COLLABORATING to avoid risk and waste


Openly sharing the fragments until the puzzle of effectiveness emerges

All of us sensing the many directions where savings and safety are possible

Engaging the day-to-day experiential learning of staff to give us early warnings of risk

Case Story: Westpac

Westpac is Australia’s first and oldest bank. Established in 1817, it remains one of the country’s four major banks and a major influence in the Australian Financial Industry.

As with all major players in any industry today, risk and innovation–both in client-sensitive front office activities and in cost-sensitive back office administration–are critical contributors to growth and bottom-line outcomes. Westpac set as an aspirational target being the most innovative and risk-aware company in the financial services industry. Looking at the people within their organization as their most critical resource, their strategy for reaching this goal was to seek out techniques that promoted their people’s capacity to think differently.

WindTunneling Intervention
WindTunneling was first introduced into the bank as an innovative and ongoing method of identifying and exploring emergent strategic risks. With WindTunneling in place, Westpac was able to pick up potential risks seen by any one of its stakeholders no matter where those risks occurred across the bank’s environment.

Secondly, WindTunneling was used as a means to stimulate innovative ideas for development into business cases and eventual implementation.

In both of these use cases, multiple perspectives–from across the bank and beyond–were brought into creative interactions through the WindTunneling technology.

Value of the intervention to WestPac
During the six years that WindTunneling was in active use at Westpac, many risks were identified that would have had significant potential financial consequences for the bank had they not been intercepted.

Among the innovative ideas generated, several led to innovative products and services which are currently promoted by Westpac.

Actions taken as a result of WindTunneling Outcomes
All outcomes generated by both the risk identification function and the innovative ideas function were taken under serious consideration by senior managers. Many of the outcomes were put immediately into action, and others were incorporated in Sector Annual Business Review processes.

An example of actions taken include mitigation of risks which were identified when WindTunneling uncovered untested assumption in a new program that was to have been a major area of investment for the bank.

WindTunneling is a new social form –

designed by social architects to enable organizations and communities to effectively tap what resources they have and share their knowledge so that they can see and build new options for a preferred future.