One of the most enjoyable responsibilities in my presidential year is my participation in the curation of the inaugural IFoA’s Thought Leadership Program 2021. In my presidential address a year ago, I said one of my priorities was to revive the spirit of a learning society and bring thought leadership to the foreground.
The migration of many of our collective conversations to online platforms caused by the COVID-19 pandemic enabled us to do this quickly and was pivotal in bringing this priority alive. The bold and admirable examples set by Covid-19 Actuaries Response Group and the ideas generated and posted by the Actuaries Transformational Change helped create the context for change.
In the meantime, IFoA itself was already changing. Governance changes were leading to the unwinding of the Research and Thought Leadership Board. A motivated executive team was willing to experiment on how best IFoA can be the profession’s voice and enable its members to step out of the shadows.
The generous sponsorship by Dr Patrick Poo gave the Thought Leadership Program further impetus as it enabled us to expend more resources in this direction. Ultimately, the Leadership Team and Council was encouraging and advocating that the profession be bolder to ensure the voice and influence of the profession is stronger in this troubling time.
The above happened in the face of humanity greatest crisis in our lifetime.
I know that a single swallow does not a summer make – and a series of events will not reposition the profession and extend our influence. But this series of events does bring the thought leadership capabilities of actuaries to the foreground and reposition IFoA at the centre of societal debates. It does provide a forum and voice for actuaries in addressing pressing social issues and strategic issues confronting the IFoA and the profession.
If we continue to celebrate and bring thought leadership to the foreground, change the way we think about ourselves, we will begin to change and extend our influence.
The Programme is structured into four sub-series, each with a link to the IFoA’s Visions, Skills, Mindsets and Domains (VSMD) strategy:
IFoA Thought Leadership Series 2021
Presidential Speaker Series (January – July 2021)
26 Jan – Presidential Speaker Series: The New Long Life with Andrew Scott. (235 attendees)
03 Feb – Winter Lecture: What are the options for the world economy looking ahead? With Vicky Pryce. (340 attendees)
24 Feb – Presidential Speaker Series: The Power of Pensions: how can pensions change the future? With Sarah Gordon. (250 attendees)
22 Apr – The Great Risk Transfer (304 attendees)
15 Jun – Pensions Webinar: Mirror, mirror on the wall, is our pensions system fair at all? With Lord David Willetts, Steve Webb, Sally Bridgeland, Allan Martin and John Taylor.
28 Jun – Presidential Speaker Series: In conversation with Dr Patrick Poon.
16 Jul – Presidential Speaker Series: Cultural Transformation of the Profession. With Ronnie Bowie, Paul Thornton, Sally Bridgeland, Tan Suee Chieh and Jane Curtis.
Finance in the Public Interest (March 2021)
16 Mar – Finance in the Public Interest with John Kay. (322 attendees)
17 Mar – Finance in the Public interest with Sir Paul Collier. (269 attendees)
18 Mar – Actuaries in the Public Interest with Ashok Gupta, Nico Aspinall, Nick Silver and Lucy Saye. (251 attendees)
23 Mar – Finance in the Public Interest with Andy Haldane et al. (299 attendees)
Actuarial Innovation in the Covid-19 Era (April & May 2021)
19 Apr – Behavioural Science Series: Wicked Problems, Clumsy Solution and Leading Change with Professor Keith Grint. (280 attendees)
26 Apr to 7 May – Actuarial Innovation in the Covid-19 Era. (3,345 attendees across the fortnight series)
Behavioural Science (May – July 2021)
04 Jun – Behavioural Science Series: The Growth Mindset with Dr Helen Wright.
28 Jun – Behavioural Science Series: Adapting to Uncertainty with Melinda Strudwick, Paul Kaye, Neil Cantle and Andrew Smith.
05 Jul – Behavioural Science Series: Systems Thinking & The Tragedy of Consciousness with Anthony Hodgson.
09 Jul – Behavioural Science Series: Reinventing Your Career “What got you here, won’t get you there” with Professor Herminia Ibarra.
14 Jul – Behavioural Science Series: An Actuary who is only an Actuary, is not an Actuary with David Rooke.