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The rise of the digitally-savvy board

Bonnie Gardiner | May 20, 2015
Our boards are not ready for digital disruption, so how can we bring about positive change?

Scott Davie has overseen many positive transformations during her time on boards, in sectors ranging from tourism, telecommunications, education and superannuation.

"With every board that I've been on in the last 12 years, I have been the only person who brings digital and technology skill set to the table, and it makes it more challenging when you're trying to recommend as a board that we innovate with digital transformation or digital marketing," says Scott Davie.

"Luckily, I'm a good educator and a passionate influencer, I've shared many ideas. And while that knowledge sharing is really powerful, it might take six months to implement new ideas, instead of two months, because you're spending that extra time educating people on the potential benefits of digital transformation before you've got to sell them on the ideas."

Openness to new ideas, and an awareness of competitive threats from the emerging external business community are critical, on top of consider reputational risk for business.

"The whole business is at risk, and you could turn a whole industry on his head with an effective digital transformation of one business leading the charge." she says.

"The whole business is at risk, and you could turn a whole industry on his head with an effective digital transformation of one business leading the charge." she says.

Flipping the model
During her time as the digital representative on the board of Tourism Tasmania, Scott Davie helped to change the way the company marketed and communicated to its stakeholders and external suppliers, flipping the model from an 80 per cent print and 20 per cent digital to 80 per cent digital, 20 per cent print.

Scott Davie helped support the marketing director's lead to change the way the tourism business marketed and communicated to its stakeholders and external suppliers, flipping the model from a majority print media, to majority digital over print advertising spend.

Initially the board was reluctant to invest further in targeted social campaigns as they had less understanding and awareness of the digital tools as effective business tools. Slowly through education, awareness and small targeted test cases, the digital marketing campaigns proved more effective, measurable and effective, says Scott Davie.

Not only did the board members start to adopt the new technology the more they learned, but with these changes the business was able to reach its target of a million visitors per annum, raising the target to 1.5 million visitors, following 14 per cent growth in tourists -- a capacity reached by no other Australian state, despite having considerably higher budgets.

"Now that I've finished my term on that board they've brought in the CEO of Spotify, which is fantastic. It shows me they're thinking digital and realising how important it is to do things in a way that engages the customers," says Scott Davie.

 

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