Walk the talk

Boards frequently challenge their executives to get with the digital age – but many have not followed their own good advice, according to an article published by the Harvard Business Review.

The article, Reimagining the Boardroom for an Age of Virtual Reality and AI, explains that while many boardrooms are starting to use more digital tools to gather information, post questions and comments, connect individuals in remote locations, and present ideas more visually, there are plenty of other tools they could be using to do their jobs better.

Citing virtual reality technology as an example, the article explains that boards could gain a deeper understanding of their companies and the value they create by using this technology in a gaming context.

It says business applications for virtual reality technology are starting to take off, as it allows board members to use the technology to play the role of customer, investor, product developer and factory worker, and make the kinds of choices they must make. This enables board members to see the business from various stakeholders’ vantage points.

The article also considers enterprise social-network tools and workflow management programs, like Yammer and Trello, which can facilitate more dynamic communication among board members and help them analyse their activities, interactions, voting patterns and so on. It offers a central repository for communications, which can make it easier to share presentations, budgets, quality reports, compliance reviews, and supporting analyses.

The article adds that the pressure for boards to become more “digital” is coming from a number of sources, with outside stakeholders beginning to demand greater visibility into boards’ operations, particularly in light of the many well-publicised governance failings related to culture problems, poor risk management and fraud. Similarly, investors are expecting boards to match or surpass their own ability to collect and analyse information.  

The full article can be read here.