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From Innovation Theatre to Disruption with Sportsbet's Head of Innovation, Leslie Barry

From Innovation Theatre to Disruption with Sportsbet's Head of Innovation, Leslie Barry
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From Innovation Theatre to Disruption with Sportsbet's Head of Innovation, Leslie Barry

Leslie Barry is currently the head of innovation at Sportsbet, Australia’s largest online bookmaker with $117M operating profit / 79.4 million pounds in 2015.

He was previously the head of innovation at Thoughtworks Australia, was the General Manager of Professional Services at Dimension Data Australia and has also founded several companies including Exertack, a health and fitness tracking business acquired by Techstars alumni Gyminee in 2008 and GetViable, an an online innovation platform sold to Hong Kong based BigColors in 2011.

He is an advisor to several startups including Scanned, CrowdsourceHire, he mentors this year’s intake at the Slingshot startup accelerator and also maintains a personal journal of his innovation journey at

I’ve had the opportunity to meet with hundreds of innovation managers across a range of companies and speak with countless thought leaders on the topic, and Leslie is one guy who just gets it. To put it simply, Leslie avoids innovation theatre at all costs and has very little appetite for bullshit.

In his brief time at Sportsbet he has already had a profound impact on the way the company approaches innovation, culminating recently with the ideation, design,  development and release of a product in just 12 weeks - unheard of in the company previously.

What makes it all the more impressive is that in 2015 Sportsbet’s revenues grew by 54% so navigating internal politics, when things are rosy and stakeholders might see little reason, on the surface, to change the way they do things.

As you will all know if you’ve listened to this show before, I am a massive advocate for the benefits of health and fitness, of both body and mind, on productivity, and we’ll also dive into Leslie’s approach to staying on top of his game.

Topics discussed:

  • AI and the threat of human extinction
  • Why an organisation like Sportsbet needs to innovate
  • How to get buy-in from senior stakeholders and IT
  • How to avoid innovation theatre
  • Why Leslie says he won't have a job at Sportsbet in 2 years
  • How to effectively partner with startups
  • Leslie's 'fail button'
  • What excites Leslie about the next ten years in tech

Show notes: 

Leslie's Twitter - @lesliecbarry

Leslie's Blog -

Leslie's Linkedin -

Sportsbet's e-sports experiment -

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Listen on Stitcher:

If you've got any questions on this podcast feel free to send an email to or tweet me on Twitter @steveglaveski or @future_squared

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To help you avoid stepping into these all too common pitfalls, we’ve reflected on our five years as an organization working on corporate innovation programs across the globe, and have prepared 100 DOs and DON’Ts.

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Steve Glaveski

Steve Glaveski is the CEO and Co-Founder of Collective Campus which he established to help companies and their employees to create a more meaningful impact in the world in an age of rapid change and increasing uncertainty. Steve also founded Lemonade Stand - a children's entrepreneurship program, author of Wiley book, Employee to Entrepreneur: How to Earn Your Freedom and do Work That Matters, Harvard Business Review contributor, author of the Innovation Manager's Handbook vol 1 and 2, host of the Future Squared podcast, and keynote speaker. He previously founded HOTDESK, an office sharing platform and has worked for the likes of Westpac, Dun & Bradstreet, the Victorian Auditor General's Office, Ernst & Young, KPMG and Macquarie Bank. Follow him at @steveglaveski

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