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Governance Intel: July 2012

Busara Governance Intel Newsletter


In this issue of Governance Intel, we explore Innovation in Governance – and how the fervour of innovation at organisational level, in products and services has not had the concomitant attention to innovations in governance rules and regulations, which in turn can have catastrophic implications. We assert that the next challenge in governance that needs attention and innovation is a global governance framework. We are not alone. Multi-billionaire financier, George Soros' calls for global governance reform are gaining momentum. The global financial crisis is proof that there is a governance gap as a result of shortcomings in national policies and regulations in the face of global finance, multinationals and global entrepreneurship spurred by advances in information and communication technologies and due to globalisation.

We also share with you some ideas of how eighteen years into our democracy, our government can begin to do things differently in order to encourage positive headlines that dissociate it from the word corruption. These ideas were inspired by the former Police Commissioner, Bheki Cele’s unfortunate disclosure during the hearings on allegations of corruption that gripped our headlines for months. Innovation in Government would definitely be welcomed! We hope that you will find this newsletter enlightening food for thought and action, and that you will share it with others who may also find it interesting.

Innovation in Governance

Corporate governance refers to formal and informal structures and processes that exist for oversight roles and responsibilities in organisations and institutions. Until the 1990s, the term ‘corporate governance’ was rarely uttered outside of law school texts and the academic world. Since the 1990s, there have been reforms in governance, but these have not been generally referred to as innovations, which is what they are. The general public hardly questioned the rules and behaviour governing organisations and institutions. The corporate scandals of the 1990s changed this complacency and corporate governance issues have come under increased scrutiny. The central challenge in corporate governance is how to make leaders accountable to their stakeholders while still having the freedom, incentives and control over resources to achieve the goals. Good corporate governance practices encourage institutions to create value whilst ensuring accountability using control systems commensurate with the risks involved.

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Innovation in Governance - Board level oversight of innovation practice

Innovation Governance provides the leadership and scrutiny instruments that encourage the right behaviours, structures and processes to become embedded across an organisation. It is not directly about how innovation is managed by practitioners (which is domain-specific and already supported by a sizable amount of literature in innovation management), but about how a Board of Directors, CEOs, and senior leaders promote and review innovation practice on behalf of their stakeholders.

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Wisdom of the Month

"You don't need to change the world; you need to change yourself." Miguel Ruiz