The dark side of information vs integrated thinking: the final battle!

22 November, 2016

Increasingly integrated thinking is a vital and inspiring principle, it certainly is in my organization, and in the future I believe that will be the case in every corporation. It is integral to Integrated Reporting – the virtuous cycle of integrated thinking and reporting that can so positively transform behavior and performance. Integrated Reporting is a catalyst for a new way of thinking that helps organizations both to be more focused on its own value creation story and to be more effective in the use of all the material capitals.

All companies are fighting against the “dark side of information”: the data overload is so extreme that board members and managers may lose focus on the real and effective KPIs, forgetting that often less is more. In this data ocean, one real risk is that the data produced is not decision useful – numbers must talk, they must help managers to implement plans and actions based on the information available.

The corporate reports portfolio of a listed insurance company is so big, more than thousand pages! The traditional group and solo annual reports, are not alone! Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) drivers trigger the necessity to have the governance report, the remuneration report and the sustainability report.

In addition, the new solvency regime is requiring a new report wave (Solvency Financial and Capital Report – SFCR) whose focus is to disclose the risk dimension of how the company runs one of the most important aspect of its business model.

Thgenerali-puzzle-2is new reporting puzzle, where many pieces (the reports) are on the board’s agenda, requires an integrated thinking approach by the insurance company to connect all the pieces and to provide a holistic and clear view of the company’s value creation story.

In Generali we use the 3R’s rule (rethink, reuse and reduce) for implementing integrated thinking, for streamlining the reporting process and for reducing operational risk.

We are always trying to rethink our reporting process, focusing on integration. For example, starting this year, we have set up a permanent “integrated lab” where the heads of the annual integrated report, sustainability report, governance and remuneration reports, supported by the communication team, share the reporting process planning and the story telling of the different reports to better integrate all our corporate reports. This simple and smart approach will improve operational activities, avoiding duplication, streamlining the reporting process and improving the final outputs.

This integrated lab will also leverage feedback from the Global Campaign on Integrated and Sustainable Thinking and Reporting, sponsored by our Group CEO and General Manager/GCFO.

As part of the campaign, a Group integrated CSR and financial team is sharing the Group’s vision of an evolving corporate reporting space through several Integrated and Sustainable Thinking workshops. This is in the spirit of engagement and empowerment and picks up on the findings of last year’s Global Engagement Survey, responding with full transparency and openness to the comments and suggestions received.

Each educational workshop explains and explores our Integrated and Sustainability Reports and how they can be improved, allowing for comments that will be invaluable for developing the 2016 Reports. The workshops are open to all Generali employees on a voluntary basis and no specific background is required.

Finally, we are helping our business units to rethink their solo annual report reusing the Generali Group Integrated Report framework. These year two pilot companies, Generali Italia and Generali Serbia, have already implemented this concept and their 2015 annual reports are very effective in communicating their value creation story and the sense of belonging to Generali Group.

In Generali, integrated thinking as part of our Integrated Reporting implementation is winning the battle against THE DARK SIDE OF INFORMATION…