Innovation: The leadership and governance role of NFP Boards

Innovation is more than just a buzzword; it is the key to improving leadership on non-for-profit (NFP) boards and securing a bright future for the aged care and community sectors.

Despite the benefits that innovation can have on NFP organisations, it is unfortunately widely underutilised or misunderstood. As not all boards may be aware or see themselves as innovators, this can prevent many boards from cultivating innovation through leadership. There are many benefits of innovation in the boardroom, including protecting NFP organisations from emerging and potential threats as recently discussed by an emerging issues report published by WA Council of Civil Service:

“Like many businesses, not-for-profits (NFPs) often have trouble breaking out of old habits, seizing opportunities to innovate and improve how they work. In today’s dynamic world in which digital channels are opening up endless new possibilities, organisations need to continuously reassess their business model and governance structures to ensure they are meeting their customers’ changing needs.” – WACOSS Emerging Issues Report 2016

As there are numerous definitions of innovation and how to achieve it, the Emerging Young Leaders in Governance Program (ELGP) have created a free eBook to ensure boards are on the same page when it comes to innovation and what it means for an organisation.

The purpose of this eBook is to support and empower boards in the NFP sector to make innovation an explicit strategic priority. To ensure boards possess the necessary tools to implement an innovation strategy, the eBook contains several resources that are designed to help boards create innovative cultures, including:

  • A diagnosis of the trends, enablers and barriers affecting innovation in aged care and community boards that boards should consider when implementing an innovation strategy
  • An Innovation audit tool that can be used by boards to assess where they are positioned in the spectrum of innovation governance

The eBook also contains case studies of two NPF organisations are also included that highlight the benefits of innovative practices for NFP boards:

The Rise Network – As is a community organisation that is future-focused and aware of the challenges facing the sector, The Rise Network’s vision has grown and with it the size and influence of the communities they work with. To accommodate these changes, The Rise Network shares some of the innovation strategies through a case study to assist other NFP boards in cultivating innovation and implementing innovation strategies.

Foundation Housing – As one of WA’s largest developers and managers of social and affordable housing, Foundation Housing discusses some the drivers, enablers and barriers to innovation that the organisation experiences. These insights assist boards by discussing some of the trends impacting the sector and how as an organisation, Foundation Housing has implemented an innovation strategy to help achieve its goals and vision.

For boards to establish a culture of innovation, boards must remain future-focused and make targeted efforts to improve innovation on NFP boards. By implementing strategies and recommendations made in the eBook, organisations can improve outcomes in the aged care and community sector both now, and well into the future.

To learn more about how to improve innovation on NFP boards, access the eBook here.

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