Medibank – Championing continuous improvement and innovation

Organisational Health

In 2002 Medibank Private recorded a $175 million deficit resulting in the appointment of a new Managing Director, George Savvides. Apricot’s CEO and founder Derek Linsell was appointed continuous improvement and innovation advocate.

Apricot’s organizational development consulting

Culture is the norms, thinking and behaviors of a group of people. Apricot works with organizations to create cohesive, supportive and agile work cultures which foster innovation and adapt to changes in the marketplace, strategic direction and structural changes.

Innovative steps

Derek developed a program of staff consultation in order to change workplace culture, improve morale and identify innovative ideas. He recognized the deep business knowledge of operational staff and their potential to contribute to improving Medibank’s performance.

A network of Quality Action Teams was formed, comprising 20 teams and involving 200 employees. Each team was given the goal of identifying waste and process inefficiencies and delivering improvement initiatives. The teams presented their ideas to Medibank executives who undertook to make a decision on the spot in relation to each proposal presented.

By engaging its employees Medibank created an organizational culture focused on quality and continuous improvement which helped foster innovative thinking across all levels of the business and a sense of staff ownership toward the company. At the same time the initiatives improved the company’s bottom line, through waste reduction and process re-engineering.


The initiatives identified by the Quality Action Teams were estimated to realize business savings of over $12 million. Staff identified over 90 business issues with scope for quality improvements and cost savings. Significant business and service improvements were achieved, including improving the processes for membership card fulfilment, payroll premium deductions, benefit claim processing and the development of a new product – pet insurance.