Company boards may need to meet via virtual reality or in holographic form and use artificial intelligence provided by robo-directors in the future to meet the increasing demands placed on them.
Research by the Institute of Directors and Minter Ellison Rudd Watts has found directors are facing mounting paperwork and time pressure while having to deal with increasing compliance and risks ranging from climate change to cyber attacks.
Yet the way boards operate has changed very little from the 1950s with most using a presheduled format to meet every one to two months in a physical setting, while getting board papers and documents to read in advance.
Felicity Caird, the Institute of Director’s general manager of governance leadership centre said despite significant change in the operating environment, boards have been functioning in much the same way for decades.
“Many boards are now facing a time dilemma. They are weighed down by often voluminous board papers, compliance and risk, which can compromise time to discuss and debate critical strategic and performance issues.
“Directors are also having to spend increasing hours staying up to date with the changing operating environment, their industry and understanding the business. Rising stakeholder expectations will drive greater engagement adding to the board’s workload.
She said boards’ traditional ways of working needed to be challenged for directors to continue to add value and fulfil their governance responsibilities in the future.
“The future boardroom will unquestionably be digital,” Caird said.
Exactly what that will look like is uncertain but the paper points to several technological changes which are already being worked on.
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To read the Always on Duty – The Future Board report, please click here.