There has been a good deal of talk about people and leadership in the InsTech community over the past few weeks and its great that we're not allowing "tech for tech's sake" to drive our agenda.
The new London Market Innovation Exchange has a number of aims, but throughout all our early discussions we've been clear about the need to 'get the people side right' while pushing forward those technologies which can support TOM and the market.
However, even within the 'people side' there's more than one element to consider. A lot of good work is being planned around tech education for the U35s, much of which is being directly led by that community. As the article below reminds us, we also need to be thinking about how we ensure the senior decision makers are well versed on the topics of technology and technology-enabled disruption.
However much directors trust their teams, the way they add most value is through good, robust challenge to proposals and ideas. This can never been done well generically, and requires at least a fair knowledge of a topic. Thus the challenge to the Boards and Executive teams out there: what are you doing to ensure you have the right skills to engaging with the upcoming wave of digital-driven change? (And what role for TOM and the Innovation Council for supporting that?)
Imagine that you were a major investor in a leading company, and its board of directors had no members with independent, world-class financial expertise. Who would look after your interests? You could probably coach the directors to ask good questions, but they would lack the competence to judge the answers. The board would not be able to engage management in robust conversations about the complexities of capital structure, mergers and acquisitions, financial accounting, reporting, regulatory compliance or risk management. Most investors and regulators would deem such a board unfit to carry out its fiduciary guidance and governance responsibilities. Yet that’s precisely where many companies are when it comes to information technology.