Meet David Hughes, Nous House Melbourne member and a highly accomplished senior executive. David’s extensive experience encompasses leadership, change management, strategic development, business maximization and customer centric strategy…to name a few! David is a long term Nous House member, and now Nous Group associate.
How did you begin your career?
I started out studying business and majoring in tourism while working part-time at Qantas. My initial roles were diverse, across different disciplines, and then developed into senior management at Qantas. Later, I was working with HelloWorld, a large travel group specialising in retail, wholesale and the corporate space.
My time at HelloWorld was invaluable. It was there it became evident that value wasn’t being transferred fairly in negotiations, and what was at the time in place weren’t true partnerships.
When did you decide to go out on your own?
After HelloWorld, I set out on my own. Something I never intended but have thoroughly enjoyed. As a consultant I’ve found myself working with start-ups through to large corporates. With start-ups I mostly work to help guide their thinking. I work with them to refine several ideas or concepts into a list of the most meaningful components to pitch for funding.
I’m also working with large organisations, such as a global travel business specialising in corporate travel. For that client, I have been working to develop a strategic approach for their response to the current trend toward consolidation of regional and global businesses.
Any other interesting projects you are working on?
I’m working with a client in capability and customer centricity. We’re considering how those two topics interlink, and how that fits within their business strategy. I often find that people are planning strategy in isolation of the capability of the broader business, which results in a lack of customer centricity. I work to turn that around.
In your view, what is a current hot topic in the business space?
From a digital and strategy perspective there is so much hype around artificial intelligence and machine learning. It’s so much more than just how you can make your lights come on at home! I really believe that over the next two to five years AI will completely transform our approach to work. It will make many jobs disappear, as well as create jobs that have never before existed.
What piece of advice would you give to others?
My advice to others is that regardless of what space you are in; large organisations, generic providers and start-ups, find out where you fit, embrace it and run with it. Even if it means taking some risk.
How has the Nous House co-working environment influenced your work or even the way you work?
Being at Nous House is great. I might be in the kitchen and then find myself engaging with ‘Nousers’, Nous Group consultants. Exchanges like, “I’ve got a real problem with this and we don’t know where to go”, may lead into a casual discussion or even at times a project. You never know.
In addition, there is the huge brains trust in Nous that I can tap into if/when needed.
In terms of my fellow members or Housers, I really enjoy that there are businesses here working across a range of specialisations. Consequently, the conversations can really vary.
For example, I was speaking with a fellow Houser who had initially abandoned an idea, however within 10 minutes of talking it through the idea was reinstated. I was able to broach the topic in a way that was relatable, and I think that interchange really adds value to the conversations at Nous House.