It all began back in 2008, sitting in the back of the room as a consultant, watching a successful FTSE 250 conduct its board meeting. They had a high-calibre board and some big strategic challenges: it was set to be a great meeting.
And yet it wasn’t. For four hours, the board members pored over papers filled with backwards-looking financial and operational data. They didn’t talk about the things that mattered.
That’s when the penny dropped. No matter how capable the people, a board is only as good as their information. Information drives the conversation.
But why did fixing this matter to us enough to pin our careers to it?
Because of the other thing we learned from this board: that if they’d been having the conversations they wanted to be having, everyone stood to gain. As well as long-term value creation, they were concerned about reports of a climate crisis, growing wealth inequality, and the wellbeing of their workforce.
Later, we polled a few hundred directors to ask what they felt was missing from their boardrooms and they echoed these concerns. Most business leaders want to do a good job, not just for themselves and their shareholders, but for wider society too. Our journey to enabling this had begun.
For the first few years, we tackled the problem as consultants would: with projects.
We reviewed thousands of board reports and consulted with hundreds of board members. We found what works and what doesn’t. And we built up the knowledge that formed the basis of the QDI Principle, our critical thinking (and writing) playbook, helping management to draw out what matters and prepare board and management papers that hit the mark.
Our playbook developed a following, with non-executives on one board taking us to the next. But it was only ever an intervention. So, we began to explore how we could combine our playbook with technology, to deliver a lasting impact.
Our report-writing platform and board portal were born.
“For every decision we take in the boardroom, we take thousands outside of it. And that’s where we need Board Intelligence.”
This next part of our story has been driven by our clients — clients who understood better than us, the relevance of our critical thinking platform and playbook to the way they run their business.
For years, we helped them to change the conversation in their boardroom — balancing the short-term with the long-term, profit with purpose, the needs of shareholders with the needs of society.
Today we help our clients to change the conversation throughout their organisation, helping them unlock the potential of their human capital and helping them become the boards and the businesses they always wanted to be.
Most of our early clients are still with us today, nearly 10 years later.
You can’t change the way a business is run without time, passion, and commitment — and we’re willing to invest all three. It’s why those first clients continue to trust us with their most important challenges. And it’s why we chose to work with investors who share both our long-term view and our ambition to “improve every single board in the world.”
We’re on a mission to prove that kindness and success are natural partners — socking it to the Roman emperors and business tycoons of old, who helped to ferment the idea that brutality is excusable, or even expedient, in the pursuit of great things.
We disagree. And we’ll prove it.
The state of the world we leave for our children and grandchildren is surely the only thing that really matters?
We believe in the potential of business as a force for good. Together with our clients, we are building a community of change-oriented leaders driving the conversations that matter in their boardrooms and businesses.
Whether it’s newly appointed CEOs looking to align strategy across their leadership teams, or governance professionals instilling best practices before an IPO, leaders use Board Intelligence to transform their organisations. Whatever the background, we look to work with purpose-driven businesses that are looking to make a difference for all their stakeholders. It’s a mission that aims squarely at some of today’s biggest challenges — and, together, we can make a difference.
Tools, guides and events to find out more about Board Intelligence and how it changes the way teams are thinking (and writing).