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Governance is not the ‘enemy’ of innovation

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“Governance is not the enemy of innovation.”

These are the words of John Brogden, CEO AICD, at the Third Sector conference ‘Innovation for a Stronger Community’ that took place on August 18 and 19 at Sheraton on the Park, Sydney.

Brogden spoke on a panel with Susan Pascoe, Commissioner ACNC, and Graham Bradley, Non-Executive Chairman, Stockland and EnergyAustralia.

Brogden felt that good governance drives organisational performance and that regulation does not need to slow you down.

“Innovation is not always something new,” said Brogden.

“NFPs run the risk of mission creep and chasing funding which diverts from the main mission.

“The one thing that NFPs do really badly is that we talk a big game about cooperation but hardly follow through.”

Whilst Susan Pascoe, Commissioner ACNC, agreed that good governance is key to innovation, she felt that not all organisations should be held to the same standards.

Pascoe highlighted that smaller charities in regional areas don’t have big teams or the same access to materials as other larger charities do.

“Governance applies to all charities but within reason,” said Pascoe.

“Charities are mainly volunteer based, so we need a dose of realism of what is actually possible.”

Impact investing

A buzzword that seems to be floating about in the NFP sector is ‘impact investing’ and many in the sector expressed that they do not understand what this really means.

“Social impact investment is putting money into a social purpose organisation for social and financial reward,” said Kristy Muir, Research Director, Centre for Social Impact.

Sally Cowling, Head of Centre for Reach, Innovation and Advocacy, Uniting, spoke about Newpin, a program chosen as Australia’s first Social Benefit Bond Pilot in 2013. In New South Wales, Uniting Newpin focuses primarily on the restoration of children in out-of-home care to their parents

“We had to develop new skills and develop the human story into an investment context,” said Cowling.

Passion and belief 

Daniel Flynn, Founder and CEO, Thankyou Group, wrapped up the conference with a strong message to ‘believe in something.’

“Who says we have to do things the way they have been done before,” said Flynn.

Delegates were left motivated and wanting to push the boundaries after listening to Flynn and the other speakers at the conference.

Asking why, keeping the passion and committing to an idea were the main points the delegates went away with from the conference.

More information on the conference will be in the upcoming September Third Sector magazine.

Search #tse2016 on Twitter and Facebook to follow the conversation.


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