ExecInsights Podcast

QUT ExecInsights – Don Meij on pizza, innovation and the future of delivery

Don Meij, CEO Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Ltd and recent inductee in into the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame speaks to Kate about the journey from delivering pizza in Red Hill, Brisbane to being the CEO of a company which is a market leader in seven countries. The conversation ranges through the importance of a laser-like customer focus, risk taking, digital retail, working with your Board, and the future of work in the pizza and food delivery business. Yes, there will be drone delivery!

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Kate Joyner 0:05
Welcome to ExecInsights, brought to you by QUTeX – Professional and Executive Education for the real world. I’m your host Kate Joyner. Last month QUT Business School and the State Library of Queensland and the Queensland Library Foundation hosted the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame induction dinner. This is the occasion for honoring outstanding Queensland business leaders and their contribution to Queensland. One of those honoured that evening was Don Meij, CEO of Domino’s Pizza Enterprises.

For those of us who grew up in Brisbane in the 70s and 80s, it was hard to imagine that anything groundbreaking would come out of our hometown. Domino’s Pizza is one of those success stories. Australia’s largest and first publicly listed pizza chain, now market later in seven countries. Much of this success has been a strong focus on the customer and business process innovation. Don has always held a deep passion for entrepreneurialism and being a leader in digital retail. He shared his insights on the possibilities of technology with us at a QUT Institute of Future Environments guest lecture earlier this year. I’ve been hoping that we could explore some of these things further for ExecInsights and today is the day. Welcome, Don.

Don Meij 1:12
Thank you, Kate. It’s great to be here.

Kate Joyner 1:14
I hope I can call you Don?

Don Meij 1:15
Yes, you can. Absolutely.

Kate Joyner 1:16
That’s the Queensland way, I think. We get familiar very early. So when I was preparing for the interview, Don, I was thinking about pizza and childhood and that sort of thing. 70s and 80s. So my first pizza was, and I have to introduce a competitor, my apologies, was Pizza Hut. And yeah, those church-like structures that they had. And it was, it was a big occasion when we had our first pizza, and it was the one at Indooroopilly, the Pizza Hut at Indooroopilly. So I suppose we’d seen pizza in US TV, you know, and wondered what this amazing thing was, and there it was. It was a wondrous occasion. So when was your actual first pizza? Could you remember?

Don Meij 1:56
Well actually, yeah, my first pizza also was in a Pizza Hut restaurant. In Margate up on Redcliffe. Same thing a restaurant, and that pan, it came sizzling to the table.

Kate Joyner 2:04
Amazing theater.

Don Meij 2:06
Exactly. And mum and dad were having beer and you got a pizza slice. And the weirdest thing for me actually, in my early childhood, I actually didn’t love pizza. I thought that the smell of the cheese and the sauce and everything smelled really weird. And it wasn’t until my later teenage years that I fell in love with pizza. So, yeah.

Kate Joyner 2:22
So you really fell in love with pizza, yeah. So that, how was it? I know you’ve had, you did things before you went to Silvio’s? But if we start with Silvio’s. So how old were you then?

Don Meij 2:33
17? 18? I just had my licence. Yeah.

Kate Joyner 2:36
So you had your licence, and they were into delivery right from the get go were they?

Don Meij 2:39
Correct. So yeah, so Silvio’s actually pioneered delivery in Australia. So the Bevacqua brothers based out of Red Hill, had little pizza restaurant.

Kate Joyner 2:47
Remember it well, yes.

Don Meij 2:48
Up on, I think Musgrave Road. And there was a Canadian who walked in one day and said the biggest thing in North America is delivery. So they went across to North America, saw a little bit about it, but you know, pioneering it by literally putting pizzas in broccoli boxes, like how do you keep a pizza warm? And how do you deliver it? You know, they’d call up a taxi driver, and the taxi driver would come and get the pizza and take it and, and so on. So you know, very, very early pioneering days.

Kate Joyner 3:12
Because that was the delivery mechanism, was it?

Don Meij 3:14

Yeah, well, didn’t think it you know, how do you do this? How do you cost effectively do this? So that, yeah, they were the early years. And yeah, and I joined that business as a pizza delivery driver.

Kate Joyner 3:25
A pizza delivery driver? Yeah. And then, so how did, alright at the start for pizza delivery driver for Silvio’s. I mean, I know the story. But how does one get from pizza delivery at Silvio’s Pizza in Musgrave Road, Red Hill to highest paid CEO in Australia?

Don Meij 3:42
Well, apparently, yes. And we could talk about that. But yeah, so the two years delivering pizza while I was studying in QUT Kelvin Grove, which was really it was different…

Kate Joyner 3:51
Well it’s close to Musgrave Road, in fact. Is that why you happened to be, because it was close to Kelvin Grove?

Don Meij 3:55
Well I actually started at Silvio’s in Redcliffe. And then I ended up, you know, working in the city in my later years, but I got towards the end of my degree, studying to be a high school teacher, and I realised I didn’t want to teach. And I thought I had another nine months to kill to start a new degree. And I, so I just took a manager’s job at the Silvio’s store in Redcliffe.

And in those days, we’re going to close down all of the Silvio’s stores and turn them into mobile pizza kitchens, which is kind of a forward thinking idea, but actually limited. And so what happened is we had all these pizza kitchens running in Toowoomba, I was running a store that was only going to be temporarily open and maybe closed. But that store grew like crazy. And in fact, mobile pizza kitchens failed because the funny thing about pizza is that, you know, people buy most of their meals at dinner time in a two hour window. So one truck cooking fresh pizza on the way to your house is too limiting. All the asset for one customer. So know that that idea failed. And then these little pizza stores started to do better and before I knew it I was a supervisor, operations manager, and then in the 90s, and became a small shareholder in Silvio’s and then in 93, Domino’s came for sale in Australia out of its third liquidation. And I went down to Sydney, ran Domino’s. The founders ran Silvio’s. Did that for two years and then we said, “Well, we can’t keep running two brands.”

So I as the smallest shareholder in the group, but very passionate that if we were ever going to be serious, we had to get all the insights from a global scale. And Silvio’s was limited in that way. And you know, our biggest competitor was Pizza Hut. It was on television 52 weeks of the year, and we couldn’t even afford television. So yeah, we convinced the rest of the partners that we should become Domino’s. And I was so convinced I went out and franchised at the same time I cashed in my shareholding, which wasn’t worth much and got my first store in Morayfield/Caboolture. And that store in the first year became the second biggest Domino’s store on the planet, out of 5000 stores back then. And it just literally changed our business.

And it’s a model that we still use today called high volume mentality, which is a way to think in retail. And yeah, over five years, I grew to 17 stores throughout South-East Queensland, Toowoomba, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, and used the equity in those stores to buy into the company and become CEO in 2001/2002.

Kate Joyner 6:03
2000 when, was that, so in, when I was reading about it, it was that, that sounds like an uninterrupted linear flow of success and growth, doesn’t it? But you were saying actually that profitability only really kicked in about halfway through your story?

Don Meij 6:17
Yeah. So we all those early years have always been humble, in fact, all the way to 2001/2002. To put it in perspective, the company only made a million dollars, EBITDA in 2001. And this year, you know, we’ve guided the market around 260. So, you know, it’s been an incredible journey since then. But yeah, it was very, very humble beginnings. And I think humble beginnings are really important. You know, like, founders in Silicon Valley often talk about the garage and the symbolism and Amazon working on doors as tables. And, and that’s really important, because it’s through those really hard, hard years, that when things go well, you get still paranoid. I mean, I wake up every day thinking that it could be taken away, especially more and more today in the disruptive world we live in.

Kate Joyner 7:05
Did you ever have your house against the business?

Don Meij 7:06
Absolutely. And in fact, you know, at one point when I was growing so quickly, in the days when interest rates were 15%, and loans with three year loans, I was signing up to, you know, pizza stores that cost $300,000 to $600,000. And having to pay them back in three years. So all the profit I made went to paying principal interest, and I once had to borrow from my sister just to pay my payroll.

Kate Joyner 7:27
That’s humbling, having to borrow from a family member.

Don Meij 7:29
Very, very, very humbling. Yes.

Kate Joyner 7:31
I’ve just finished reading Shoe Dog, you know, Phil Knight’s story about Nike. So it was very much that story that you’re broke, broke, broke, broke, broke until suddenly, you know, there’s a tipping point. And it could all be lost in the turn of a, just one lost deal. And it can all…

Don Meij 7:47
Yeah and you know, after 31 years, when I look around, you can see really successful businesses just they seem to fade suddenly. They don’t really fade suddenly, in retail. It often happens over a few years, you know, this, the seeds of issues are sown a few years before and then you just see the crash at the end. We’ve got to look forward all the time and disrupt ourselves.

Kate Joyner 8:06
I know the Phil Knight story, it was a lot about cash flow, he just never seemed to be able to get on a constant stream of the cash flow, and his bankers were always up his, you know, yes.

Don Meij 8:17
That is exactly right. It’s actually in many cases, it’s not necessarily profit that gets an entrepreneur, it’s their cash. You know, and the reverse way around, I remember sitting during the global financial crisis, watching a lot of late night TV in the United States, and, you know, somebody got on there from Merrill Lynch, and he said, “The thing that’s gonna shock most people is some of the most profitable companies in the world are about to go broke.” And that is, because they had over leveraged. That in the hyper cycle of 2007, up leading up to 2007, you know, some of these incredible businesses had just leveraged themselves to the hilt, and there was no room to breathe, and the smallest little hiccup disrupted.

And in fact, that’s what happens in things, in industries period is that often these whole giant in industries or businesses exist, and they actually exist into a, into a space where it doesn’t take much to break them because everyone’s betting like they’re a jockey on a horse. That’s the win every race in the good times. Yeah. So yeah, we you know, we often think about well, what’s what’s our plan Bs and Cs? And how do you make sure that you know, you can survive incidents? And that you also are always looking forward anyway?

Kate Joyner 9:21
Yeah. So you actually do the plan Bs and Cs? Because there is one school of thought out there that says, there’s only one plan. There’s only one plan, that’s plan A. That’s it. If plan A doesn’t work, you know there’s, like you’ve got to keep, you gotta burn your boats, I suppose. It’s that philosophy?

Don Meij 9:36
Yeah, a little bit of that, like, I’m a risk taker. So I actually thrive in risk. And it’s actually when I think the best work comes out of our business and me personally, but in saying that what I’ve learned over the years is you can’t bet the house at every… Because there’s so many people that are involved in all of this, and it’s not up to me to gamble their livelihoods away. So whilst we take some pretty big risk, the end result of when we’re analyzing the risk is what’s the worst thing that could happen? As long as no one dies, and as long as we don’t get taken out of business, it’s potentially worth taking on some of these risks. But if someone was to die or or we would be taken out of business, then we shouldn’t do that.

Kate Joyner 10:10
So there’s something about that story, you’re talking about a Morayfield store, I think. And suddenly, it was the most profitable store.

Don Meij 10:17
Second biggest in volume, yeah.

Kate Joyner 10:19
But that says that there’s some secret sauce in you. That, like, that was the difference. That you were at that store.

Don Meij 10:27
It’s just really learning about people. And through those hard years is, you know, there’s all these classic paradigms that academics might put around that, you know, if you go to this right Harvard University and you know, this Stanford, that you’re destined to be successful in life. And yes, that, learning to learn is a really important thing. And, and maybe you got there because you actually are quite intelligent, and so on. But there’s another element that there’s a lot of people that, that maybe didn’t do as well as school and now they’ve had a couple of years to think about it. And now how do they get back out? And they have this immense amount of energy and desire to want to do well. And that drives, you know, a behavior that if you can trap that sauce, you can, you know, some of these people that you can surround yourself with, can do incredible things.

Kate Joyner 11:16
So you learned a lot about people?

Don Meij 11:17
A lot about people.

Kate Joyner 11:18
About how to get the best out of them. Was that the…

Don Meij 11:20
I think so yeah. And that’s still today, you know, if I look at anything that happens, it’s always the people in the business that make a difference. You can have the best idea in the world, but it’s all about the execution. We often say in our business, even average ideas can actually be successful, if you know, the team’s so far behind them and passionate about them. And some of the best ideas don’t get up and never get delivered. Because you know, you didn’t put the right people on the bus.

Kate Joyner 11:44
Around it, yeah. So is that in the, is that in the choosing of it down to the recruitment, or?

Don Meij 11:49
It’s recruitment and nurturing, because, see, so what it is, once again, there may be somebody who’s the right fit for the organisation, but then they don’t get inducted properly and brought in properly and therefore they have an allergic reaction to the system. Because, you know, most businesses, when they get to a certain size and scale, they have their own immunity systems as well. And so you know, somebody coming in is a new alien, almost into the into the team. And then, you know, how does they interact in this biological system, which is a large company, which, you know, we’re quite dynamic and move quite quickly. But even still, there’s a lot of cultural things which can’t move quickly.

There’s certain, more or less, principles and truisms that even if they’re not spoken, everyday they lived. And so, yeah, it’s this thing of, you know, how do you embrace talent? How do you feed that, you know, that talent? How do you, you know, allow people to be the best they can be in the sort of structured world that you live in. And so you know, what we try to do, and, you know, I study a lot of businesses over the years trying to figure out how, why are they successful, is that we try not to just get into the business of running business, but still get into the business of the customer, our people and ideas. Because so many companies just get in the business of running business. So all they think about – autonomous systems and process, and that’s where all the energy is, and then, what’s the customer outcome again? And the team outcome?

Kate Joyner 13:10
Well, that did strike me from your presentation here at QUT, about how customer focus, I mean, a lot of people talk about customer focus, but it is the difference of being, you know, just putting your heart and soul into understanding what their needs are. And you had it so, I mean, your process innovation and how you just, how you understood the the whole journey, you know, of the ordering, you know, or even before that, I suppose what, what motivates someone to want a pizza at this point, you know, the ordering process, you know, the fulfillment process, and obviously, the delivery, so, and working out strategically where improvements need to be made. I mean, I think, that seemed to me, like the guts of your success and the innovation that wraps around that, obviously.

Don Meij 13:52
It is. If you can just think of all the friction points with your team in the business and all the friction points for customers, you know, what’s the tensions? And, you know, why is Amazon, you know, one of the biggest companies on the planet? Because it just makes all of the process less than, you know, they just take away all the friction. You know it they’ll lose money selling a hairbrush, you know, the box and the shipping costs, you know, probably three times more, but what the average person, who just thinks about every order’s got to make a profit. So most retailers say every single thing I sell has to have a profit in it.

What they’re missing is that a one time buy can be a multi time buy. So I bought a hairbrush today, and that was my entry was a low risk thing. It cost me $2. But a year from now, I’ve actually decided to buy my plasma TV or my you know, my new latest television and I’ve even considered buying a car online now. So it’s, you know, what we learned earlier as one of these insights is that we were very punitive on a one time customer buying one pizza. But what we studied and found is that a one time pizza buy actually can buy a multi pizza order nine times. So we’re just looking in one order and saying, oh, we’ve gotta…

Kate Joyner 14:55
That one order has to, yeah we have to…

Don Meij 14:56
Has to carry this huge profit, when in fact we’re losing all this other stuff. And we fall in this trap all the time, because we’re a business and we have business partners and franchise owners and shareholders and so on. But if you just keep thinking of ways to remove friction for customers and innovate and give all this benefit, customers reward you. You know, just innately.

Kate Joyner 15:15
Yeah. So that’s just that old adage about the forest and the trees, hey? Yeah, so like seeing the big picture. But, you know, we are a University of Technology. So we will talk about the technology. But you I mean, I suppose it goes back to the previous conversation about your culture, and, but you have managed to achieve an enormous amount of innovation. So it would suggest that your culture can support that, that they can they’re capable of absorbing quite a bit of technological change. So what are the sort of your major technological achievements? And how did you actually get your company to come behind you on that and execute?

Don Meij 15:48
Yeah, so it isn’t easy. And I get asked this by CEOs all the time, how did you move your whole company and often it’s, I often look at the CEO, and I look at the way that they’re embracing things, and it probably starts with them. How much innate drive do they have to really actually make change in organisation? When you can, you know, we can look at our, what we call “Kodak moments” out where you know, that Kodak absolutely had digital technology and just pushed it aside, because they’re making so much money out of paper, or blockbuster could have bought Netflix for about $10 million, or something, you know, and now it’s a multi billion dollar business. So when you look at those sort of things, you’ve got to be so brave. And what we talk about in our business is sort of leading from the edge. How do you get enough consensus people around in your organisation, to first of all prove out the idea but if you really do believe, then you’re just that obsession back to the board, back to the greater group. And when there’s that much conviction and fulfillment from the edge, you do, you do actually draw an organisation in.

But every time we go to the next hurdle, like we’re, you know, I’m in a phase with my board now, where I often sit there and go, I really don’t know at this moment in time how I’m going to bring them up to speed. And so you know, it’s sort of chicken and egg. If I go too far down some work, then I’ve spent shareholder money and haven’t got Board approval yet, but then I’ve got to prove something out, to take to the Board, because otherwise it was just all air. So you have this immense conflict and you’ve just got to be able to go to bed and sleep at night saying, “I think this is the way to go.” And sometimes it backfires.

Kate Joyner 17:16
Sometimes it backfires. But you’ve got the trust of your board. Is that right?

Don Meij 17:20
Of course, but they’re still there, like, so a board is there to cheerlead a CEO. They’re there still for governance. And it’s a great track record, but then hubris can create disasters. So you know, you can start believing your own, you know, BS, and so a Board is still there to check you. And so what our Board’s been so great at is over the years is okay, you’re successful, and therefore that feeds belief that okay, potentially, there’s something here. But you’ve also got failures, too, and some pretty expensive failures in the business. So is this going to be one of those failures? Or is this going to be one of those successes?

Kate Joyner 17:52
And how could they possibly know? Because we’re all going into ambiguous territory here, but…

Don Meij 17:56
It’s been, it’s a very dynamic process. And I think sometimes there’s just an absolute “No.” And I’ve just got to keep coming at it in different ways. And in other times, it’s like, run me through the wringer to make sure and test all these ideas, but maybe not break the business to then say, “Okay, go for it.”

Kate Joyner 18:12
You’ve got enough distribution, though, that you can do small fail, you know, you can fail early in one spot and doesn’t infect the whole business, is that right?

Don Meij 18:21
That’s right. That’s absolutely right. That’s where we do most of our pretotyping. And we do, we test, literally, you know, tens of things every single week in a pretotype phase, which most fail, and then every now and then you get a success, and you chase the success. And that’s the whole idea here is, alright, fail really, really cheaply as quickly as you can, go from a pretotype to a prototype to a minimum viable product to market.

And in all of that zone somewhere, some of the ideas actually do go into quick, pretty quick spend. And even then the brave, I mean, I remember just last year, you know, we were into a multi million dollar product. So, go through the pretotype, now we spend $200,000, and we still stopped it there because the next set of tests said “Fail.” And so, okay, let’s not go into multi millions. Yes, we’re gonna burn in order of $200,000 right now. But you’ve got to do that because a lot of businesses go, “Oh, well we’re already this far developed. Maybe this test’s not right. Let’s spend another couple of hundred thousand dollars.” You just draw the organisation down. So it’s all this, you know, being smart, knowing “Okay, it’s all right. Thank gosh we found out now. What happens if we found out when we spent all these millions?”

So you know, being been fortunate enough to be exposed to some very influential people like Dr. Astro Teller from Google X, and, you know, some of the senior executives in you know, Silicon Valley, and so on, and just watching the way they think through these things. It gives you a little bit of a sense of comfort. But in all that said, you’ve still got to be brave. To sit in front of like, I remember taking the first iPhone app. You know, we were the second pizza app in the world registered in iTunes. And, and I remember going to the board and everybody you know, some of the biggest retailers in Australia are saying there’s no money in online. And here I am going to my Board, saying we should do this app thing. Which to most executives and most people in the world, it looked like a little bit of a toy. It looked like a fun thing. Where’s the business case here? And you can’t point to a business case. It doesn’t exist. And it’s just the innate thing about, you know, pizza store in my pocket, accessible everywhere, all these friction points we could see, and we were going to solve these friction points with this device.

Kate Joyner 20:19
Well, a lot of the great business ideas, you know, at the time, you know, that the venture capitalists say they look ridiculous, you know, at the onset, so people would stay in your home, you know, like, that’s ridiculous.

Don Meij 20:30

Kate Joyner 20:31
Who would ever do that?

So for the benefit of hindsight, so I suppose at that, at the time, though, that you forget how risky these ventures look.

Don Meij 20:40
I mean, I’m presenting to the Board three years ago, we’re going into robots. We’re not a robot business. We’re a pizza company. But our Kodak moment is automated delivery. And because that’s one of the things that you know, is so disruptive. So how do you get early in that curve? And own or be part of it, rather than you end up being the renter of it? Especially in a place like Australia. I mean, Australia is the biggest risk, where, you know, we need some big companies here to fuel the economy and have all the sub businesses that come off that, you know, we don’t have a Google, an Amazon, an Apple, a Facebook and so on.

Kate Joyner 21:14
Alan Kohler is always going on about that, isn’t it? Oh, and Bernard Salt. Yeah, where are our big companies?

Don Meij 21:18
But the problem is society here keeps pushing out the big companies. And so you know, it doesn’t allow the ecosystems to thrive. And so often these these are built elsewhere. You know, our drone supplier is an Australian. But he’s in, in Reno. But he was, he’s a Sydney boy. But he’s building a business in Reno.

Kate Joyner 21:38
In Reno. So I suppose the listener will want us to ask you about that, which is about, so, the drones. And you did speak about this at QUT. So that the area above the streets and below the flight path? That’s our critical zone.

Don Meij 21:55
Yeah, 150 feet to 350 feet in American because we’re working with American partners here. But that’s the safest place on the planet outside of flight paths, you know, where planes take off, or helicopters take off and outside of high rise buildings in areas. But most of the population, you know, roughly 70% of the population live in deliverable areas, and even high rises will be deliverable in the future as well as these things get faster and smarter. So, but drones isn’t the only answer. It’s an automated delivery thinking. And, you know, the funny thing is people think “Oh, you’re taking away jobs.” And, you know, one of the things that, that I think is one of the most biggest fear mongering is AI, the machines, the robots. And in Domino’s, we look at it differently. We call it co-piloting. So, you know, Tony Stark is incredible when he’s Iron Man. But he still, Iron Man is driven by a human. It’s all the machinery in the machine learning robots. Man and machine.

And so, look, you know, you can only look so far into the future. So we look out on a 20 year zoom out, we say, “What are all the big themes in the 20 year zoom out?” And then we zoom in, and really focus on this year’s projects, to the zoom out. And in that mentality is that, well, if we can make our managers, our team members, our franchise owners, if we can give them co-pilots. You know, pizza checker, which is about to launch, which is an AI camera over the pizza, which rates a pizza live for pass or fail, looks for foreign objects, which could be beef on a vegetarian, all these sort of things which are negatives to the customer. So how, the co-pilot is what we call DomAI. But they’re not, DomAI isn’t there to take away a job, it’s to enhance and make the outcome much better. So we have a whole heap of co-pilot projects, which you know, some of them end up in robotics, but I’m absolutely convinced in the next five to seven years, we’ll employ more humans than we’ve employed. Probably even double the humans. But they will be assisted now, by better, safer processes.

Kate Joyner 23:53
Powered by the drones, and other in-store technology. So we can look forward to that.

Don Meij 23:59
Yeah, it’s exciting.

Kate Joyner 24:01
Yes, it is exciting. Don, I know that you have other places to go. We do have a little final segment. So we just ask something completely off topic. So that, What fascinates you in the world at the moment? Outside the world of pizza, I suppose. And that’s a hard question for most people, because people we get in our interviews, are passionate about something. So it’s hard to say. So have you read something interesting, that excites you, or?

Don Meij 24:26
Something, that is really exciting me, and it’s not directly pizza, but the whole clean food environment where you know, I still want to eat protein because that’s how we’ve been hundreds of thousands of years bred. But now I want a lot more vegetable but now it can be in a protein, or cells that get turned into proteins and the democratisation of food. So, you know, the internal thinking that cows are actually old tech. That you know, we’ll be able to produce very healthy good food, close to the customer, and affordable. You know, why should a million dollar bluefin tuna, you know, why should it cost that in first place? And why are we doing that? You know why? You know, and could that be $5, only 10 or 20 years from now? And so to me the whole fascination, you know, where are brands and companies going to go where, right now there’s machines that you could pour a bottle of Grange Hermitage 1986 through a machine, and it’ll break down the molecular structure and reproduce it from $2 grape juice?

Kate Joyner 25:33
That’s something to look forward to.

Don Meij 25:35
Something to look forward to, the whole democratisation of these sort of things. And so this is going to shift paradigms like there’s, you know, you never seen before about people who live on laurels of legacies, versus what really is creativity, innovation, and the new brands, the vibrant brands, because I’m sure luxury brands will exist, and I’m sure that we will still be chasing the next thing. But those who sit back and just say, well, I’ve got this design, and it happens to be Grange Hermitage and you know, and how am I going to protect that now? And why, by the way, why should it be $2,000 a bottle? Why should it be bluefin tuna? Why should Kobe beef be $250? Why can’t every human being on this planet get access to this sort of food, and then the value creation curve goes upstream to say, the creativity, the arts, you know, these colabs using like, I love it, like I always think of the pointiest ends of the earth happen in luxury brands and so on, and come back out. And you know, these whole things where streetwear brands are driving the next generation, you know, right, and yet the people who are the creators are literally, you know, the democratically maybe came out of the the lowest socio demographics and are now changing the world.

To me, that’s all fascinating. And so I love this whole idea of the… for all the fear, I think the world’s getting more and more democratised. I think we’re going to be challenged by the whole thinking in governments with how blockchain can work in the future. And…

Kate Joyner 27:00
We’re having a blockchain workshop as we speak, underneath on floor four.

Don Meij 27:04
Fantastic. And like, these things, you know, all these paradigms, people think you’re talking about spooky stuff. It’s not spooky stuff. It’s you know, our ability as humans to learn, then learn how to unlearn only to relearn and unlearn and relearn.

Kate Joyner 27:17
Unlearn and relearn. So for for organisational leaders, that’s the challenge. That’s what we exist for in the Business School, I would say, to unlearn and relearn. So on that product placement moment, for Business School, that’s been fascinating. Thank you so much Don. Thank you for coming in. And good luck with reporting to the market next week.

Don Meij 27:36
Thank you. Okay. Thank you.


Dr Kate Joyner is the Interim Director, Corporate Programs and Learning Innovation in the Graduate School of Business, QUT. Kate provides academic leadership for the Public Sector Management Program and delivers executive education in the areas of leadership, systems thinking and strategy. Kate’s speciality is developing leaders and leadership groups for the challenges of the 21st century.

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