In this month’s member interview series we feature Lee McDougall, Manager, Shared Value Projects at IAG, about her experience with shared value and the role she plays within the organisation in collaborating and testing for new ideas for products, services and partnerships that have the potential to create positive change for their customers and the communities in which they live.
What does shared value mean to you?
I believe shared value represents a tremendous opportunity for transforming the way we do business, for collaborating in new ways and for making a truly meaningful difference to some of our world’s most complex issues.
I’ve been energised and motivated by the emergence of shared value. It genuinely resonates with our people, resulting in increased buy in, engagement and championing of initiatives that create business and social value.
What lead you individually to the shared value idea? How did you come across it?
I don’t see shared value as a new approach. In essence, it has underpinned my thinking and practice since becoming a CSR/sustainability professional more than a decade ago in the UK. The seminal Porter & Kramer HBR article and subsequent research and case studies have simply reinforced and enhanced my professional practice, making it easier to qualify what I do from a commercial perspective.
How is shared value playing a role within IAG and where are you at on the journey?
Shared value is one of the key ways in which IAG is delivering on our purpose of helping make your world a safer place. It’s embedded in our strategy, business planning processes and leadership programs.
As Australia’s first corporate Shared Value team, we have developed a framework outlining our commitment to creating safer, strong and more confident communities across the eight areas where our business is best placed to make an impact. We’re using that to champion shared value as a way of better protecting our customers and differentiating our business in the face of rapid change.
There’s an argument to say that insurance is in its own right shared value and IAG has been helping people respond to and recover from disasters since 1851. We also credit the IAG Research Centre, established more than 20 years ago, as pioneering our approach to shared value. By improving the safety of vehicles and roads, the Centre is helping to reduce the economic and social costs of road accidents while also reducing IAG’s claims costs. More recently, we have entered new territories such as Insurance 4 That, a single item insurance solution that provides a more affordable option for people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford traditional contents insurance.
We’re constantly challenging ourselves to go beyond business as usual and deliver impactful and scalable shared value.
What is your role individually within IAG to support the organisation along its shared value journey?
As well as contributing to the ongoing evolution of our shared value approach, I have a licence to collaborate and test new ideas for products, services and partnerships that have the potential to create positive change for our customers and the communities in which they live.
A big part of my role is to connect with and empower people across IAG to consider how they might address social issues through their day-to-day work. At the moment, I’m working with some cross-functional teams to explore how we might improve road safety in high crash zones and flood monitoring in areas susceptible to flash flooding, while also partnering with targeted at-risk communities on a couple of bushfire recovery and resilience programs.
How has practicing shared value helped you individually in your role or career more generally?
As well as opening doors to a wider range of stakeholders across IAG and beyond, shared value has helped me to grow my commercial acumen, apply design-thinking approaches to generate and test ideas and explore new ways of partnering for change.
Through our team’s efforts to champion shared value, I have also worked closely with the Shared Value Project including our partnership to establish the Centre for Shared Value.
What do you think are some pertinent issues in Australia that could be solved through creating shared value?
Shared value has the potential to solve or at least be part of the solution to a wide range of issues. We’re only limited by our imaginations, and many of the solutions are probably already out there waiting for us to apply them in a different way.
The most pertinent issues for IAG as an insurer, include safety at work, home and on the road; resilience to natural perils; insurance access and affordability and social resilience.