I left the annual ASFA conference last week with some truly memorable moments.

I think the tone was really set with the opening address from Buzz Aldrin. As you may know Buzz Aldrin had a plan to travel to Mars, and visiting the moon as a consolation prize! In his mid 80’s he is an inspiration and proof positive that passion wins out over process every day. The guy flew fighters, carried nuclear weapons, and went to the moon, and he’s still travelling the globe.

Next up was Ian Silk who set the tone with a compelling Industry oration, calling on us all to deal with issues authentically and with the highest of integrity. Ian challenged us to accept that only when we do this will the member be truly at the centre of our industry. Inspiring words.

Passion, and more particularly passion for the customer was front and centre in most of the sessions. One of the most intriguing was Cass Sunstein and his journey through the concept of Nudge, the new approach to better decision making. Where strong incentives and disincentives give way to simple behavioural “nudges” to encourage active choosing, and inevitably influence in our case policy decision making.

Different ways of dealing with the member/customer also permeated the conference, whose positive Thrive theme was picked up time and again.

The session on Beyond SuperStream, dealt with the game changing potential of the New Payments Platform (NPP), with Roland Slee from Bravura blue-skying a future where payments become an information superhighway, disrupting many of our pillars of understanding about payments and customer centricity and expectation. We were able to nod knowingly given IQ Group’s experience with overseas NPP implementations. And we recently covered this here, read on.

The Change Leadership session – the role of technology, seemed to be less about technology, and more about the fundamentals of change, with organisations such as Nab, Link, ASX and UniSuper on the panel, this session highlighted the crucial need of aligning the culture of the organisation, firmly behind any attempt to put the customer centre. It was refreshing to hear stories of success, and failures. However what shone through was a passion for their organisation and clarity of purpose.

Finally from my perspective the most used word at the conference was of course Digital. The conference emphasised (as if this was necessary) the compounding impact that Digital engagement was having on our industry. We saw many sessions dealing with the challenges that come from organisations new to integrating services, rather than just consume them, from a rapidly widening range of sources. We have had quite a bit to say on Digital this year and the conference validated our research and thoughts in this dominant arena. We covered this topic with our research earlier this year – head here for more info.

So that was another year wrapped up. Here’s to 2016 and all it brings.


Brian Peters