ILA’s new think-tank: anticipating and driving change

Interview with Monique Bachner

Luxembourg, being a diverse and international business hub, it is well-placed to drive innovation in governance practices, due to a range of unique insights into many different practices and trends. Emphasising the innovation and knowledge that are a feature of this country and its organisations, ILA has launched a think tank to formalise its innovation efforts, with the Institute’s Research Committee behind the creation of a think tank.

 ILA – the voice of governance in Luxembourg

ILA plays a major role in gathering and sharing current governance practices and supporting Directors. However, beyond that, as an Institute, part of ILA’s mission is also to question these practices and drive change by considering new perspectives on corporate governance,” explained Monique Bachner, Chair of ILA’s Research Committee. “ILA is not only in a unique position to bridge the latest academic and industry research with the practical experience of the leading governance practitioners amongst ILA members, but Luxembourg has the advantage of a workforce with a wide range of experience across sectors, cultures and geographies.” 

With the think tank initiative, ILA aims to consolidate its position as a thought leader in European corporate governance, by increasing its initiatives related to policy making. This will add original value, for all governance stakeholders.

Action areas

The think tank will seek solutions to current and future challenges, and test current best practice. “The think tank will work to bring that practical insight together with the latest academic work being conducted locally and internationally,” Monique noted. 

There will be five broad action areas: i) using research to stimulate new ideas and knowledge; ii) seeking to use this to inform and influence policy making; iii) being a collaborative, innovation hub for practitioners, academia, industry associations, institutions and other governance stakeholders; iv) identify new areas for debate and research; and v) to initiate, sponsor and contribute to research.

Theory and practice together

Topics ripe for further thought, debate and experimentation include the future of Boards in the face of digitisation and in light of fundamental societal shifts post-Covid. 2020 has been the year of remote working; so how might this affect fundamental decision-making structures of business and society – and related governance – in the longer term? Technologies allow for new and innovative ways to meet. Technologies also allow for innovations in the provision and manipulation of data (including non-financial data such as ESG criteria). So whether regarding the Board, management or wider stakeholders such as shareholders, how should Boards be integrating these changes, and what risks and unintended consequences need to be managed?

Following the combination of theoretical and practical viewpoints, these ideas will be brought to a wider public via thought-leadership blogs, articles and papers, as well as roundtables seminars and conferences, and coordinated with the appropriate ILA working group in their respective fields.

Call for applications 

The think tank is currently calling for applications from ILA members to actively participate in the think tank, which is due to be live by year-end.  

This type of forward-looking thought leadership focused on developing ideas and influencing future board functioning, both via research and collaboration and via interaction with the various ILA working groups. This should be intellectually stimulating for many ILA members.”

The aim is to achieve cognitive diversity both in the permanent membership, and to have a pool of specialists to reach out to on an ad hoc basis. All members are welcome to apply – board directors, governance officers, academics, and anyone interested in new themes and research.

It is not intended to duplicate the work of ILA’s working groups, but rather to act as a push and pull; collaborating with these by providing a forum devoted to stepping away from day-to-day matters and practices to look long term and holistically. “As individuals, Boards, ILA, and as Luxembourg as a whole, we should anticipate and drive change, rather than only being reactive,” Monique said.