Our Story

Organisations need internal experts who can make smart technology decisions


of SMEs feel they lack digital capabilities


of SMEs feel they lack clarity on the ROI of digital


of SMEs struggle with managing employee change

The idea

The Digital Champions Club story started back in 2015 when the program’s founder, Simon Waller, was consulting to a number of SMEs on various digital transformation initiatives. With a background in business improvement, strategy, leadership and technology, Simon was regularly being asked by organisations to help them identify value adding technology opportunities and then working with them to implement solutions.

The outsourced expert approach, whether it be consultants or IT services has been the de facto way for many SMEs to approach digital transformation. But Simon realised that in a period of accelerating change this approach had its limitations.

He identified four key issues with the outsourced approach.

  1. Intimacy. Unless external experts are deeply embedded in the organisation they will never truly understand the real needs of the people in it. As a result, they are likely to deliver ‘cookie cutter’ solutions that aren’t the best fit (though they might try and dress this up as ‘best practice’).
  2. Time. When we engage consultants or outsource IT, time is the defining factor of cost. As such, we generally only engage external experts for the minimum time required. Consequently, there is limited capacity for them to identify and deliver on opportunities outside the defined scope of work.
  3. Consistency. When an external expert leaves, their knowledge, and the momentum around change, often leave with them. The likely outcome of which is nothing else will happen until they are asked to come back again.
  4. Cost. Outsourced staff  cost more per hour than internal employees. Although there is often a requirement for some expert knowledge, you are often paying expert rates for work that your own staff could do. As technology becomes more pervasive this cost is only going to go up.

What organisations really needed were internal experts who could drive digital transformation projects. Individuals skilled up and supported to not only make smart technology decisions but to take a hands on approach to implementing solutions.

Thankfully, three of Simon’s clients agreed and in 2015 Simon started working on a program that would eventually become the Digital Champions Club.

The first bootcamp

Over the next six months Simon started looking at different learning communities to find out what characteristics made them successful. He identified three core principles that become the foundation of the Digital Champions Club.

Continuous learning. In a world of rapid change the status quo is no longer the status quo. The only way to keep up is to learn continuously.

Commitment to action. Everything you hear, see and read is theory, you only ever really learn by getting hands on and doing something.

Share openly. People will always learn faster if they learn together. By sharing openly you can replicate successes and avoid others’ mistakes.

The program officially came into being on the first Friday in March, 2016. On that day the first six digital champions from three organisations across three states flew in to Melbourne for the first ever Digital Champions bootcamp.

The first ever Digital Champions bootcamp

The Digital Champion book

The Digital Champion book

Following the first bootcamp Simon realised that he needed to capture on paper the methods and ideas that were otherwise floating around in his head.

So between speaking engagements on a 10 day work trip to Malaysia, he wrote the first draft of The Digital Champion: Connecting the Dots Between People, Work and Technology. By the second bootcamp in June, the first printed copies were in the hands of the champions.

If you’re interested in obtaining a copy, please click the following link below (it will take you to another website so please make sure you come back when your done). If on the other hand you want to read more about the program, please read on.

The Community Grows

Since the beginning of 2016 the program has grown rapidly. As of writing this, there are now more than 15 member organisations with nearly 30 digital champions enrolled in the program.

To help ensure all the member organisations are adequately supported, the number of coaching staff has also grown over time. Firstly with the addition of Kate Fuelling at the beginning of 2017 and then with the addition of Gabe Alves six months later. In addition the Club has had over thirty industry experts come and share their knowledge with the digital champions community.

To cater for the Club’s growth and to ensure members get the best possible learning experience the quarterly bootcamp is also now live streamed between digital champions events held simultaneously on both the east and west coasts of Australia.

Where to next?

The digital champions program is in constant beta, evolving in line with the needs of its members. For some of our second and third year members this has meant developing their digital champions as internal mentors to support others in their organisation, for others it has meant focusing on bigger, more valuable projects.

But over the long term the strength of the program ultimately comes down to the quality and commitment of its members. We are always looking for organisations interested in being part of a genuinely collaborative digital transformation program. If that sounds like your organisation, we hope you will get in touch.