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The 20th anniversary of the Balanced Scorecard (Introduced in the 1992 Harvard Business Review article by Dr Robert Kaplan and Dr David Norton), hearing some interesting perspectives on regulation / innovation at a Long Finance Conference and seeing Bono’s Factivism (evidence-based activist) 15 minute TED presentation have reignited my focus on the potential to use data/information/knowledge better to support decision making and action – and thereby improve governance.

I fear that our increasingly agile business world posses increasing risks of products and services being developed fast and in many cases including commitments / products that neither sellers nor buyers really understand (a much broader problem then the weapons of mass financial destruction that Warren Buffet referred to one of his annual letters).

Earlier this week I attended an interesting Webcast from Bernard Marr of the Advanced Performance Institute (API) that provided insights from the API/Actuate survey of Business Performance Management across 3000+ enterprises. Whilst it was encouraging to hear of companies exploiting big data and analytics to provide more or less real time information (with elements of prediction) to enhance decision making, overall I was left disappointed that more progress has not been made over the last 20 years. Sadly I have experienced personally the weaknesses of management information that is produced too slowly and is too much focused on reflection of last month rather than serving as a springboard to facilitating informed decisions to improve future performance. The Bono Factivism drive consequently really resonated with me and I hope that Boards of Directors also embrace the need to secure better (and more transparent) evidence in Board discussions to raise the bar on Corporate Governance.

Of course hard numbers will not always be available and developments such as the Confidence Accounting proposal from the Long Finance Initiative to use distributions, rather than discrete values, is I believe a great example of how we can raise the value of information being used to improve decision making.

We would welcome an opportunity to help you embrace “Factivism” in your scorecards and other management information to better enable you to make the decisions needed in our ever more competitive agile world.

Huw Morris

 

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