Day two at National Conference — Everyone has a role to play in disruption. What’s yours?

Panel of speakers on day two of the conference

What an incredible two days with over 450 knowledge-thirsty attendees and the highest calibre of content experts — our most successful National Conference ever!

The opening evening’s cocktail party did not affect the pace of the second day; rather I think it reinforced the new energy of the National Conference.

We had another early morning start with our Members’ Only Networking Breakfast, where we heard from Jan Owen AM, Chief Executive Officer, Foundation for Young Australians. Jan is a pioneer of Australian youth whose insights on Young Australians — emerging innovators and disrupters of tomorrow is invaluable. She challenged us to think about the new work order and our collective commitment to the next generation of business leaders. A rousing call on a day on which we were set to discuss the trajectory of innovation going forward.

And then it was time! The one we had all been waiting for — a special session on the King IV Report from the Rockstar of Governance, Prof Mervyn King, Senior Counsel and former Judge of the Supreme Court, South Africa. Professor King had spent all of the opening day with us, taking the time to speak with (and in many cases pose for photos with!) every single person that engaged with him. Believe me there were many.

In a masterful account of the evolution of principles of value creation, Professor King laid out the critical drivers for change in the 21st century, where value is no longer seen solely through a financial lens, but is seen through a sustainable lens in a resource deprived world. He spoke about how financial reporting and sustainable reporting must be integrated as a means of communicating value. Organisations rely on a variety of resources and relationships for their success – financial, manufactured, human, intellectual, natural and social. These resources and relationships are the organisation’s prime capital. The vision is for a company-centric governance model, which moves away from yesterday’s primacy of the shareholder. It needs to be implemented mindfully to achieve the four outcomes of effective leadership, value creation, adequate controls and legitimacy of operations.

Continuing our theme of disruption, we heard from Karen Lawson, Chief Executive Officer, Slingshot, Kyle Loades, Former President & Chairman, NRMA, and Philip Slade, Managing Partner, Decida on Growing responsibly while disrupting from within. Boards need to articulate what innovation really means. Consider your opportunity statement, as importantly as your risk management statement.

Accelerators are a great way to fast track innovation by teaming with smaller innovators. To make it work you need genuine intent from the leadership team, an engaged steering committee and company buy in and motivation without your employees feeling threatened.

After morning tea, we continued with our fast-paced concurrent sessions — which gave our delegates the chance to attend the sessions that matter most to their role and organisation.

I attended the leadership session, with Lynda Petrovski, Managing Director, Global Partnerships Executive Solutions and George Nelson, Chief Executive Officer, Opportunity Logistics. They delivered an engrossing session on how an individual’s level of behavioural innovation can impact the board’s ability to navigate emergent forces and drive enterprise wide success. Within the session was a fascinating piece that looked at innovation and governance hacks — including agility and prospective foresight, strategic thinking and design intelligence, ethics and human centricity. We also completed an Innovation Index, which provided each of us with our own innovation profile and tips on how we can use our behaviours to add value to our organisations.

And then after lunch the much anticipated prize draw for delegates. Thanks to Lumi for supplying us with an exciting and interactive app that allowed our delegates to interact with one another, engage with speakers and exhibitors, and go into the draw for the prizes generously provided by our sponsors LexisNexis, Diligent and IntelligenceBank.

We were treated to a surprise fireside chat between our MC, journalist and broadcaster Ali Moore and our 2017 President’s Award recipient Diane Smith-Gander FGIA, Non-Executive Director for AGL Energy and Wesfarmers. Diane shared her perspectives on the responsibility for preparing for disruption. She believes that the CEO must own it and be accountable for a robust organisation that can grow. The board is responsible for setting culture to ensure the CEO can execute innovation.

The future-focused conversations continued with our last session of the day. Robynne Berg, Strategy Consultant, Founder at thinkplayact delivered an incredible eye-opening and interactive session on bringing innovation and customers to the boardroom. The key message — the only way to out-compete our competitors is to stop competing. We need to look beyond our industry boundaries. She highlighted that innovation needs to be part of all of our conversations  everyone has a role to play. Live polling with Robynne Berg showed that for many of our delegates, less than 10% of total boardroom time is dedicated to customers.

So it seems that those who don’t adapt, won’t survive. The new environment requires us to be more nimble and have the prospective foresight to see new opportunities for growth.

It requires boards to have a diverse skill set. This makes the composition of boards central to the success of governance in a disruptive world. Bringing our discussions over the two days a full circle.

And that’s a wrap for 2017…Thanks for having us, Melbourne!  And thanks to everyone involved in making the conference a roaring success. We cannot wait for next year… Stay tuned for details.

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