Beyond Bank Australia CEO, Robert Keogh delivered a key note address at the BCCM’s Leaders’ Summit last week in Canberra, considering the opportunities for co-operatives and mutual enterprises (CMEs) in the new economy.

In his address, Mr Keogh’s premise was that CMEs have a competitive advantage over the bigger corporate entities because of the their ability to :

  • meet the growing demand for quality from consumers – i.e. stakeholders, not shareholders. They have a shared value with a genuine and equal focus on economic and social outcomes.
  • purpose – they can meet the needs of people who are deeply interested in what an organisation exists and what it stands for
  • value – they are fluid and agile in meeting community needs at a grassroots level
  • connection to customers is enshrined in their culture

Further, he identified a shift towards a stronger reliance on communities to take ownership of issues, services and outcomes (as seen in the significant backlash against the major banks). CMEs instead are seen as more trustworthy.

In his closing comments, Mr Keogh said “…our new economy, our new age is one that is open, connected and collaborative. We will see more innovation, more agile thinking as we work out new ways to do things. We will see more revenue opportunities, more efficiencies and better outcomes for customers, staff, communities.”

“Importantly, these new partnerships will be built on an old fashioned concept – trust, because we will all share the same purpose and values – we are all in it together.”

This new style will put CMEs at a real advantage and already we are seeing it happen around the world concluded Mr Keogh, mentioning the main theme to come out of the recent International Summit of Cooperatives in Quebec of ‘going further together’.

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