About the Impact Innovation Group

The Impact Innovation Group is a specialist innovation, technology commercialisation and start-up management consulting firm.

 

 

Our Story

Managing Director Brian Ruddle formed the company in 2006 to help start-up companies turn ideas into income and to support inventors wanting to see their technologies transform industries and applications. Drawing on substantial experience working in both research organisations and private enterprise, the Impact Innovation Group has since strengthened and expanded its network to connect innovators with entrepreneurs. The company also supports SMEs, large and multinational organisations, government agencies, not for profit organisations, and industry associations.

In 2013, the Impact Innovation Group formalised its association with business advisory firm Moore Stephens (now owned by Crowe Horwath). That same year the company became the exclusive Australasian licensee of Brightidea, a US-based company with an innovation software platform designed to help organisations, from SMEs to global corporations, integrate innovation powerfully into their operations.

Impact Innovation Group introduced the InnoModules platform in 2014, comprising a range of tools and systems that build capacity in organisations to boost commercialisation and innovation outcomes. In 2015 a technology scouting platform called Enterprise Access was launched which, for the first time, enabled innovation seekers to discover Australia’s emerging technology potential in one place. Also in 2015, the Impact Innovation Group won the contract to design and deliver the Innovate Queensland program, an innovation skills and collaboration development initiative to reposition and enhance the State’s capacity, capability and confidence for innovation and technology commercialisation-led growth. The Impact Innovation Group is now a leading innovation and technology commercialisation company providing effective practical solutions across Australia and the world.

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Sector Experience

The Impact Innovation Group has successfully delivered commercialisation, intellectual property and innovation management advice, services and training across key projects in such sectors as: SectorIcons



Our People

Brian Ruddle Managing Director Brian formed the Impact Innovation Group in 2006 to serve an unmet need for independent specialist commercialisation services. He has since helped form four start-up companies based on university technologies, which have raised between $450,000 and $2 million in seed rounds. He has also negotiated licence agreements with Australian and international companies, assisted SMEs with developing commercialisation strategies for new products and services, and brought to fruition the Enterprise Access platform to overcome inherent difficulties in commercialising new technologies and fostering the collaboration to accelerate the process. Brian provides part-time CEO expertise for technology start-up companies and currently holds this position with Nexgen Plants (a VC-backed plant virus resistance company) and NeoRehab, a telehealth solutions company for physiotherapy, speech pathology, audiology and occupational therapy. He also provides innovation strategy, innovation management and technology commercialisation consulting services across a range of sectors, including mining, education, ICT, agriculture, biotech, materials, medical devices and service sectors.

Dr Cherie van Wensveen Innovation Manager Cherie is an Intellectual Property Specialist with over 11 years’ experience, including six years in innovation and commercialisation management. Her more recent and commercial roles have involved developing and implementing commercialisation management plans based upon sound IP strategy, R&D project prioritisation and pipeline management, and internal resource allocation. Her approach has been to enable successful commercialisation through alignment of the innovation strategy with desired business outcomes. Her previous roles have also involved identifying and evaluating potential innovation and investment opportunities for target companies across the globe. Cherie is a registered Patent and Trade Marks attorney, and an active member of the Licensing Executives Society of Australia and New Zealand, the Institute of Patent & Trade Marks Attorneys, and the American Chemical Society. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, and a PhD in Hydrometallurgy from Murdoch University, and a Masters of Intellectual Property Law from the University of Melbourne.

Dr Luke Holtham Innovation & Commercialisation Strategist Luke Holtham is a unique problem solver who combines his scientific training with entrepreneurial thinking and business acumen to deliver practical solutions for clients. He has 10 years’ experience in research and technology commercialisation in biopharmaceuticals, agriculture, renewable energy, food, and information technology. As well as starting up two high tech companies, Luke has developed significant expertise in technology commercialisation, intellectual property management, start-up formation, strategic planning, capital raising, contract management and negotiation. Before joining Impact Innovation Group he applied these skills at Australia’s leading university research commercialisation company, UniQuest, injecting new thinking for commercialising technologies that will bring in several millions of dollars for The University of Queensland over time. Luke brings all these skills to Impact Innovation Group to develop strategies for clients who are keen to innovate and commercialise new technologies for growing in an ever-changing market landscape.

John A. Mathew Project Coordinator John’s background in biomedical research and pharmacology prompted his becoming a biotechnology doctoral student with The University of Queensland, majoring in innovation and commercialisation. The focus of John’s thesis has been understanding and analysing the process of crowdfunding and applying its potential in Australia. His approach to crowdfunding has created tangible value for Australian companies at all stages of the commercialisation process. After five years of working in public health and technology, John has amassed experience in patient care, hospital administration, clinical data management, administrative protocol and developing commercialisation pathways for medical devices and technologies. With his experience in the public health and biotechnology sectors and his research into crowdfunding, John brings a comprehensive understanding of both governmental processes and the need for innovation to sustain growth.

Cameron Johns Innovation Manager Cameron develops strategies for meeting the rapidly changing marketplace for all Australian enterprises at all stages of the business life-cycle. He has specialist skills in the execution of turn-around or realignment projects as well as capitalising on new markets or ideas.
Over 20+ years as an innovation practitioner, Cameron has helped numerous inventors, start-ups and SMEs with business model development and capital raising. He has also facilitated collaborations between research organisations industry; and empowered not-for-profits to generate commercial success and sustainability. He has managed and piloted programs centred on innovation, advanced manufacturing, science, and technology to drive regional and national economic growth, for Australian and international development outcomes. His network across state and federal governments has led to delivering programs on small business, innovation, and commercialisation. Cameron’s experience includes senior executive appointments, board memberships, business ownership and start-up director roles.

Alexandra Connors Project Coordinator Alexandra specialised in Sustainability when completing her Bachelor of Business Management at The University of Queensland. Her dynamic communication and people skills reflect a strong customer service management background in the telecommunications sector. She combines her natural ability to adapt and relate to people of all ages and interests with a wide range of sales knowledge, delivering quality and assurance to a dedicated client base. Alexandra has more than five years of administration and support service experience in delivering effective project management. Her highly evolved team management skills make Alexandra an integral part of the Impact Innovation Group team. Alexandra brings an enthusiastic approach and an all-inclusive understanding of financial, social and natural environment aspects of a firm’s activities to achieve sustainable and innovative outcomes. Alexandra aspires to be a well-regarded and committed strategic management consultant, launching her career with one of Australia’s leading innovation consultancies.

Leanne Wyvill Senior Associate Leanne is the founder and lead trainer of Presence Communications, a specialist corporate communications training and services consultancy for the innovation and technology transfer sector as well as government and SME clients. Leanne supports Impact Innovation Group’s marketing of commercialisation services, innovation programs, and client ventures. Her expertise in this sector was honed whilst working for UniQuest, The University of Queensland’s main research commercialisation company. She still liaises with University of Queensland researchers on behalf of its Office of Marketing and Communications and various schools, faculties, centres and institutes, to promote their scientific discoveries, many of which have commercial applications. Leanne is a member of Firestation 101, the Ipswich innovation hub. She is also a regular poster and participant on numerous LinkedIn groups, including GRID, Life Sciences Queensland, Ausbiotech, Women in Technology, Australian Association of Angel Investors, KCA, Australian Institute of Commercialisation, ilab Accelerator, Queensland Science Communicators Network, Training and Learning Australia and Brisbane HR Professionals.

Des Baker Senior Associate Des has provided strategic planning, marketing (research, customer insight, brand positioning and new product development) and operational consulting services to start-up and established companies since 1994. His career has taken him around the globe, including to the USA, Canada, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, the UK, Italy, Germany, Singapore, and New Zealand. Des has a diverse background that includes: managing start-up companies; developing and implementing commercialisation strategy for new technologies; and strategic planning for local and international development projects across energy (conventional, renewable and efficiency), ecommerce, natural resource management and agribusiness (food and fibre) sectors. As a member of Accelerating Commercialisation’s Expert Network, Des also provides innovation strategy, innovation management and technology commercialisation consulting services across a range of other sectors. With Impact Innovation Group, he helps clients enact their growth agenda by identifying, structuring and incubating ideas for new and existing businesses and markets.

Dr Lewis Atkinson Senior Associate Lewe is a unique innovation and design-thinking professional and international Strategic Management facilitator. He has 30 years’ experience in knowledge production and transfer through both commercial and public-good innovation pathways to market. He started his boundary-spanning career in FMCG operations, planning and research with Unifoods Australia. In 1993 he became Research and Information Services Manager for Australian Meat Technology Pty Ltd, a CSIRO technology start-up and management consulting company. He joined a team that started a new industry-owned innovation and marketing services company – Meat and Livestock Australia Ltd – where he has held several senior executive positions over the past 16 years. Lewe’s solid technical and financial grounding, combined with a strong creative side, enables him to see patterns, pathways, and solutions that others often miss. He works with clients all over Australia facilitating and consulting in Strategic Planning & Management, Innovation, Cross-boundary Collaboration and Research Leadership Development.

Steve Brady Senior Associate Steve made the decision over 15 years ago to address the unmet needs of many Australian businesses – giving them access to qualified, specialist innovation, commercialisation and entrepreneurial services that ultimately added value, increase productivity, highlight competitiveness and provide national economic benefit. He has since assisted hundreds of Australian and international innovators, start-ups, early stage companies, research organisations, federal and state government departments, industry associations and large companies to understand and transition through their innovation and commercialisation paths. This includes helping them raise funds from competitive government grants, venture capitalists, private investors and via ASX IPO. He has worked with companies across diverse industries and sectors to develop and execute commercialisation strategies for new products, services and technologies. Bridging the government and commercial sectors, Steve has also negotiated and facilitated trade sales, distribution and licence agreements, and collaborative joint ventures for such initiatives as (re)innovation, Women in Business, and Young Entrepreneurs Stepping Up workshops and programs with industry partners.

Scott Brown Senior Associate Scott’s corporate exposure, success in the small business sector and his passion for small to medium enterprises, provides a broad foundation from which to advise, support or lead organisations looking to develop, innovate, grow or prosper. He has invented, created, built, developed and commercialised businesses, prospects, business models and brands across a range of industry sectors nationally and globally over the past 30 years. Scott’s technical qualifications and leadership experience spans such industry sectors as mining and resources, architectural design and town planning, construction, retail sales and marketing, education/training, horticulture, water/hydrology, earth sciences, sustainability, business management and strategy consulting, business broking, mergers and acquisitions, and innovation and entrepreneurial ventures. He provides interim or part-time CEO expertise for start-up, early-stage or established companies in such sectors as app-tech, digital business sales, M&A, ICT, importing, manufacturing, tourism/recreation, and retail. He has helped launch significant start-up entities, and raised millions of dollars in seed and PE capital through multiple source channels. Scott is a member and graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Matthew Nelson Senior Associate Matthew has worked as a lead designer managing all aspects of product development: from market and user research, concept development, computer aided drafting and manufacture, rapid prototyping, testing and certification, parts and manufacturing (both procurement and sourcing), marketing and procedures, to life-cycle testing and feedback analysis. This experience has allowed him to form international relationships, and strengthen his understanding of Chinese collaboration. Matthew was accepted into MA Innovation Management at University of the Arts London. His thesis outlined a framework to allow communities of innovation to emerge through various forms of communication, the key environmental factor for continued success. Matthew focused on group creativity, creative psychology, social innovation and convening communities to best leverage the mass of opportunities in China, Australia and the UK. He leverages systems and processes that will allow for faster incremental and more radical innovations to emerge. Matthew is strategically based in Xiamen an emerging capital for design in China.

Dr Simon Cashion Senior Associate Simon has more than 15 years’ experience in the academic, commercial and industrial research industrial sectors. He joined the Impact Innovation Group after working with the Australian Water Recycling centre of Excellence as a Manager of Research and Commercial Development. Simon developed his expertise in project management, contract drafting and negotiation, business development, financial and strategic planning, capital raising, commercialisation and intellectual property management whilst working with UniQuest, The University of Queensland’s main research commercialisation company. As Technical Manager for Australian Magnesium Technologies—Europe, Simon was responsible for Original Equipment Manufacturers and Tier 1 technology development with a customer base throughout Germany and Scandinavia. Simon is an authorised Australian Financial Services Licence representative and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Simon completed a Bachelor of Science at the University of Tasmania with a double major in Chemistry and Mathematics, and a PhD in Materials Engineering at The University of Queensland.

Suzy Roden Senior Associate Suzy is a trusted consultant, coach and facilitator to top 100 ASX companies, government and entrepreneurial businesses. Her passion is creating innovative, high-performing, customer-focused organisational cultures, with a strong focus on developing strategic, authentic leaders. Suzy partners with colleagues and clients to develop customised programs around interdependent business drivers such as leadership, cultural architecture, innovation and entrepreneurship, strategy and execution, team and talent, customer experience and organisational design. Suzy has worked with a wide range of public and private organisations, and industries across Australia, including mining and related services, education and training, construction and engineering, health, retail, associations, and government. She consulted at the Centre for the Development of Entrepreneurs (Graduate School of Management, UQ) and with UniQuest. Suzy is an accredited consultant and author or co-author for several people and organisational diagnostic tools, including one that builds balanced start up teams recently used successfully at MIT’s Entrepreneurship Boot Camp (Cambridge USA).


The Impact Innovation Group provides the corporate rigour that many of our early stage ventures require. They provide the timely, on-demand inputs that assist us to achieve our capital raising and licensing objectives.

Dr Dean Moss CEO
UniQuest Pty Limited
The Targeted Innovation Management System delivered outstanding innovations that have been simple to implement, while enhancing our bottom-line.

Ryan Clerihew NuChem Pty Ltd
The ongoing support of the Impact Innovation Group in engaging with industry across a range of robotic, motion sensor and nano technologies has greatly enhanced our commercialisation efforts.

Gary Heyden Former Director of Deakin Research Commercial
The Impact Innovation Group’s structured approach to innovation greatly assisted our grant application with Commercialisation Australia as well as the ongoing implementation of our business strategy.

Clint Ramsay Director of NeoRehab Pty Ltd
As an investor, your approach to identifying ideas to ‘bypass bottlenecks’ is a refreshing change.

Peter Riikonen Director of BioHerbicides Australia Pty Ltd
Brian was a guest speaker at one of our client events. His presentation resonated with our audience and attracted a very high satisfaction rating when we polled guests afterwards, especially for his delivery style and solid grounding in the topic of maximising the return on innovation investment.

Ross Patane Managing Partner, Crowe Horwath Australia

Email enquiry
Brisbane + 61 (0)7 3041 1128
Sydney + 61 (0)2 8078 6934
Melbourne + 61 (0)3 8618 6998
Adelaide + 61 (0)8 8180 0610
Xiamen + 86 151 600 60 660