Innovation Starts With the Board

Presented by: Ken Acton & Ben Grebinski

“Nose in, fingers out [on the role of a board]”

This presentation focuses on the importance and the role of a board. The presenters were Ken Acton and Ben Grebinski, both of these presenters have a history of being on boards. However Ken teaches a three day course on the role and importance of Boards, and this talk was a “snip-bit” of the course. Ben was there to add more insight and further develop Kens ideas.

The role of the board is to hold accountability, public voice, connection to communities, oversight, and have a non-bias role. The two parts of an educated board is setting direction and monitoring and reporting. Setting Direction falls under these 4 points. Clarity and purpose, governance framework, human resource stewardship, and financial stewardship. It is important to understand the purpose of your board and the difference between governance vs management. Ben described governance as “Nose in fingers out”, meaning you are meant to pry and find the problem, but while remaining hands off. While management is to find the means to end the goal and be the “hands on” while solving an issue. They made the clear distinction between the two since governance is the role of a board. The role of boards are crucial to the future of creating a more conjoined community and training the board to have the right skill sets are critical. Monitoring and reporting is the step following the Setting Direction. Monitoring and reporting are based on these 4 points;  performance measures, compliance monitoring, evaluation, and reporting. Monitoring is key to ensure that the plan you implemented is working successfully and was the best solution. These being critical aspects of an educated board.

Personally this gave insight on how a board works and the important role they play in whatever environment they are placed in. I think that the application of a proper educated board can greatly increase the power and implications of the board.


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