Nevertheless, reading between the lines of the study by the Australian Institute of Company Directors in partnership with the University of Sydney Business School, it is clear the ASX is a role model for what not to do.

Massimo Garbuio, associate professor in the Business School’s discipline of strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship, says one of the most worrying aspects of the survey was the response to the question about AI.

When asked about their organisation’s ability to identify the risks associated with AI technologies, 49 per cent of respondents said their organisations did not use AI.

Garbuio says most companies use AI chatbots in their customer call centres, which makes him think that directors are not even aware that their companies are using AI.

“If that statistic about half the directors believing they do not use AI is true, it is very worrisome,” he says.

Garbuio says it is also worrying that only 8 per cent of respondents said their companies were “actively identifying and addressing AI risks”.


“That’s again, a problem because they don’t know the questions to ask management about AI,” he says.

“The most interesting part of the study was when I was interviewing the directors. You are either are a very curious director that wants to learn and tries to understand new technology and how to manage new technologies, or you actually need to think about how you start to incorporate that in the boardroom.

“Boards need directors that have experience with those new technologies, such as blockchain and AI.

“In the end, it means boards should have younger directors because they have run some start-ups or have worked in a consulting capacity very recently with those technologies, and they know inside-out how they work.”

But the AICD study found that when asked what skills were required, only 8 per cent said their board needed “experience in a start-up or other high growth organisational setting”.

The study said: “Boardrooms need to start including directors who have lived organisational innovation in their careers. Only by having experienced the challenges and opportunities of innovation, can they challenge and indeed support management effectively.


“One director referred to the concept of a T-shaped approach to board composition, which is evident in organisations which are more mature in terms of innovation: all directors (not just three) should be innovation literate (displaying the innovation mindset), but at least some directors should have had deep functional experience in innovation.”

Garbuio says at least three members of a 10-member board of directors should have experience in implementing complex technology projects.

He says it is a concern that many companies involved in the study were not collaborating with start-ups and other innovative companies. This was of equal importance to the need for relevant tech and data skills.