The StrategicRISK Sydney Forum brought together innovators and risk managers to discuss how the two should best work together

Business deal work group people

Creating a culture that encourages challenging business norms will be essential for future success, delegates at a StrategicRISK Knowledge Live forum in Sydney heard last week.

“You have to be able to challenge the norms of the business – top level down – and the culture has to allow that,” chief product officer – digital and former head of innovation, News Corp Australia, Mark Drasutis, said at the event, which brought together more than 50 risk and insurance professionals.

“You have to keep your disruptors close and instil a culture that allows difficult conversations to occur,” he added.

Cultural clashes and challenging traditional thinking can very important both when aiming for innovation and when dealing with disruption, said vice president, strategy & planning - Asia Pacific, Brambles, Ben Heraghty.

But the panel warned that clear boundaries needed to be established around the idea of ‘failing fast’, which, in turn, came back to the culture of the organisation.

Accenture Strategy managing director Marco Ciobo said that much of an organisation’s future success will rest on its ability to find the right people to help meet its objectives.

“At the end of the day, it’s people who bring business models to life,” he said. “How do we find the talent we need? How do we organise for success? How do we lead people in this environment?”

Unfortunately, however, most delegates said their companies were not spending enough on their employees to keep up with the pace of change of today’s business environment.

Some 68% said their companies were investing, but it was not sufficient, while only 18% said the investment was sufficient. Worryingly, 11% of the audience said that no investment in people was currently being made.

In a separate poll, the audience was asked whether they believed innovation at their company would be led by internal drivers, or external collaborations. More than two-thirds of attendees chose internal drivers.

Ben Baker, who currently leads the development of industrial IoT solutions, suggested that organisations needed to find “the right marry up between internal core expertise and new expertise sourced externally”.

“What’s the fastest, most effective way you can get there?” he said, adding that it was worth asking whether the rate of change of business/disruptive innovations in your space allowed you the luxury of being “a fast follower and not a leader”.

Most delegates at the event agreed that the role of risk managers would increase in relevance as the pace of business model change increased.

BPAY group risk manager Francesca Dickson suggested that a growing challenge for risk managers would be to “cut through the hype and understand the real threats… shaping ideas, not just following and defending”.


The Knowledge

In 2015 StrategicRISK launched The Knowledge, a series of data-led research reports helping risk professionals across Asia-Pacific benchmark themselves against their peers. In 2016 StrategicRISK’s The Knowledge LIVE brings the findings of these reports to life through a series of interactive peer-led events. Attendance to The Knowledge LIVE events is free, by invitation only, for corporate risk and insurance managers, finance directors, corporate treasurers and other senior executives with responsibility for risk or insurance.  Read the latest edition of The Knowledge, sponsored by Zurich, here.