Innovation core to Navy business

Published on LEUT Todd Austin (author), LSIS Lee-Anne Mack (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Stirling

Topic(s): Plan Pelorus, Innovation

Plan Pelorus round table discussion in the conference room of the Command Building at HMAS Stirling. (photo: LSIS Lee-Anne Mack)
Plan Pelorus round table discussion in the conference room of the Command Building at HMAS Stirling.

As part of a recent trip to HMAS Stirling, Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett held a roundtable discussion on innovation with sailors and officers.

The roundtable included Warrant Officer of the Navy Martin Holzberger and representatives from the Anzac Systems Program Office, the Submarine Training Centre, Western Australian based ships and the Submarine Force.

Following on from his release of Plan Pelorus in April this year, Vice Admiral Barrett has challenged Navy people of every rank to understand their role in the plan and also to re-examine the way they do business.

“We need to show the we, collectively as a Navy at all levels are serious about implementing innovation through Plan Pelorus and we continue to push forward," Vice Admiral Barrett said.

Stirling personnel discussed challenges that are occurring in their particular workplaces, and how they have used innovation to overcome some of these challenges.

Director Anzac System Program Office, Captain Rachel Durbin, CSC, RAN, in the conference room of the Command Building at HMAS Stirling following a Plan Pelorus round table discussion.

Director Anzac System Program Office, Captain Rachel Durbin, CSC, RAN, in the conference room of the Command Building at HMAS Stirling following a Plan Pelorus round table discussion.


Engineer, Captain Rachel Dubin, from the Anzac Systems Program Office was one of the participants.

Innovation is the use of creativity in problem solving. It focuses on achieving outstanding results.

CAPT Rachel Durbin, CSC, RAN

The Chief of Navy discussed examples of innovation that have already been put into effect, such as collaboration with the Australian Border Force on the lease of the patrol vessel ADV Cape Byron which will be manned by Navy personnel. He also explained how the modifications to the Armidale class patrol boat crewing method were established through engaging the current crews and devising a better way of doing things.

“We need to develop our people to understand that ‘it’s too hard’ is not an outcome that we strive for - flexibility and agility are elements that drive innovation,” Vice Admiral Barrett said.

“Flexibility means you can’t just come to work and do the same thing, flexibility means agility.

“You solve a different set of problems every day - that’s a message we need to get out.”

Training Facilitator from Submarine Training Systems Centre, Able Seaman James Neylon in the conference room of the Command Building at HMAS Stirling following a Plan Pelorus round table discussion.

Training Facilitator from Submarine Training Systems Centre, Able Seaman James Neylon in the conference room of the Command Building at HMAS Stirling following a Plan Pelorus round table discussion.


Able Seaman Acoustic Warfare Analyst Submariner James Neylon, Submarine Qualification Team Qualification Coordinator, said innovation was about changing perspective.

Innovation is being able to change the way we think, act and work. Allowing ourselves to be more creative and resourceful in our approach in overcoming obstacles, big or small.

ABAWASM James Neylon

In closing the workshop, Vice Admiral Barrett reinforced that development and implementation of innovation is not just talk, it is happening throughout the Navy today.

“All of us need to be engaged, all us need to be empowered to be able to think; ‘this is a great idea, this will help my department, this will help Navy as a whole’ and have the courage to put new ideas into effect,” Vice Admiral Barrett said.

Chief of Navy released Plan Pelorus in April this year to outline his strategic intent for a Navy that by 2018 can generate and deploy self-supported and sustainable maritime task groups.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20152163.