Source: Visual Capitalist

The traditional industries of yesterday are fading away and technology and disruptive problem solving industries are the future, and Australia’s top 6 companies, the four banks and two miners make up 47% of the total ASX200 ‘market cap’. Our fossil fuels are not as valuable as they once were and our banks are heavily exposed (see 123% private debt ratio details below), so are we are in for a heavy storm?

Trust is broken, only 15% trust the system, 85% DON’T. Edelman Trust barometer is the global benchmark, watch this 1-minute YouTube:

Why is trust broken? Think Trump, BREXIT, even our own politics. Who trusts their bank? Who trusts their supermarket? Who trusts the dairy conglomerate that has forced farmers to lose $1,000 per day? Who trusts aged care? Who trusts the CPA accounting body? Why does 4Corners have hundreds of stories to tell?

Enter stage left: Disruption: 52% of Fortune 500 firms since 2000 are gone. The fish either rots from the head or thrives from the decisions of the boardroom. Our boardrooms are one-dimensional according to recent 30% Club research that states the metrics of our ASX200 company boards.

With only 3.8% technology expertise and 6.55% marketing (customer) directors, this is literally 1 in 10 directors that are deeply connected to the customer and technology.

Australia just broke the World Record for economic growth, 103 Quarters, that’s over 25 years without a recession. One might argue that we have become complacent and that we now cast a ‘lazy eye’ over our businesses. Do you think the accounting body CPA had lazy ethics? Similarly, uber was recently exposed due to poor culture.

Bank exposures – Australia’s combined unemployment and underemployment is 14%, compared to US 9.4%, 123% is the ratio to household debt, and our largest export market is China, and yet their debt to GDP ratio was 160% in 2007, it is now 280% in 2016.

We need more thinkers challenging the status quo, and our boardrooms are where the future trends mapping and risk taking is supposed to happen. But we don’t have the diversity of thought around the table to delve deep into the curiosity of the customer, understand CX, UX and truly engage with our digital assets. Some might argue, this is the Executive’s roles, but if the boards are not equipped to ask the pertinent questions to think outside the box and truly reconnect trust with customers and employees then this leaves our economy to the business as usual (BAU) mindset.

Enter stage right, Australia’s most successful global company in recent times: Atlassian and visit their Boardroom of Rockstars:
Technologists, and marketers from the likes of Google, Facebook, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Symantec, and savvy investors from Morgan Stanley, Bain Capital and leading Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Accel.

So, if you want to continue to think in straight lines, continue with business as usual, you keep getting the same results, until something happens. But BAU equals disaster for companies not aware that Australia will lose 20% of its workforce to Artificial Intelligence in the next 5 years, nor will it continue to flourish without investing in future industries of tomorrow. While corporate ventures can form part of the solution towards our economic future, the lack of innovation stems from the lack of strategic foresight, futures strategy and diversity of thinking in our boardrooms.

Even just this week, the UBS retail analyst simply comments on Woolworths Vs. Coles, yet Amazon Fresh is coming at them like a double barrel shotgun – BOOM! It’s no longer a two way street, it’s a global map of drones, IoT and customer savvy disruptors.

Engage with your Board of Directors, or inform your CEO and ask them about diversity of thinking on their board. It is no longer a time for “yes men”, it is the time for why, who, how, what if? We push the envelope and ask the confronting questions. Why? Because Australia’s economic prosperity depends on it.