Hover’s Jackie Dujmovic: Getting Started, Staying In, and Moving Forward in the Drone Industry

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image: Hover UAV

We had the opportunity to listen to Jackie Dujmovic, President of the Australian drone systems specialists Hover, at Interdrone last week.  This is one we had to share – an inspiring story of starting Hover as a new mom, and growing to the top of the industry.  Dujmovic has some heartfelt advice about getting into the drone space: and offers some practical home truths about staying there.  (Presentation content used with express permission.)

Surviving in the Industry: Be Ready for These Challenges

There are some real challenges facing drone services companies, but companies ready to meet them will thrive:

  • COMPLEXITY – Managing drone fleets and pilots can be quite complex. Complexity can get in the way of you doing great things.

  • SKILLS – Does your crew have the required skills to get the job done?

  • EFFICIENCY – Are you getting the most out of your drone program? How do you know if you are being efficient?,

  • ADAPTABILITY – Drone technology and legislation is constantly changing. How do you prepare for this and keep current?

  • GROWTH – Your fleet of drones and crew is going to grow. Are you prepared?

  • RISK – Companies utilizing drones are effectively becoming aviation companies, with inherent risks in aviation that need management and cultural change.

Meeting those challenges, however, isn’t Dujmovic’s main point.  Beyond just running a business, Dujmovic wants to make a real contribution to the world – and her personal philosophy plays a major role in Hover’s success.

Swimming With the Sharks

One of Hover’s many success stories – and one that may materially help thousands of Australians – is in using drones to help keep track of sharks on some of Australia’s more than 11,000 beaches.  Hover is successfully demonstrating the use of drones as a non-lethal shark mitigation technique.  It’s a primary example of one of Dujmovic’s primary points: do what you love… passion is everything.  With a passion for conservation, Hover set out to apply drones to a major environmental problem for Australians.  “Going to the beach is such a major part of life for Australians,” says Dujmovic.  And working with a volunteer army of drone operators, Hover is making an impact on that experience.

That’s Dujmovic’s second point: Innovation is Change, and Adds Value.  Make an Impact.  Dujmovic has built Hover to a team of 18 and growing around that principle, carefully building and managing the company to support out of the box thinking and a willingness to stretch the boundaries of what’s possible.  Driving change, Dujmovic points out, also means a willingness to accept failure and take chances.

This means implementing specific tactics in the company culture, says Dujmovic.  “How do you tolerate failure?  How to you encourage the next level of people to champion their ideas?”  As a logical follow through on innovation, companies also need to address how to ensure that testing happens – and perhaps most importantly, how to create “a mindset of change.”

Finally, Dujmovic says that companies in the drone space must think of how they are contributing to driving the industry forward.  In order to keep moving ahead, leaders must be asking these 3 questions: “What must I keep doing?”  “What must I stop doing?” and “What must I start doing?”




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