Let’s Go Digital

The influential economist Milton Friedman famously coined the phrase “We are all Keynesians now”, in reference to the reluctant embrace of more interventionist forms of economic solutions in the mid 1960s.

Were he alive today, and tweeting, he might have had something similar to say about the inevitable embrace of the digital age and the pervasiveness of social media.

“The digital revolution is far more significant than the invention of writing or even of printing.” – Douglas Carl Engelbart (30.1.25 – 2 .7.2013), was an American engineer and inventor, as well as being an early computer and internet pioneer.

Whether or not we all agree with the extent of Douglas Engelbart’s quote in the headline of this article, the digital revolution is a technological and social phenomenon that the Actuaries Institute needs to embrace and ‘get ahead of the curve’.

And so we are. Led by the Institute’s Head of Communication and Marketing, Katrina McFadyen and Actuaries magazine editor Sharanjit Paddam, we are currently working on how best to use digital technology to take communication and interaction with Members to the next level.

What we envisage is an enhanced digital relationship with Members, and the broader community. This will allow us to provide timely (sometimes real-time) news and information relevant to actuaries, and to the broader community interested in the work of the profession.

The current way we communicate with Members still has the traditional emphasis on us sending information to you. We want to change that so that there can be ongoing, and multiple, conversations about important issues. We want to encourage

you as experts in your practice areas to raise and comment on important issues.

We will build in a strong editorial capability so that what is published under the Institute’s name remains of the highest quality, consistent with the high value placed on actuarial insight. Ultimately, of course, content will be the key. We want to ensure that everyone has a chance, and is encouraged, to provide information, and be part of the conversation.

So you ask – what does this actually mean? Well firstly let me reassure you that you will be able to continue to communicate with us in a way that you are currently used to. Our new approach, however, will be a wider and more integrated offering; it will include all of the following, and some more:

  • continuing to engage Members through active discussion on topics of interest using the Actuarial Professionals, ERM and YAP LinkedIn Groups;
  • launching additional customised LinkedIn Groups such as CERA, and practice area Groups to encourage discussion and engagement;
  • increasing Twitter activity by broadcasting more frequently on topics of interest to the profession and other external followers;
  • launching the ActuariesChat blog on the website to encourage discussion between Members to share knowledge and raise awareness of the work of actuaries;
  • launching the Actuaries Institute YouTube Channel to build the profile of the profession and promote it to external stakeholders;
  • developing digital versions of Actuaries magazine and
  • AJAP to further engage Members; and
  • developing a ‘news’ capability that is relevant to the profession.

We believe by doing this there are clear benefits. Firstly, by creating a vibrant online community, Members will have the opportunity to increase engagement with their peers, external stakeholders and the Institute. In addition, by actively engaging in this community and sharing knowledge, a sense of pride in belonging to the profession will be generated, regardless of location. It will also position actuaries as thought-leaders, and allow them to showcase and promote their skills.

Our new approach will also make the delivery of information more efficient and effective. The timeliness of information delivery will improve, and information and news can be integrated across streams, e.g. with practice committee newsletters.

We will be introducing initiatives gradually and we will keep you informed. We will, or course, seek your feedback and listen to what you say – the success of this project very much depends on member participation and engagement, underpinned by the business deliverables from the HQ team.

If anyone wants to see an example of how a much larger organisation does this, you can visit ANZ’s excellent Blue Notes site.

Lunch Meetings with Members

At time of writing I had my first lunch catch up with Members in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. For the 50 or so of you who gave of your time, I found the feedback very useful – thank you. I plan at least one more meeting this year in Melbourne in July, and at least four more in Sydney. I would also like to hold lunches in Canberra, Adelaide and Perth, this year, subject to demand. If you would like to join one of these sessions please contact me at david.bell@actuaries.asn.au.

The Institute’s 2015-17 Strategy

The Institute’s three-year strategy expires in 2015, and Council has agreed to bring forward the review of the Institute’s strategy for consideration and determination at year’s end. One of the key inputs will be taking account of Members’ views. We will let you know soon how you can have your say. Of course the Member lunches are one great way to provide your views to me.

David and guests_lunch 27 May_high res (3)_cmy

An Actuaries Institute Foundation?

It’s early days yet, but I would like to test Members’ thinking on setting up an Actuaries Foundation, the purpose of which would be to support worthy causes that are relevant to the profession.

There is precedent in the UK with the delightfully named Worshipful Company of Actuaries hosting a charitable trust which makes donations to different charities. The US has The Actuarial Foundation which has four program areas including consumer financial education. The Actuarial Foundation of Canada supports youth education, financial literacy and research initiatives that are in the public interest.

Please let me know if you have any thoughts on any of this at david.bell@actuaries.asn.au.


CPD: Actuaries Institute Members can claim two CPD points for every hour of reading articles on Actuaries Digital.