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The first step in entering global markets

The first step in entering global markets

The Global Readiness Index: How ready are you to scale?

Written by Pia Turcinov & John Grohovaz
Directors, Strategic Global Pathways

Much is made of the exciting and lucrative opportunities for Australian entrepreneurs and innovative businesses in emerging growth sectors and global markets. Yet experience has shown us that the desire to scale and expand beyond Australian borders, is at times mismatched with the capability and the actual readiness to make the most of the opportunities presented.

Organisations often believe they are ready for a global play when in fact (and unfortunately) the reality is far from that. This can be an expensive, time-consuming and frustrating lesson to have to learn. The sad truth is we don’t know what we don’t know. How can we, right? Without support or the benefit of hindsight, the journey of growth and expansion can be a little longer, more arduous and certainly more expensive than what was originally intended. Or it simply just becomes all too daunting to even start, creating another lost opportunity (and enabling competitors to fill the void).

The Global Readiness Index (GRI) has been developed by Strategic Global Pathways as a means to calibrate expectations and enable a start-up or scale-up business to benchmark its readiness to scale into global supply chains. Seeing where a business sits on the GRI scale, enables small and medium sized organisations to better understand the aspects of their business they need to consider strengthening and building before embarking on their go-global campaign.

The GRI is not a theoretical exercise!

The survey style questionnaire focuses on what we believe are the core aspects a business should be thinking about in order to optimise its potential for commercial success. These core aspects are grouped under six categories:

 Culture

 Leadership

 Strategy

 Governance

 Products and/or Services

 Markets

In simple terms, the value of the GRI is to provide an organisation insight as to where the business and leadership team may need additional support, as well as where the opportunities lie to better leverage existing strengths and competitive advantages. It is worth expanding on what the GRI is and is not.

What it is: The GRI is a simple survey comprising 42 questions which most people who have been working in the organisation for a relatively short period of time should be able to answer. Business owners, managers and members of senior leadership teams are best placed to answer the questions; an exercise that should take no more than 10 minutes.

The output of the survey is augmented with other data points about the organisation, such as size, employees, industry sector, existing networks etc. The GRI output is a score from 1 to 5. A result below the midpoint suggests organisations are more inclined to need to added support in certain business areas, while in comparison those scoring above the midpoint, tend to be less in need of additional support and are more ready to embark on or expand their global play.

It is a tool which enables the user to take a step back, view the business in a more objective manner and provide some powerful insights - hopefully, those insights do not surprise too much! But even if they do, we suggest owners, managers and business leaders take these insights and use them to their advantage – a chance to reflect and explore in greater detail not only with regards to your own business but also how you may be positioned relative to your competitors.

What it is not: The GRI is not an oracle or a sophisticated predictive algorithm that can pinpoint the timeline of the future success of a business or organisation!

For further information about the Global Readiness Index please reach out and contact


The world is shrinking and everyone wants to be a unicorn

Change has been a constant throughout history, but unlike previous evolutions, this one is a seismic shift with a rate of change, complexity and scope never seen before. Advances in technology are transforming just about every aspect of our lives, from the way we work to the way we communicate and access basic services. The opportunities for entrepreneurs and innovators may appear endless with markets no longer limited to distinct niches or restricted by geography; and the size of the prize on offer is no longer just large, it is potentially mind boggling!

Most nations in one way or another are embracing the call to mass entrepreneurship and innovation, driving the creation of new business models, a distinct start-up language and indeed, an increasingly interconnected global ecosystem. The start-up glossary has brought us concepts of Unicorns and now even Decacorns – think Uber, AIRBNB, SpaceX, Pinterest and Lyft – creating a new aspirational benchmark for success. Australian entrepreneurs are buoyed by the achievements of local home-grown legends such as Atlassian and Canva, whose stories prove that our geographic location or indeed limited market size, is not a barrier to global success.

Yet it’s not necessarily a simple process, and with all this very enticing potential come new challenges and risks. This week I had the pleasure of being invited to speak at the 2019 LESANZ Annual Conference in Brisbane, with an audience of national and international guest speakers and delegates, particularly from the Asia Pacific region. As an annual flagship event this year’s theme Country to Coast to Global focussed on exploring how we bring technologies and services from the most remote areas of the country and deliver them to markets locally and across the world.

In today’s digital and data enabled world, the globalisation of business has brought us an era of shrinking geographic boundaries, a competition landscape that reaches far beyond local and a transactional footprint where anyone can operate across international borders. With this globalisation trend comes OPPORTUNITY VISIBILITY. By this I mean the ability to more readily identify key ingredients to successfully commercialising and scaling a venture:

  • Market opportunity

  • Investment opportunity

  • Supply chain opportunity

But take a step back and you will easily spot a key fallacy in strategizing to achieve unicorn status. For scaling into global markets is not for the faint hearted or indeed the ill prepared. The trend of globalisation works both ways, bringing with it:

  • Increased competition into our local markets

  • Increased complexity in transactions and structuring

  • Increased risk in terms of investment dollars and market variables

Many a large well-known corporate brand has failed in executing its global expansion. Lessons are to be learned from the likes of the UK Bunnings experience or more recently and closer to home, Purple Bricks packing up and declaring its Australian operations a failure. So, what of the burgeoning venture or entrepreneur ready to scale, but who does not have access to vast budgets, a team of seasoned executives or a strong brand reputation?

Fellow presenter Will Westgate, CEO of Insightful Prosperity Inc. travelled from Canada to share his insights on the challenge of commercialising on a global scale. With an impressive and lengthy track record of commercialising within 3M, his perspective focused on intangible assets, monetising disruption and the need to consistently be able to demonstrate value. Value not only from an internal perspective (including senior leadership and the sales team), but also an unwavering focus on value from the client’s perspective.

I loved his story of how 3M developed and applied the concept of the value to be gained from a near miss, as well as his take on near sourcing as opposed to outsourcing. The term collaborating uncomfortably was another important point Will made in acknowledging the natural friction that collaboration brings with it – and yet as his 3M case studies demonstrated, the rewards can be phenomenal.

I also appreciated Damian Madden’s insights on the approach the wool industry is taking in leveraging digital technologies to create a paradigm shift in how consumers view and indeed consume, wool as a product. As General Manager - Digital with the Australian Wool Company, Damian spoke of the benefits the industry is reaping through an approach that focuses on the adjacent possibilities, leadership, the market environment and empowering your team to do something different.

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All presenters made it clear that innovation and especially scaling beyond local markets, goes hand in hand with collaboration. Their case studies showcased that high performing entrepreneurs create for themselves a strong ecosystem of support, both internally and externally.

Not everyone will end up as a fabled unicorn, but what is very apparent is that to have a shot at success it is essential to:

  • know your own strengths and acknowledging where you need to supplement, collaborate and source added capabilities, capacity and reach;

  • understand, and I mean truly understand the needs of your target customer in the context of specific markets (which may significantly differ across geographies); and

  • be able to authentically articulate your unique value to that market.

Commercialising into global markets is certainly not business as usual and requires a shift in perspective, approach and energy levels. It takes stamina, a strong mindset and fortitude to execute an international play. Commercialisation is indeed a global activity: so, we need to think global, plan global and most importantly act with a global mindset.

Authored by Pia Turcinov


Shift Happens: VUCA events, Emotions + Innovative Culture

Look around you, have you witnessed significant changes in leadership? What triggers your emotions in the workplace and how do you build an innovative culture with the rise of dynamic VUCA environments you experience? What can you do as a leader to retain the quality of the team performance when innovation is critical to success?

With 40 years of experience in leading and building integrated team capability for breakthrough innovation, we feel the intensity of the emotions of the people we work with. This can be the loss for an entrepreneur, when investors change leadership, SME or larger corporations. We may not be with these leaders in their daily operations; however, their experiences trigger for us, previous projects where talented leaders we had the pleasure of working with, have lost their leadership roles or lost an innovation project, through dynamic and challenging global business environment.

Recently a talent leadership cohort were challenged by the meaning of ‘dynamic business environment’. Their personal experience was a result of reading an announcement in the press. Their leader was being ‘changed’. This announcement resulted in genuine tears and fear for the projects and livelihood. This cohort experienced the emotions typical of the research describing the ‘emotional cycle of change’. Many stood in shock and denial, whilst surprised where others viewed the context, through different eyes, and mixed emotions. We do not stand still when leadership is challenged. Survival is on our mind. The experience in the face of uncertainty and ambiguity.

Talent leadership communicate on the levels of complexity and speed of business, where shifts are caused by the impact of global markets, and expectations of societal demands fail to be met by their team.

This complexity is expressed by the terms Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA). It’s a mix of multiple leadership perceptions, concepts, subjective biases of experiences result in ambiguous actions.

Leadership is what we expect demonstrated and sometimes we witness a skip over the emotion being felt in the organisation. It can’t be business as usual.

Research indicates that these emotions are contagious. However, emotions brought about by dynamic business news, loss of a leader, project or change result in emotions that diminish people’s performance. Organisational culture is the sum of the beliefs shaped by the behaviour and when we change the strategic direction, people feel that culture as an event, they experience this as changing ‘the way things get done’. When shift occurs suddenly, innovative teams’ productivity and performance often descend. The length of that emotional contagion or transition of emotions is directly influenced by the proactive engagement and culture of how the event is dealt with by leadership.

Emotional and social Intelligence (Mayer-Salovey-Caruso, 1997) are a mixture of empathy and learnt skill. Emotions permeate an innovative team both positively and negatively during uncertain times. Leadership that keeps an eye out for emotions, and maintains a higher positive focus, fosters authentic conversations, collaborative work exchange to clarify current priorities resulting in increased likelihood of shifting performance.

Shift happens, it matters how you demonstrate resilient leadership in building team capability for innovative cultures. When you face real emotions, deeply connect with people during these demanding times. The speed of your responses to a connect people as unique individuals sharing an ambiguous experience or change matters.

What can you do as a leader to retain the quality of the team performance when innovation is critical to success?

It matters that you have deep and broad experience, yet leaders still find themselves in unique contexts where the speed of decisions leave themselves and others feeling anxious. Consciously or not, when we engage with a shared vision, we share the feelings of others and the possibility of mutual collaboration to solve the challenges around us. We deal with the current culture and mindsets of people. This culture may be a mixture of a fixed mindset or growth mindset. Culture is often not uniform nor static and shaped by the leaders behaviour.

William Bridges, a leading authority on transitions in change identified the need for immediate action that alleviate uncertainty and stress. Our current culture and mindsets matter. Emotions are contagion, leaders make a difference to set the culture, so strategic communication at the time of any challenging news makes a difference to performance. In teams, leaders address decisions and shape the culture by how we are able to:

1. Be visible and engage deeply with people focusing on their experience

2. Keep an eye on the emotions, recognise differences in emotions

3. Distill a carefully crafted and a united communication approach (internally & externally)

4. Dispel myths and refocus questions

5. Arrange checkpoint times for those on leave

6. Frame and reframe the experience and what we need to acknowledge and let go

7. Focus on the collective actions of purpose and priorities.

Shift Happens, Leadership Matters

Shift happens, leadership and management matter. The collective actions of leaders bring people into focus on their purpose and priorities during challenging times. These VUCA environments are part of our experiences. The better people are at awareness for their transitions, people are able to handle the politics in their organisation and the interpersonal aspects of work life. To maintain an innovative culture, recognise emotions are contagion. It pays to keep an eye on the emotions and focus attention on your future direction.

Authored by Dianna Vitasovic


high above Perth: A memorable Launch event

On Friday 22 March 2019 we had the pleasure of officially launching our Strategic Global Pathways venture in the company of friends, collaborators and Alumni of previous Global Pathways Programs. We were delighted that Senator Linda Reynolds CSC, Minister for Defence Industry and Minister for Emergency Management and North Queensland Recovery, was able to join us and share her insights as to present opportunities for Australian entrepreneurs to leverage their unique skill sets and technical capabilities into global markets. The venue for this celebration was high above the Perth skyline thanks to the generous hospitality of the team from the Perth office at Grant Thornton Australia. Thank you Steven Andreazza and Peter Bourke for hosting us and all our wellwishers and guests that joined us on the night. The windy conditions did nothing to dampen our spirits and if anything simply added "wind to our sails".

Thank you to all who joined us

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Strategic global pathways is scaling

To celebrate the growth of the Global Pathways Program into what is now Strategic Global Pathways Pty Ltd, we are thrilled to be hosting an invitation-only launch event in Perth on Friday 22 March 2019. This intimate event is intended to foster conversation and learning about a variety of topics associated with creating business value internationally. The occasion is also an opportunity for you to meet the expanded team that now represents our collective SGP capabilities. Our program partners Grant Thornton have very kindly agreed to host this celebration at their office, offering a birds-eye view over Perth’s beautiful city skyline.

If you are interested to hear more about our international engagement programs and the services we offer to assist innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders to scale into global markets, please reach out and contact us. We would be happy to have you join us for the launch event.

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Many companies in their drive for productivity are racing to adopt advanced technology and automation but lack the basic business fundamentals!

Whilst there are undoubted quantifiable benefits from technology and automation the ROI can be far less than getting your house in order. Companies need to look inwardly before even contemplating looking outwardly. Many consultants and suppliers are happy to take a company’s money, but why buy a top of the range security system if you leave your windows open?

Real and sustainable productivity gains will only come from broad business transformation. This requires a holistic and top-down approach that aligns productivity activities to their strategic value and contribution, and they need to be planned and executed in a coordinated way across the value chain.

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In September 2018, Australian capabilities were for the first time represented on the global stage at GasTech 2018, reinforcing our position as the second largest LNG exporter in the world.

Thanks to support and funding by the National Energy Resources Australia  Growth Centre for the oil, gas and energy resources sector (NERA), this year’s Global Pathway Program participants had the opportunity to showcase their innovative products and services as part of the Smart Australia Country Pavilion in Barcelona, Spain. More than 30,000 visitors and 700 exhibitors visited the conference and exhibition between September 17 to 20, providing our Australian SMEs with a unique opportunity to showcase their solutions to the global market.

Click here for an overview of Australian companies represented and to read more about NERA’s support for Australian smarts and technology,
and the Global Pathways Program.


The Entrepreneurial spirit in oil & gas by Leon morgan

“There is something to be said about the entrepreneurial spirit of jumping in feet first and giving it a go.”

This advice is designed to push you to explore new clients, new products and delivery methods. To believe you can always make it work and explore that new market on the other side of the world. “What’s the worst that can happen?” Wise words on risk versus reward, that when paired with self-belief and determination can take you and your business to new highs.

Photo by marcos mayer on Unsplash

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