We've covered some interesting topics in our weekly insight pieces this year - from the neuroscience behind investment decision making, to how to prepare your organisation for the digital age. We've also been introduced to some of the industry's newest ethical investment options, as well as the push for workplaces to be more diverse and flexible. As the year draws to a close, we take a look back on the most thought provoking ideas of 2017 and the thought leaders and change makers behind them.
Environmental, Social and Philanthropic Impacts
Giles Gunesekera on the "beautiful intersection" of his worlds and a new impact fund aimed at women and girls.
In June, Giles Gunesekera spoke with Industry Moves on his Global Impact Initiative (GII), a program that brings much needed capital from the corporate sector into the non-profit space. Giles tells Industry Moves about some of his passion projects at GII, including an impact fund set up to support the empowerment of girls and women.
"It is the right of the oppressed to speak up and it is the duty of those witnessing to speak out. As a son, father and husband, I have had amazing female role models in my life. I have been frustrated about how poorly society, and especially the business community, treats the female population and this strategy aims to address some of the inequity."
"I’m absolutely convinced that the science is right." - Q&A with John Hewson on the Climate Change battle.
In May, we met up with former Liberal leader, John Hewson, who spoke with us about why he thinks the current government's stance on climate change is "indefensible". He also told us of an upcoming project that could provide 24/7 power using sugarcane, and outlined what his priorities would be if he were Prime Minister today.
"Bottom line, from a business point of view, is that we’ve lost about 30 years of opportunity in terms of developing solar, wind, battery, heat storage and other energy efficient technology."
Gaining Momentum: An insight into the future of Australian Social Benefit Bonds
In March, we spoke with Elyse Sainty, who leads Social Ventures Australia's (SVA) Social Impact Bond (SIB) related work. She has been instrumental in the development and launch of both Newpin, a SIB aiming to restore children with their families, and the Aspire Social Impact Bond, which focusses on homelessness in South Australia. Sainty spoke with Industry Moves about the process behind setting up the offerings, the expectations of investors and why she feels that this new approach will lead to an improvement in Australia's social services.
"I’ve been out to service centres many times and met many of the mothers and the kids; that really brings it all alive for me because that’s what it’s all about. That’s the first level of satisfaction and the next level is knowing that there is such a strong evidence base building up which will support the extension of programs that work."
"Philanthropists take a warm heart and cold eye approach to their giving": Q&A with Perpetual's Caitriona Fay
In April, we spoke with Perpetual's Caitriona Fay, national manager philanthropy and non profit services, about the firm's Giving Australia 2016 report which showed that nearly 15 million Australians donated approximately $12 billion in philanthropic funds last year. Caitriona spoke to us about the ‘democratisation’ of philanthropy, the biggest challenge facing the sector and the importance of growing a culture of transparency.
"Philanthropy has traditionally been seen as the domain of the wealthy and this exclusivity, at times, has meant the gap between the philanthropist, or grantmaker, and those they are attempting to support, can at times feel vast. So when we're talking about the democratisation of philanthropy, we’re talking about providing vehicles and approaches to giving that enable a wide range of voices to be heard."
#YouthChoices - QLD's first social bond that seeks to reduce reoffending by young people.
In September, we spoke with James Waddell (pictured), director for NAB’s Capital Financing Product Group and Brad Swan, executive director, strategy and engagement at Life Without Barriers, about the Queensland Palaszczuk Government's announcement of its second social impact investment initiative, the #YouthChoices Social Benefit Bond (SBB), which aims to reduce the current 80% recidivism rate for young offenders in Queensland.
"The response from investors has been positive, many love the idea of putting their capital to work for a great cause and getting a return - James Waddell"
Fintech and Disruption
Mating elephants with mice: Q&A with Stone & Chalk's Simran Gambhir
In April, we toured Stone & Chalk's Sydney office with chief technology officer, Simran Gambhir, who shared his predictions for the major industry disruptors, offered his thoughts on the makings of a successful entrepreneur and showed us a Youtube video that completely changed his life.
"I probably listen to around 500 ideas per year and I’d be lucky if I come across at least one unique idea."
The danger of viewing fintech as over-hyped: Q&A with Deloitte's Joel Lipman
In August, we spoke with Joel Lipman, a digital technologies and innovation expert, who talked us through Deloitte's research on fintech, highlighting uncertainties and discussing the ways in which fintechs may partner with incumbents in the future. He said that while there is significant potential for disruption there are still barriers that need to be addressed before we'll see fintechs take a sizeable chunk of the market share.
"There could be a view that when you read the report it comes across as if fintechs have been over-hyped and have undelivered. But that’s a dangerous view. What we are saying is that it hasn’t delivered yet. There is still significant potential for disruption. It’s not as if disruption will ever be over and you can just get back to business. We believe disruption is a continuous event, it’s not just a period of time."
Fear not of Fintech: FPA cuts through the hype
Just a few weeks ago, the Financial Planning Association's head of policy, Ben Marshan, answered our questions on the key findings of the FPA's new report, Mapping Fintech to the Financial Planning Process: why fintech is not a threat, sharing with us the criteria used for the recommendation list of complementary fintechs and identifying the three main initiatives that advisers can implement in order to effectively embrace this new era of digitalisation.
"Of the approximately 400 fintechs currently in the Australian market, 117 are involved in parts of the financial planning process, while only 54 are trying to compete for clients."
How to close the gap between your organisation and the digital age
In March, we spoke with Juliet Bourke, a partner in the Deloitte Human Capital Practice, about the firm's 2017 Deloitte Human Capital Trends Report which revealed that the top three areas of focus for Australian companies needs to be creating a great employee experience, designing the organisation of the future and redesigning learning programs to suit the ‘digital age’.
"People will seek simplicity, which will foster workplace “neighbourhoods” and a desire to work in small teams. What is most likely is that the organisational structure will be less siloed and hierarchical, and it will continue the trend towards networks of teams with devolved decision making."
Flexible Working and Diversity in the workplace
Flexibility is not a dirty word: DCC Jobs' CEO Gemma Lloyd
In September, we spoke with Gemma Lloyd - co-founder of DCC Jobs, Australia's first, and only, job site that screens organisations around the policies they have in place for supporting women in the workplace - who is doing her very best to change negative perceptions around flexible working to ensure that women have access to the workplaces of the future.
"I am 100% and unapologetically for gender quotas as we should have at least 30% representation of each gender on boards (I also liked Senator Penny Wong’s suggestion of 40% male, 40% female and 20% either way). I don’t believe this is likely to be legislated any time soon by the Australian Government."
Taking action for change: Yolanda Beattie on increasing diversity in the investment industry
Mercer's diversity & inclusion practice leader, Yolanda Beattie, spoke with us in August about her latest research on diversity in the investment space. With her research indicating that 30% of female investment managers are less likely to be promoted over their male counterparts, she developed the Industry Employee Value Proposition Project with plans to roll out an inclusive career framework across the industry.
"Women thought that the number one reason that there was a lack of diversity in the industry was because there was a bias at a decision making level."
Flexible Working: It's more than just having a policy in place
Earlier this month, we spoke with Julie Cogin, who is an advocate for effective flexible workplace initiatives and a trailblazer for women in the workplace. She took us through her latest research on the impact that flexible workplaces can have on organisational performance.
"I have also spoken to women who are dissuaded from utilising such schemes for fear of a stigma associated with having carer responsibilities. In other words, having the right policy is meaningless, the culture the policy exists in is more important."
The 30% Club celebrates its 2nd Anniversary...and we take a glimpse at how super funds are tracking
In May, Industry Moves attended the 30% Club's second anniversary, hosted at Bloomberg's Sydney office, and sat in on a panel discussion, chaired by Haidi Lun, the Sydney anchor for "Daybreak Australia", Bloomberg Television's flagship morning program, who facilitated a lively discussion with a focus on how Australian companies can move forward to bridge the gender gap.
"We’re doing ourselves a disservice if we don’t recognise that there are soft targets and that bonuses are too easy to get in the aggregate…Why are CFO’s getting bonuses for reviewing the balance sheet? Why is someone getting 5% on their pay for being a ‘male champion of change’? If that is in your value set, why do we need to reward it?" - Dean Paatsch, Director, Ownership Matters
Thinking outside the box
Thinking creatively, flexibly and collaboratively: Q&A with Tony Golsby-Smith
In May, we spoke with Tony Golsby-Smith, who leads strategic innovation firm, Second Road, which works with some of Australia’s biggest firms. Tony spoke to us about the importance of engaging both sides of the brain, why we shouldn’t fear the automation of the human workforce and how the ‘Experience Economy’ is a game-changer.
"The real breakthrough for innovation and disruption is when they take a completely different part of my experience and offer services for it that I didn’t know existed."
The Neuroscience behind financial decision making: Q&A with Carsten Murawski
In April, we spoke with Carsten Murawski, principal investigator for Melbourne University's Brain, Mind and Markets lab about the science behind financial decision making.
"It is assumed that when making a choice, people will always choose the best option available to them, no matter whether they have to choose from three options or from one billion options. This assumption is the core of what is known as "rational choice”. It underlies most economic theories, the way economists interpret people’s choices, and it is closely related to the concept of market efficiency. People have suspected for a long time that this assumption might be unrealistic."