Service Excellence and Innovation 2020:
Driving Business Value

NEW Format and Structure:
Two day intensive program 23-24 November
Program Director Professor Danny Samson, Melbourne

In 2020, this program will contain sessions clearly outlining the characteristics of innovative organisations, based on practical research conducted by Professor Samson at the University of Melbourne. This will help participants to formulate innovation strategies and capability in their organisations. We will also cover key topics of leadership, managing people and marketing/ sales/ service.

NEW Session/ presentation & discussion:  ADVANCED technology in the built environment.

We will examine the new opportunities and challenges coming into our sector, of big new technology advances such as artificial intelligence, robotics, big data, blockchain and others, with a view to being able to position professional service providers such as consulting engineers to correctly implement some of these in their business strategies and technical futures.  One thing is becoming very apparent already: ignore them at your peril!

Program information

Service Excellence and Innovation 2020 addresses the core issue for engineers, architects and other technical professionals: how to create additional value for clients, and therefore drive the volume and price of professional services up for your firm/department. In many other industries, leading companies have found ways to break out of their traditional constraints and turn 'ordinary' businesses into extra-ordinary value-creating organisations. There is no reason why astute consultants cannot achieve this. We will feature in our studies and discussions, companies that ‘stand out’ from which we can learn and then apply core principles that work.

On top of the business fundamentals of acute customer focus, powerful business strategies, process and operational excellence and staff participation with high levels of commitment and motivation, these industry leaders have implemented management systems and principles that have taken them ahead of the pack. Our program will provide participants with a very clear view of the principles behind that success, and a framework to assess their organisations against these principles, so that business improvement and innovation initiatives can be identified and implemented.


Program value and design

Since 1986, this program has been conducted annually, with over 1800 professionals having attended. They have evaluated the program on average as having a numerical score of 4.7 on a five point scale of 1 (low value) to 5 (very high value). We have also conducted parts of the program ‘in-house’, within a number of firms, with similar positive results.

This year's program is significantly redesigned, shortened (to two days) and focused on core elements of leadership, strategy and management of people, clients/ marketing and quality and innovation.

While the fundamentals of sound management are still covered, the program will quickly move through each topic to the core 'value' issues facing professional service firms, in the context of the built and natural environment.

All participants will receive a copy of Professor Samson’s new 2020 book, “Strategic Leadership”, co-authored with Don Argus (ex CEO of NAB and Chairman of BHP and Brambles), including chapters on business strategy, leadership, CSR and business governance.

Past Particpants from the course have commentated:

“Thanks for such an informative and thought provoking program. It was great to get an alternative insight into topics that I’ve had a strong interest in, and been a strong advocate for in our own business. It was reassuring to hear from an expert on similar things that we have spoken of and prioritised ourselves. I gained a great deal from the program, and will utilise much of the content into different aspects of the organisation”.  Arthur Psaltis, CEO, Pritchard Francis.

“Thank-you for a thought-provoking and informative last 2 days during your program. The information that you provided was very relevant to our business and the group discussion that you encouraged provided an insight into how others were doing things.  Thanks again".  Chris Strachotta, Director Business Development, Associate, KlohnCrippen Berger.

Key topics

  • the core elements of business success for a professional services business. 
  • the marketing and sales imperative. 
  • every participant’s personal leadership development opportunity
  • core principles of business excellence and ‘business improvement strategy’
  • innovation capability and strategy in professional services
  • managing people and teams for effectiveness and contribution

Program Director

Prof. Danny Samson holds degrees in both engineering and management. He has worked as an engineer in the chemical industry and as a professor of management at the University of Melbourne for over a decade. He has wide, international experience in a range of primary, manufacturing and service industries, in which he has been a researcher, consultant and director. He has written and edited many books including ‘Management; and most recently ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship’. 
All registrations $2,900 excluding GST
The fee includes full residential costs, meals and comprehensive materials.

Dates and location

23 - 24 November, 2020 
Melbourne University Business School 
200 Leicester St Carlton, Melbourne.

Registration and more information 

For more information on the Professional Services Excellence course please contact:

Professor Daniel Samson on (03) 8344 5344 or email