2023 Megatrends Summit Recap

Thought Leadership Articles

Published 29 June 2023


In May of 2023, the Advisory Board Centre hosted its annual Megatrends Summit at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. The Summit serves as an opportunity for members of the Advisory Board Centre’s international community to gather together, take time to think about the future, and consider the role advisory boards, and advisory board professionals, play. This meeting of minds keeps the community abreast of current trends and connected with each other. The following short summary provides an insight into the forums, panels and discussions over the two days. Furthermore, each of the below topics will be further elaborated upon in upcoming papers within our Global Research Council’s Drawing Board series.

Global Economy, Local Impact

The World Economic Forum’s 2023 risk analysis outlines a plethora of crisis and catastrophes expected to be faced within the next decade. In our globalised world, these crises are interconnected, creating daunting times for advisors, firms and other stakeholders.

If you are working within a digital field, you are working globally. Today, in our digital world, geographical borders are no longer a hinderance and individuals are increasingly needing to become “globally capable”. There is a need to certify professionals for a global economy, whilst allowing for customisation for local culture and social expectations about the way of working. Individuals should focus on taking themselves offshore and explore the opportunities that exist for Australian ingenuity, knowledge and skills. However, the shine of global opportunity does not negate all risks and challenges. It has become “sexy” to be global, but professionals must remember going global isn’t for everyone. Advisory boards play a key role in ensuring start-ups do not fail due to too much ambition.

Environmental and Organisational Sustainability

Sustainability is longevity. When looking at environmental and organisational sustainability, we can see the trilemma of security, reliability and cost. There needs to be a fundamental discussion about what sustainability means in a way that spans all populous, and sustainability should be integrated into everything a firm does from a value point of view. Longevity means you are considering environmental sustainability factors not just in the short term.

Those who are risk adverse are the ones who may be preventing the transition to more sustainable models. What is arguably needed is not more oversight, but a change in frameworks, mindsets, and so on. More nuanced conversations are needed instead of simple conversations and education about generalised concepts like “climate change”. There needs to be greater education about the consequences and downsides of a greater number of approaches firms may take to tackle environmental and organisational sustainability challenges.

Market Mastery

We are in an age of instant verification and individuals are becoming conditioned to look online to find information. Building your own personal brand is crucial to finding the right clients, right money and right impact. Wendy Pavey discussed five internal and external advisory professional fast fixes that can help individuals operate in an environment with the zero moment of truth. These fixes are as follows:

  1. Creation of a consistent visual identity
  2. Creation of a company page on LinkedIn
  3. Making it easy for people to have conversations with you
  4. Building trust and connection with a video and photo; and
  5. Having a clear, concise and compelling pitch

Additionally, Wendy Pavey shared her four fundamentals key to market mastery:

  1. Market strategy
  2. Point of difference
  3. Touch points and proof points; and
  4. Customer pipeline

Governance and Advisory Alignment

Governance boards are constrained in ways like never before and continue to face the huge “governance dilemma”, with the workload and liability of directors increasing exponentially across the globe. The question is: what should directors do? There is a fine line between adding complexity and resource utilisation into a multifaceted structure, and making sure challenges are addressed. Advisory boards are only one potential solution, but they need to be deeply considered.

Governance systems evolve with more collaborative thinking and a key element is conscious leadership. Governance boards don’t have the time to build the strategy, so they need to be thinking about how best to build frameworks to make conscious decisions and consciously deliberate the best solutions. It is crucial that the governance board clearly defines the problem statement for the advisory board; there need to be a “true north”. Then, when the advisory board considers the problem, they need to structure advice with an eye on ensuring they are clear with what they are considering and their analytical framework.

Advisory Boards in Practice

The environments advisory board professionals operate within are changing and, from a thought leadership perspective, professionals have a growing ability to step into an educational and advocacy position. Professionals and firms always need to be balancing the head, heart and back pocket, and boards need to raise awareness and have more nuanced conversations about what is going on instead of pure risk evasion.

There is a feeling amongst professionals that they must be an expert in everything and many feel pressured to identify all risks. Advisory board professionals must concentrate on their tolerance of ambiguity and skills needed to survive in complex environments, educating themselves before attempting to educate others. The role of advisory boards is to understand all the stakeholders involved and not fail to recognise important opinions and voices. There is a need for advisors to help firms understand not only the context but also set a direction relevant to them. The next few decades won’t be linear, and mistakes will be made, but professionals need to make sure firms are heading in the right direction and remain conscious of ethics along the way.




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