Question:  When did you start in with Standards Australia?  If you hadn’t chosen Standards Australia, where do you think your career might have taken you
I came to Standards Australia in January 2006 and have held leadership roles in operations; strategy and stakeholder relations, international and corporate services.   My very first role was to lead a program of modernisation and transformation.  The message from stakeholders at the time was clear in that our role and the value of standards was supported with many dissatisfied with our performance.  We decided we needed to be ‘simpler, faster and better’.   An ongoing transformation and innovation program has been a continuing feature of Standards Australia’s strategic objectives since this time. Today we have an engaged contributor base and a talented and energetic Executive and senior leadership team continuing to drive Standards Australia’s strategic vision of greater reach, relevance and sustainability.  Internationally, Standards Australia is recognised as one of the most innovative and effective standards bodies in the world and we’re very proud of that.  As a strategic change agent, if I hadn’t come to Standards Australia, I imagine I would be doing similar work in an organisation with a great public purpose.
Question:  Tell us about Standards Australia. When was the company established?  In what markets does it operate?
Standards Australia was established in October 1922 and since then, we’ve been working with industry and government to develop and maintain standards that keep all Australian’s safe, help our economy grow and connect Australia to the world. We do this in every sector of the economy.
Question:  In your view, what makes Standards Australia more effective than regulatory bodies?
I wouldn’t say Standards Australia is more effective than regulatory bodies.  We do different jobs.  Ours is to find consensus. Our unique value proposition is the capacity to bring stakeholders together with different and at times conflicting interests to address a public policy or industry need that can’t be or are not best addressed by regulation. Standards Australia facilitates the delivery of consensus technical outcomes that work for the industry stakeholders, the marketplace and the community.  In that sense, regulatory bodies have the same voice at our table as industry and community interests and through this, we are often able to balance tough conversations and build outcomes acceptable to all parties.
Question:  Standards distribution has been subject to change of late. How do you see new arrangements going forward?
We believe that Australia deserves an open standards distribution framework like most other countries in the world. Through 2020 we are looking to open up access and distribution of our content through a range of distribution partners. We’re also looking to make standards more available through different software, apps and platforms ourselves and together with partners. It’s an exciting time for us and we’re leading the world in many of these areas many of which are untested.
Question:  What are the biggest challenges for Standards Australia at this time?
Internally the biggest immediate challenges for Standards Australia are to continue to deliver on improving the core business of standards development by implementing the technical governance review and to effectively manage the execution of the new Distribution and Licencing Policy Framework. Externally the biggest challenge is for Standards Australia is to continue to lift the understanding of our role, work and value with key industry and political policy leaders who often don’t fully appreciate the relationship between Standards Australia and the industry and public policy challenges that they are seeking to address.
Question: Can you tell us a little about yourself?  What are your interests outside of work?
Outside of work my life largely focusses on my family, home life, local community and my sporting interests.  I’m a keen AFL and cricket fan, and support my grandson who is keen on Little Athletics and tennis so these interests keep me busy.  My wife is a travel manager and we enjoy the opportunity to see different parts of Australia and the world when time allows.
Adrian O'Connell - Standards Australia
Member Profile
Adrian_OConnell
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