial activity across Navy and other major groups in Defence. He has played key roles in the development of a variety of innovation programs such as new people management regimes, developing a leadership academy, and a culture development program. Delo discusses how innovation is encouraged in the naval hierarchy.

Show Notes Transcript

The Royal Australian Navy consists of nearly 50 commissioned vessels and over 16,000 personnel. They are one of the largest and most sophisticated naval forces in the Pacific region, with a significant presence in the Indian Ocean and worldwide operations in support of military campaigns and peacekeeping missions. Lieutenant Commander Delo is the innovation engagements manager for the Royal Australian Navy where he has implemented networks and processes to assist intrapreneurial activity across Navy and other major groups in Defence. He has played key roles in the development of a variety of innovation programs such as new people management regimes, developing a leadership academy, and a culture development program. Delo discusses how innovation is encouraged in the naval hierarchy.

Stephen Delo:

Innovation means it's a... Innovation is a social word, it requires interaction and collaboration. An idea is an idea. An idea is an idea. There it sits on a piece of paper, so that's becoming reality. Let's take the second case I just gave you that maybe that requires massive amount of collaboration and free time effort on behalf of everybody in the early stages who all support your idea and are lined up behind you or beside you to make it happen .

Jessica Day:

Welcome to our idea scale nation podcast where we talk to innovation champions, intrapreneurs, change leaders, and many others. This week, the voice you're going to be hearing is Lieutenant commander Stephen Delo of the Royal Australian Navy. So for those of you who don't know the Royal Australian Navy, it consists of nearly 50 commissioned vessels and over 16,000 personnel. They are one of the largest and most sophisticated Naval forces in the Pacific region and they have a significant presence in the Indian ocean and worldwide and support of military campaigns and peacekeeping missions. Lieutenant Commander Delo is the Innovation Engagements manager for the Royal Australian Navy where he has implemented networks and processes to assist entrepreneurial activity across the entire Navy and other major groups in defense. He has played key roles in the development of a variety of innovation programs such as new people management regimes, developing a leadership Academy and a culture development program. So first of all, Lieutenant Commander Delo, welcome to our program. Thank you for joining us. I would love it if you could tell us a little bit about yourself and your history. You've had a 39-year career that has served two navies . So can you tell us a little bit more about your journey?

Stephen Delo:

Yeah. Okay. Thank you. Thank you for welcoming me onboard this morning and I'm happy to talk to you about what we do in the Australia Navy in relation to innovation. Yeah, my journey started in 1980 when I first joined the Royal Navy as a junior seamen. So basically the basic operator as a sailor and over that , over the years , um, I've worked through jobs and promotions in the operational space. Um, and the, the rear end of my UK career about the 28 year Mark. Uh, I had an offer to join Australia , uh , and work in the leadership and development space. Um, and, and this is where I've ended up. So over those, you mentioned a number of the activities I've been involved in brewing the UK. Um, I tend to have the last sort of 15 or 20 years I've been accredited myself with CIPD and the HRI, which are two people management organizations. I've lent my emphasis towards developing people orientated programs and that's where the Navy in Australia is focused me from my postings. I've been lucky enough to work with some great people and be given the opportunity to develop , uh , now , uh , the innovation space as it is with some colleagues of mine.

Jessica Day:

What was it that cued you into that leadership and development track? What skills did you develop from that beginning? Just beginning as a sailor?

Stephen Delo:

Yeah, that's a good question. Uh, so in, in the Navy , uh , asked me normal enforcement , but in the Navy in particular , he worked very closely with people. It's a very compact space and you have to learn to get on with and manage and , and be led by other people. Um, and so you , uh, you pick up those inherently leadership and people skills along the way, you know, collaboration, communication, teamwork, followership, leadership and all that kind of stuff. And as you go through your promotions , uh , every person in defense would be adept in some way at those people's skills, some better than others. For me it was like, ah , that's my, I felt that was my thing, that my area. And so I gained some academic qualifications at university , uh, sparked an interest , uh , led to ask him for postings in particular jobs. And then, and then over the last, let's say 15 or 20 years, it's been a case of nurturing those into coaching group coaching , uh , leadership training. One of the people in charge of the Royal Navy leadership Academy , uh , as a warrant officer. So not quite an officer. And then I came over to Australia and joined the Australian defense force Academy as an officer there. And and so able to instill on other people or pass on or work through the program. Those skills and thoughts that I had that I thought would help people and that that again goes onto my coaching when I'm coaching and mentoring with other people as well. So it's sort of all culminated to this point which has come in this innovation isn't largely hinges on confidence in the competence of the innovator to be able to get across the line and communicate their idea and I find the the mentor side of it and coaching them through that initial engagement is , is a very important stage and important to the success of an innovation itself.

Jessica Day:

It sounds like it, I mean it sounds like you were developing some of those skills innately on your own, but then you were seeking out other information and resources through academia or other coaching and now you're getting to turn around and pass all of that learning back on to the Royal Australian Navy. But you've already sort of alluded to what makes the Royal Australian Navy special. I mean that there is naturally this environment of collaboration necessitated sometimes by very close quarters and cohabitation. But why does the Royal Australian have such a great culture of innovation as well?

Stephen Delo:

That is , that's a really good question. And , and, and the Royal Australian Navy have worked extremely hard over the last 10 years or so since I've came to Australia. And I'm not saying there was any negative before, but they've really grasp the nation , the notion that you can influence culture and leadership and that the overall performance and capability of the Navy through a series of programs. So I'm not part of this, but the Navy has a leadership development program. It has a Navy coaching program of which I am one of their attributes if you like more than members. And I coach individuals in Navy, so their leadership. So we have a leadership training program . So we have special workshops for me. There's yeah , promotion courses which instill leadership and good for , you know , good , uh , uh , good people, attributes. And then we have a series of values which we all gather behind. And then this has been pushed right from the top down from the chief of Navy Dan. And I find it a very positive, constructive social environment to be in . And , and, and people, all people across the Navy have adopted these values and work by these values. And so when we come to coaching for innovation, this not a new thing, but getting people into that space, using those frameworks that the other areas have put into place. You say challenge and innovate is one of our values. For example, challenging , innovative challenges the status quo chief of Navy might say , um , get out there and make a difference with your innovation. So that's easy for us in the innovation space of which we're only a small Carter , uh , to be able to say, well, how do we do that? And how can you do that from an individual perspective and how can we help you? So all the framework pieces are in place within that Navy McKinney and positively projected over the last number of years. So , and so I think we're in a great space in the innovation leadership and people development area .

Jessica Day:

You also, when you, I heard your presentation recently at the Australian intrapreneurial summit, you showed a picture of one of your , uh, personnel who was like smiling as he was actively trying to save a sinking ship and how that, that is a , it breeds innovation just by the nature of the work that needs to be done in Navy where you have to respond to, you know , trying situations and be creative on your feet.

Stephen Delo:

Yeah, very much so. I mean, a ship is a, is a town on its own, you know, with a captain in charge when it leaves the wall and goes to sea there are no emergency services. There are no helplines. Well , there are people you can find of course, but essentially you're all there on your own as a ship's company and you act as one. Um, and that means you must rely on each other you must work together. And, and even in adversity, like with every service, there's you, you can smile in the face of adversity because you're quite resilient and you're very resilient because you realize there's no alternative but you to solve the problem which creates a certain breed of people or breathe in breeds in people, a sense of can do. And innovation, you know, even going back to the days of sail ships would have carpenters, they'd have wheel REITs , they'd have rope makers that have sail makers that have all the trades in board to solve their own issue. And they're very much the same. Today we have branches and people doing the same tasks in the modern tools and modern modern materials. So now we're moving into a more technological era, a space or time and looking forward to how fast things change the year from introduction to implementation. So our people have to be more innovative , um , and respond to the curve of development and be aware of what they can do in that space. Um , and be given the right tools and the right communications to be able to get capability to help us be the best we can be, to be able to fight and to win or save a day or operate effectively wherever we are as an independent unit.

Jessica Day:

Right. Have you ever been in a situation like that where you had to innovate in real time with your town on the water like that?

Stephen Delo:

Yeah. Yeah. We've all had our own moments, you know , um, and uh, then on patrol in the Gulf of Oman or um , controlling the Falkland islands, you know, in the UK Navy , uh, after the war or uh , doing can of drug operations or ship it for ship on fire at sea for example, you know, there was a ship we found once , I'll find it in an estuary and we had to , on the ship I was on in England, just find 10 people, get some firefighting equipment, drive to the scene, climb onboard , help put the fire right. Yeah, that sounds kind of crazy. You know that you would do that, but you have an obligation to do that, but you have an obligation to do that as seafarers and Navy will always do that. Always help other people. So, and I'm just trying to reflect on the fact that I'm no different to anybody in Navy. If we got told or asked or volunteer , asked to look for volunteers, you'd have a sea of hands of qualified people that would be able to do this kind of thing. So I'd just like to think I'm part of that team, you know, and , and, and we'd all jump at the opportunity to do something positive faced with adversity. And the photo I showed you was offer a UK ship that had a hole in it and uh, and it was just a case for what else can we do? And , and very much kind of just, just get on with it kind of thing. And then it's not, it's not fatality, you know, like, Oh no, this is just, this is the end. It's more a case of positivity. Like we can solve this. Um , there's always an answer. There's always a way. And keep looking for that way. I think I like that culture and I've grown up in that culture or my life and it's something that I've tried to instill on people. Innovation still seems a gray area. Can we do this? Is the question really, you know, can I do that? Am I allowed to do it? You know , is it okay ? You know, those kinds of questions. Um, cause it's , uh , usually you have a Cheney , you know, chain of command and a long process for change. Uh , what we're asking people to do is say, right, you're in control. What do you need? What , how can we help you and your area, your team develop this great idea. So it's a play on very old principles , um , of just get in there and do something. But this is, it's still new behavior for people to innovate in and take ownership of their ideas from a military perspective. Um, which may affect people other than themselves.

Jessica Day:

That makes a lot of sense. And I think you had talked about how at NA Navy it means to start from a position of yes. Can you tell me what that means? Is, is that related to this at all?

Stephen Delo:

Yeah, it is. So a slow slogan if you'd like at warfare innovation Navy branch is to when you look at a problem, don't let your personal bias or your unconscious bias take over and go, Oh no , the procedure says the rules say you know, whatever. Cause that will always quash an idea what we're saying. Um , and chief of Navy would say challenge the status quo, make innovation that makes a difference. You see, I look at everything you do. Don't pass your problems up , solve your problem in your place. So from a default position of yes, try and try and look at the positives and an idea and from a person's supervisor's perspective and then start asking more constructive questions rather than questions that shut it down. So no, not so much closed questions, but start to develop that sort of coaching. Get the person to tell their story. Is there an element of it that will work if you think might work? So, even if the original idea doesn't end up as it was projected default position of yes is one that says, okay, well what ? So what else? So what else? Um, and so you either end up with the idea you all work together to get through or you work on a portion of the idea that was effective and achievable and realistic and specific, you know, so legal position that yes , just helps people check those conscious unconscious biases and not, not just go straight from the rule book or that or the practice book, but examine the two and go, Oh actually this is improving the rules. This is improving the practice. All right , now let's see what we can do.

Jessica Day:

That makes a lot of sense too. I think a lot of times people think the role of a manager is to filter, but, but it's , it could also be just to explore possibilities and discover, you know, opportunities. Even if it doesn't seem like it automatically fits in. Yeah . So, you know, I think that there's a lot of talk about, especially in the entrepreneurial world about nurturing and mentoring. So what's the difference? Do you think? Between nurturing an idea, a good idea, and nurturing an innovator.

Stephen Delo:

Okay. So this is my opinion, but looking at your question as you've asked it , um, nurturing idea means to me means working with the innovator too . If you imagine the idea's a lump of flour dough on the bench, you know, it's a lump. It's a rant or it's where it is. That's my idea. Okay. Imagine getting a rolling pin, that idea and rolling it out flat as thin as you could possibly make it. And , and in the hole , look how big this is. You know, look how big we can make it. Look at this , look at the edges, look at it, look at the all aspects of it. That's probably what I would call nurturing. And the idea is to examine it. Roll it out. Yeah . CEO, you can touch the edges. Um , and look at the way you can shape this thing. You know, look at the shapes we can make out of it and what we could make out of it and the why's and the what's. And we do that by asking them a series of what, why, how questions too . The innovator could have a brilliant spark of an idea, but it's not really explored the depth and the capability of it. So that is what I would call nurturing, is helping them reach that, the , the, the visual editor of that ideas universe by challenging them a little bit to come up with some more, more material, getting their , a subject matter expert to throw some light on it and helping them write an original sort of document that spells this side as opposed to , um, nurturing the innovator and , and , uh , and helping the innovator, which is more to do with confidence. You know, I've never done this before. I feel nervous. Should I do this? You know, I don't know anybody else who's done it. Will, I get, will I get told off. Um, how will this help others? It's more of a self confidence competency and helping them develop confidence in skills in the process. And so impact Navy culture, which is one of those programs I told you about earlier on, we've all got a duty to possibly create , uh , create a positive culture wherever we are. And I think by working with individuals, innovators, and then their teams that's by nurturing them, they will probably influence another person. How did that go for you? And I go, Oh no , I was, that was great. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was. No, actually I've got a lot of hell and my boss is , um , it couldn't be a recommendation because of this work. And um , my idea actually got through, you know, and, and I got an award for it. So that's there's two sides of the coin. There's the idea to explore the boundaries of the idea and then there's the personal, interpersonal nurturing of that person who's provided the idea .

Jessica Day:

And so you need both though too. Bring innovation forward.

Stephen Delo:

You do. Yeah. It's not just a spreadsheet and an entry. We've had, like everybody's had their systems in the past which aren't managed properly. And they sit them almost like a imagine a sort of envelope being popped in a box is that someone's suggestion? And then it sits, you know , um, and that's how people, a lot of people in society remember and think about ideas that's in the workplace. The ideas box that sits in a passageway played , play . Please submit your ideas here for anything, you know, any positive comments, which they're usually Nate and there's none in there cause it's just too difficult to write a piece of paper. So we're talking about a social organization really, and it's still in that ability to interact and, and we'll look after you and your idea as best we can in the process.

Jessica Day:

And you tell us a story about a time that you successfully worked with an intrapreneur to develop their idea and nurture them at the same time.

Stephen Delo:

Yeah. Right . I won't mention any names just because they haven't given me their , they're approved but uh , to , to mention their name. But the principle is the same. So I'm working with a team in an aviation community at the moment who enable seamen. So basically the same as I was 39 years ago, about 38 years ago, came to me, sent to us, dropped an email to us with an idea about something which was very, very large scale. So an idea that you wouldn't traditionally think would be a more junior operator would suggest, you know, it's almost beyond where it was, but traditionally it would be on their capability. So they're looking for a, a system of moving stores around the Navy that that would impact a whole group of a avi at a part of the aviation community. So unable see , cannot influence that traditionally, so they can suggest it. Um, and they can ask them . That's their chain of command, but that , that's a , that might take some time. So he came to me with this idea. Rather I communicated to him as I'm the responsible person and we sat and had several conversations about how this might look. Uh , we presented a document, which we called a business case. I'm sure you have similar things. Um, I helped him work that up to a point where it was , it was in a good state that, that he, and I thought this, this was, his story is accurate and it was presented properly that would have an effect. He talked to his command chain who were then very supportive, his uh senior supervisor. His next Warner was very supportive. Uh , he then actually negotiated with NAMI leftenant Colonel , uh, I'll be off of his unit with his unit in, in , uh, you know , on the same call if you like , um , sold his idea to him, finally found their materials. And so now you've got this whole collaborative case going forward as a piece of capability for Navy, which was you see the team have come on board , they're supporting him. They , they take his ideas great. They understand the capability, the external force , uh , the army in this case has joined in, as offered their support to help make it happen so that that individual case is now at the acceptance level. So it's waiting for an acceptance and approval that's taken the six or eight months to achieve. But it's taken that time because it takes that time to get all these components in all these parts I've previously mentioned into a sort of running format where if , if it's okay and if it's a good idea, it will be effective and be carried out. But in this, so we're in the process of recognizing this individual , uh, he just know that , um, and giving him some , uh , recognition of his efforts, which is way outside if you look at his job description, you know , so that there's a culture that is , that's the culture that Navy is trying to achieve is that by doing that, I've, we've, I, we'd , they, we've all helped upskill that person massive , rebuild their confidence. Uh, look at the reputation of Navy , uh, capability of Navy, all these things. That piece of dough, I was saying rolling it all out. Um , we've got much more for our, for our effort and we would have had it just, he put his hand up at a meeting somewhere and gone without this process. Oh, what do you think about this idea, sir? That sounds like a good idea to me. And then the meeting would have ended and what do you do with that? Or it would have taken a lot longer , uh , or never been achieved.

Jessica Day:

Right. Well, and the thing is too, you've taken, I think you said it was an eight month journey, and in that time, that idea I'm sure has gotten better and you've nurtured this intrepreneur but at the same time, you've also created this community of supporters and champions that you get to work with now as it comes to the final stages. Um, and , and you just talked about it , uh, the importance of recognition and how you're going to recognize this , uh, this , uh , person. How are you going? How does Navy recognize its intrapreneurs?

Stephen Delo:

Okay, that's a good, that's a good point. So there's, there's always the traditional , uh , the different ways that every Navy honors that people provide them with recognition. So you can have , uh , a citation that's a piece of paper, which is a story of the idea , um , which is signed by a senior officer , uh , and read out in front of their colleagues at a particular occasion , um, quarter citation. Uh, we as in that warfare innovation, Navy branch tweet, we , uh, we like to pass those on when we see the an idea come to fruition or it gets over that prototype line to commanding officers to present. So it gives them something to deliver to the person , uh , from our side. And then the individual was unit can say, Oh, I take that, but I raise it one, you know, okay, let's not do that. I want to give you something higher than that. So they might give him what we call a Navy bronze, silver or gold commendation for innovation. And then the same story. So they would get to wear something on their chest as an extra accoutrement like a badge, if you like , uh , to , to show people that. So a little metal patch on their shirt and a citation, which they would keep. So that , that goes on their record then. And then , uh, outside of that, we have an annual sort of competition within Navy where we put out for tender and a bit to submit their ideas for their chief of the Navy's annual innovation excellence award. Um, and , uh, and they end up with the, that's goes to a panel of , uh , uh, specialist members, captain and below. And then an individual or individuals are selected as the winner or winners every year. We've had two years of that now. Um , we've just awarded to people that they receive a trophy and one of those commendations from the chief of Navy in person , uh, who arranges whilst all this COVID19 stuff in that the way to deliver it to them in person while the trophy, they get photographed for that in front of their colleagues and their citation read out. So it's a small scale, individual personalized to an actual sort of Navy wide competition. So there's no way they're getting away with that, receiving anything because their , their efforts should be recognized there . They go well outside of their capability usually, unless these things take so much time, they work in their spare time and so on. So , uh , Navy believes that we should reward them. Recognize that people,

Jessica Day:

I so agree and I mean I think the majority of our customers who do that sort of thing, it's like they have a much higher success rate if they've included some form of recognition program. Although it's, it strikes me as you talk about it, that the Royal Australian Navy is a little different than some of our , um, private sector , uh , customers because we don't have a badge or a medal that people can wear around ceremonially , uh, the way that the Navy does. So that's kind of nice.

Stephen Delo:

Yeah, it's a, it goes on your record as well. So if you're looking for a promotion and stuff like that in the future and the promotion takes into account or your, your qualifications and your background. So something like that, although it doesn't, but this isn't the prime motivation for people. Uh , it actually can influence your future. So the more, if you've done something like this, then not only are you influencing Navy's capability, but you're influencing your own capability for opportunities later on as well. So it pays to innovate effectively.

Jessica Day:

Right. Well, could you give me an idea of some of the spectrum of ideas that you and your team have managed and how they've made an impact?

Stephen Delo:

Yeah, that's , that's a good question. When I was thinking about this, so I was like, Oh , there's , so, there's so many and so diverse and we don't really have a theme like, Oh, we're only accepting those innovations, you know, so they can come from all walks of life. So , um, we might, everything ranges from , uh, we've got a project, one of our team is working on, for example, artificial intelligence uses it to recognize , um, items floating in the water, but specifically say life jackets. Um, and this , and this has been in the press, so you can, it's just a very small camera, like a video camera focused on the surface of the sea, carried in an airplane. And the honor and the AI program within it is programmed to recognize certain shapes and colors in any sea state. So this has been tried at the moment , um, and it's been successful. So if somebody falls off a ship or falls out or jumps out of an airplane or whatever , um, and in any civil environment, you can fly over an area of human eyes, very discriminatory. You can only see what you can see and it filters the light. This thing will pick up anything of a particular size and shape anything at all and, and alert the pilot or the searching unit to that location so that, that poses a great positive for, for safety at sea . And particularly for our pilots, our airmen and uh , uh , seagulls, should they fall into the water or become , uh, you know , stranded or whatever. So there's that side of life, which is programming . And then there's, there's just an idea about, yeah , somebody came in with just an email , um, for the way we develop , we handled food waste. And that doesn't sound, yeah, much, but if you think of this as a global problem and how much waste packaging, how much waste food, which wasted , how much stuff do we waste across the Navy as a whole over a year. And that would be, you know, thousands of tons of food and loads of packaging crates and then adds to your footprint, your environmental footprint adds to costs. And so that idea now is now we've know for their own war on waste committee within Navy , um, which , uh, we put a food dehydrator it to one of the shore establishment or of , of supply chain has been examined , uh , for packaging . So when the ship is alongside, traditionally you get loads of boxes, those are plastics loads of materials. So the idea is that that is reduced to the bare minimum. So the ship doesn't have to store it because there's only limited space. And for our shore establishments, it means that they recycled much more than they would. Um, and for the food side of life, they, they don't , um, they don't throw the food away. They put it in a dehydrator and it turns into pellets , which can actually be used as fertilizer. Wow . Yeah . It's a natural thing if you look it on the internet. So these resources exist, always done. We've helped through our innovation project , uh , is and moved it on to another team now that who managed that as a, as a command if you like, as an ongoing job. Um , which will , it's just one, one simple idea isn't how fortunate to at pan Navy pan defense across Australia , um, project . So it gives you some idea. You can have individuals working on individual projects with skills and develop a particular program or aspect of themselves with somehow, well you can have like in this case it involves now the whole of this state and infrastructure group engineers , the contract who supplies materials, all the supply chain , um, catering, you name it, so and so and a simple idea can have massive leverage. That bit I told you about earlier on spreading the , looking at the actual potential of the idea versus individuals with excellent skills in particular areas that could develop great capability . So that's , I'm just trying to give you a picture of both ends of the innovation equation. So an idea can be a multiplier . It just keeps growing like , um, yeah , like the , the coronavirus, you know, it starts off with a small thing and then ends up getting everywhere. And that's what we want to try and do with innovations. Uh , we want to get, you know, get into the corners and make sure everybody sees it and give their opinion . Sometimes another time . It's an individual just needs to be given the tools to do what they do best and come up with a solution.

Jessica Day:

Right? I mean, depending on the idea that the set of circumstances to fast track it or just do it or really develop it over time could be completely different.

Stephen Delo:

They are. Yeah. And it requires a different effort, different emphasis. And , uh , and we're learning all the time, you know , we're trying to do it , we're all trying to do our level best in this space across, not just ourselves, but I'm sure everybody in the innovation space across the world. Uh , it's a learning environment. And if you're got your ears and eyes open and your , your , you prepare to be flexible and make compromises and you'll succeed in the end or you'll achieve something, it might not be what you originally said to do . It might be much bigger than you originally thought. But providing you're , you face it with that default position of yes and keep looking for opportunities, then you're going to get somewhere.

Jessica Day:

I love that default position of yes, I think so much about , um, organizations that are hesitant like that. They want to change the situation that they're in. They're not, I don't want to address blockchain cause they don't have the technology capability yet or they don't want it , you know , introduced into the sharing economy. Cause I've never done that. But if you start from a position of yes, you know, you get rid of some of that fear and it, it opens up for positivity.

Stephen Delo:

Yeah. It's okay. It's okay doing the vape , you know , you'll be all right . You know, nothing will happen. You know , if it's safe to fail. I've heard that said, I think it's safe to try. You know, it's safe to try and have a go and you may fail, but you will, you will find something else in your process. You know, you will come up with something and if you do fail and it's not what you want it to be, at least you tried, you know, and , and, and something will come of it. And what we do is we keep all ideas whether they come to fruition or not. And often, occasionally , um , a little bit of that idea rubs off somewhere else. So you join those two together, you know, so they're like Lego bricks. They're pretty ordinary on their own, but you can make great stuff with them . Um, and so don't let go of your ideas and your idea holders and your innovators cause they, there's something that will come along, you know, but it needs somebody in the middle of it, like ourselves to sort of join those dots and see, have that vision, if you like , um , have that vision or provisioned that vision for everybody else to be able to see that . See the possibilities in that idea.

Jessica Day:

Well, I'm going to finish by asking you the question that we ask all of the guests on our podcast and it's, what does the word innovation mean to you?

Stephen Delo:

That's a good question. I think innovation is just doing things differently. Looking for opportunity, examining the default position. Uh , saying is it good enough now or can I, can I do better? So challenge the status quo if you like and would be thinking of something we say quite a lot, doing things differently, definitely, but not for the sake of it. You know, like, oh yeah, that's changed their situation . That's counter productive . It's using your intelligence as a human being, as a , as a specialist or in whatever way, or just having a vision. Innovation is a social word . It requires interaction and collaboration and the idea of an idea , an idea is an idea. There it sits on a piece of paper so that to become reality. Let's take the second case I just gave you about the navy by problem. That requires massive amount of collaboration and free time, effort on behalf of everybody in the early stages. Who all support your idea , uh , and are lined up behind you or beside you to make it happen. So innovation is a, is a doing word. It's requires action. It requires somebody to do something , uh , and to do things differently. Even today, it might happen quicker. Um , but you need to have people around you to be able to do it .

Jessica Day:

Those are all very good points to hit, that it requires you to ask good questions. It is an interactive, collaborative process and it requires action. I think that's a very good comprehensive view into innovation. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today, Lieutenant commander Delo. I'm so impressed by your work, the work of your sailors and your officers, and I'm excited to see what you take on next.

Stephen Delo:

Okay. Thank you very much. And on behalf of our team, thank you for allowing us to get this opportunity to speak to you today. Thank you.