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Integrated Reporting: Don’t aim for perfection. Just get in the mood and go.

19 Feb 2019 by Mike Tisdall

I see too many clients hesitating to get on the integrated reporting bus. Often because they perceive that there’s a lot of internal change needing to happen before this is possible. Sometimes it’s because...

Marketing & Communications
integrated reporting: don’t aim for perfection. just get in the mood and go. mike tisdall

i see too many clients hesitating to get on the integrated reporting bus. often because they perceive that there’s a lot of internal change needing to happen before this is possible. sometimes it’s because they’re waiting for leadership and board to make such a far-reaching decision. but equally often it’s because they don’t know quite where to start. this article is designed to help you conquer all of the above and get started on the journey anyway.

certainly, if the aim is for a fully-fledged, assurance-quality integrated report, then a lot of ducks need to be lined up, and the board needs to make an active and mindful decision.

but here’s the thing: the <ir> report is not an absolute. so you don’t need to tick all their boxes to get started. even if you use the framework as it is intended – as a framework – to guide your approach, you’ll be on the bus. personally, i spent too long thinking of the <ir> principles as ‘must haves’ in total. i’ve since learnt that while this comprehensiveness is an end-game goal, it’s the ‘notion’ that has the most power. and the iirc (international integrated reporting council) themselves will applaud you for just starting on the journey, because they know you’ll only get better from there, over time.

i have <ir> clients that don’t call their report an integrated report but are starting to apply some of the core principles to their approach. they know that when they grow up they want to be a ‘real’ integrated report. but they also know that this is a game that you can’t master overnight.

so think about starting the integrated reporting journey as <ir> on trainer wheels. perhaps you can’t yet join all the dots between the various action streams to cross-credit cause and effect. perhaps you haven’t quite got the board across the line yet. but those things aren’t a barrier to applying the integrated reporting lens to your report.

so, where to start

the following are very subjective views on what principles you should include in order to start on the journey. a purist may well disagree – after all there are a whole 19 requirements in the <ir> framework, and some are more onerous than others. but what’s important here is the spirit - and in the spirit of ‘extended external reporting’ and using some the framework ideas in <ir>, here’s where i’d be thinking:

  1. tell the story of how you create value over time. this shows you understand your business drivers, how your business model makes money and has the right impacts on people and planet. if you do that right, the story should be unique, separating your company from others you’re competing with – for capital, for talent, for distribution, for consumers.
  2. purpose beyond profit. as soon as you start thinking about the impacts you’re having beyond money-making, somehow the ground shifts and you start thinking differently about business. the really strange thing is that the research shows that companies that think more broadly and apply systems thinking to their entire operation, end up making more money and lowering their cost of capital. go figure, but the facts speak for themselves.
  3. risk. being aware of future, potential, latent risk is the first step towards resilience to it. that’s making your business sustainable. and that’s my definition of ‘sustainability’. whether that’s competition risk, supply chain risk, talent risk, climate change risk – if you’ve got a plan to mitigate it, you’re more likely to survive. your capital providers, talent pool, suppliers and consumers tend to like survival.
  4. future focus. closely linked with risk, but also looping in opportunities, looking ahead and having clear strategies to optimise on both provides comfort and trust.
  5. strategy. lay out your core plan. what activations are you planning to achieve your purpose, mitigate risk, minimise harm, assure future sustainability, meet your stakeholders most important needs, and make the desired profit. belief equals trust.
  6. materiality. i have a far too simplistic view of materiality, i acknowledge. but where possible, i like to keep things simple. the big benefit of knowing what your stakeholders hold as most important means that you can focus your strategic plan around those – and here’s the free set of steak knives: you only need to report on those, keeping your report concise.
  7. connectivity. now we start to get a bit more woolly, and some things you do over there may be hard to prove affect what happens over here. but others are much easier to connect. if sanford don’t look after the ocean environment and fish stocks, for example, they may have trouble with their product volumes in a few years with kick-on risks in talent acquisition and regulatory controls among other fatal problems. so where you can show multiple impacts on your business strategy from a particular stance, initiative or policy, join the dots in your report.
  8. frank and balanced. openness and transparency is what’s expected now, whether it’s an integrated report or not. the whole notion of ‘extended external reporting’ is to build trust in the organisation through disclosure and transparency.

if you believe you can tell a story around most of the above eight points, then you’re well on your way to being able produce a report that’s in the right spirit. over the years, your company’s thinking will mature, the performance data will become available, your thinking and reporting will become more sophisticated, and one day you may feel comfortable to label your report an integrated report.

don’t wait until you can tick all 19 boxes before you start. use the <ir> framework as a principles touchstone and to shift your mindset, and get going at whatever level is right for your company.

integrated reporting, getting started on integrated reporting, , insight creative

Storytelling for the Charities sector

03 Oct 2017 by Mike Tisdall

The charity sector in New Zealand is facing new reporting standards with the gradual adoption of Statement of Service Performance (SSP) in addition to the traditional financial reporting. RSM New Zealand, an...

Marketing & Communications
storytelling for the charities sector mike tisdall

the charity sector in new zealand is facing new reporting standards with the gradual adoption of statement of service performance (ssp) in addition to the traditional financial reporting.

rsm new zealand, an accounting and audit firm with a leadership position in the not-for-profit sector, held a seminar in mid-september to coach management in the skills needed to meet the new requirements, report beyond financials, and optimise the telling of their story.  

insight’s founder and strategist, mike tisdall, outlined some key tools to help these organisations structure their thinking, understand their audiences, plan perception shifts, and simplify and clarify their key messaging. using mainly corporate best practice examples, mike was able to show the audience how storytelling can reach out to both hearts and minds by capturing the soul of the organisation, painting the vision and supporting the big picture with facts and data to indicate progress towards the goals.

examples from the corporate world included mercury, vector, sanford, auckland airport and ravensdown. but insight has also been applying these storytelling principles to selected nfps for a number of years, and shared a series of award winning reports for stand children’s services (previously children’s health camps) to show how the principles can easily make the transition from corporates to charities.

mike tisdall, storytelling, reporting, not-for-profits, charities sector, statements of service performance

How much is design worth to the NZ economy?

02 Aug 2017 by Mike Tisdall

A new study by PWC released last week calculates design's economic contribution to New Zealand is $10.1 billion - yes, that's BILLION. Approximately 4.2 % of the country's total GDP. The research reveals that if...

Marketing & Communications
how much is design worth to the nz economy? mike tisdall

a new study by pwc released last week calculates design's economic contribution to new zealand is $10.1 billion - yes, that's billion. approximately 4.2 % of the country's total gdp. the research reveals that if design were treated as an individual industry its contribution to the new zealand economy would be larger than agriculture and on a par with retail trade ($10.6 billion), and food, beverage and tobacco product manufacturing. the sector also provides approximately 94,200 fte design positions in new zealand, roughly 4.4 per cent of employment.

the value of design report was commissioned by designco, a consortium which comprises massey university’s college of creative arts, the designers institute of new zealand, otago polytechnic school of design, nzte, aut’s school of art and design, the auckland co-design lab, callaghan innovation and victoria university’s school of design. 

finance minister stephen joyce expressed his excitement in his forward to the report: “design is a powerful tool of the modern, interconnected world,” he said. “it is a key component of innovation, turning great ideas into services and products that consumers want to buy and use, it can help ensure that public services are user-friendly and more efficient, and it can help make cities more attractive places for citizens and skilled migrants to live and work. in short, these design-led firms are contributing to new zealand’s success as a diversified, resilient and growing economy.”

professor claire robinson, pro vice chancellor at massey's college of creative arts and convener of designco, was even more succinct. “there is a strong correlation between national prosperity, economic growth and a thriving design sector,” she said. “international evidence confirms that design leads to more competitive firms making and selling higher value products and services."

among designco’s recommendations for future actions are:

  • treasury to develop a national design strategy in collaboration with the new zealand design sector.
  • establish and fund a body similar to the uk design council responsible for the strategic coordination of design in new zealand, bringing together the design industry, research and education.
  • establish a programme of business support for the use of design by smes, similar to the nzte better by design programme.
  • increase targeted funding support for design-led service transformation in the public sector.
  • widen the current conceptualisation of stem to include creative arts subjects such as design and creative media production, and increase the efts funding for these subject areas.
  • establish a dedicated research fund for design researchers to access, and infrastructure to support the allocation of funds (separate from science, health or arts funding).

you can see the value of design report in full here.




design, economic contribution

Big Ideas start small

24 Jul 2017 by Mike Tisdall

In the June issue, CEO, Steven Giannoulis, tells NZMarketing magazine that 'good design should always deliver business results for the client'. In NZMarketing's research for the prior issue of the magazine, marketers...

Marketing & Communications
big ideas start small mike tisdall

in the june issue, ceo, steven giannoulis, tells nzmarketing magazine that 'good design should always deliver business results for the client'. in nzmarketing's research for the prior issue of the magazine, marketers expressed their frustration at an industry generally more interested in winning creative awards than truly helping the client - something steven had been on the receiving end of when he worked client-side. this is part of the reason he does everything he can to ensure that the work that insight develops actually drives value for the client.

click the image to read the full article.


ideas, driving value

Airways appoints Insight Creative as their design agency

12 Jun 2017 by Mike Tisdall

We're excited to have been appointed as Airways Corporation's design & digital agency after a rigorous competitive pitch. Airways controls all domestic and international air traffic across 30 million square...

Marketing & Communications
airways appoints insight creative as their design agency mike tisdall

we're excited to have been appointed as airways corporation's design & digital agency after a rigorous competitive pitch.

airways controls all domestic and international air traffic across 30 million square kilometres of airspace in new zealand and over the pacific, handling over 1 million air traffic movements a year.

but what's a little less known in nz is that they are renowned globally for leading innovation and development in the aviation sector, with 780 staff delivering air navigation and air traffic management consultancy and training services in over 65 countries!

it's going to be a fascinating and fun journey . . .

airways, insight creative

Tamaki Regeneration drop in a big box

16 Mar 2017 by Mike Tisdall

Our client, Tāmaki  Regeneration Company, really want people to know what's happening in the Tāmaki , Glen Innes and Panmure area. So they've dropped a big box into the neighbourhood that opens next Monday. ...

Marketing & Communications
tamaki regeneration drop in a big box mike tisdall

our client, tāmaki regeneration company, really want people to know what's happening in the tāmaki, glen innes and panmure area. so they've dropped a big box into the neighbourhood that opens next monday.

the container will move around within the tāmaki community - to community events or neighbourhoods breaking new ground. when open, the box will be manned by tāmaki representatives and the inside features detailed information regarding new housing developments, the story of tāmaki and what regeneration means, as well as a timeline, progress and future projects. and a touchscreen featuring interactive maps.

the container is powered by solar panels and includes a retractable awning to ensure it can operate in all weather conditions. our design is bold and bright, and on message: tāmaki is an awesome place to be!


tamaki regeneration, marketing, community engagement

Silver for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei

18 Oct 2016 by Mike Tisdall

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei's 2015 Annual Report suite has been awarded Silver in the 2016 Best Awards among an elite field in the Ngā Aho category. Ngā Aho is the Network fo Maori Design professionals who partner with...

Marketing & Communications
silver for ngāti whātua Ōrākei mike tisdall

ngāti whātua Ōrākei's 2015 annual report suite has been awarded silver in the 2016 best awards among an elite field in the ngā aho category.

ngā aho is the network fo maori design professionals who partner with the designers institute of new zealand to award design that reflects a clear understanding of who we are and where we are in our unique corner of moana nui a kiwa, the pacific ocean, and that results from meaningful collaboration. 

a full case study tracing the communication strategy and creative solution for this project can be viewed here.

overall, insight creative achieved four finalists in this year's best awards.


ngati whatua, best awards,

Kermadecs programme results in success

29 Sep 2015 by Mike Tisdall

Today, at the United Nations, John Key announced that the waters around the Kermadec Islands would become one of the largest ocean sanctuaries in the world. Just over 5 years ago we started working with PEW...

Marketing & Communications
kermadecs programme results in success mike tisdall

today, at the united nations, john key announced that the waters around the kermadec islands would become one of the largest ocean sanctuaries in the world.

just over 5 years ago we started working with pew charitable trust to make this happen. we knew that the first step was to raise public and political consciousness around the uniqueness and fragility of the waters above the stunning kermadec trench. 

our goal was to make the invisible visible, bringing the beauty of the kermedecs to the forefront and reinforcing with politicians and other influencers the importance of preserving this naturally beautiful landscape. 

that programme kicked off with a rallying visual identity, an awareness building website and a scientific symposium at te papa - all designed to focus informed attention upon this unique natural cornucopia on our doorstep. the lobbying pressure was kept up with a whole lot of marketing, promotional and lobbying material. and then we developed the next phase of the programme with a view to creating a 'long and enduring tail' to this campaign - working closely with pew, we arranged for a group of new zealand artists to hitch a berth on an nz navy frigate following the kermadec trench up to raoul island. their resulting inspiring works have now travelled the length and breadth of new zealand's leading art galleries, creating more awareness and drawing more attention to this exceptional place and its vulnerability, and are now working their way around the world.

the programme followed the classic aida behaviour change formula: raising awareness of the kermadecs, arousing interest in the area's specialness, stimulating desire to protect it, and finally prompting the action we have seen announced this morning.

we are exceptionally proud of our work and the role it has played to achieving this incredible result. we believe we have made a significant contribution to our client and to our environment.

read more about the work we did on our website case studies:

a place to visit in your imagination - the kermadecs website

visual feast to fuel deep conversation - the kermadecs science symposium




kermadecs, lobbying, design

Christchurch: you can see the momentum now . . .

14 Sep 2015 by Mike Tisdall

We’ve worked with the team at CERA & CCDU for over 4 years now. We've seen first hand how hard they work for the people of Christchurch - and just how tough a challenge the rebuild actually is. They truly are...

Marketing & Communications
christchurch: you can see the momentum now . . . mike tisdall

we’ve worked with the team at cera & ccdu for over 4 years now. we've seen first hand how hard they work for the people of christchurch - and just how tough a challenge the rebuild actually is. they truly are great bunch of people whose efforts mainly go unrecognised or are undervalued, so it's great to see a document like this one that really brings home the huge amount they’ve actually achieved. it's equally great to see some of our work included in this timely milestone document

cera. christchurch rebuild

Insight judges the TVNZ Marketing Awards

18 Jun 2015 by Mike Tisdall

CEO, Steven Giannoulis, has been selected as a judge of the prestigious TVNZ Marketing Awards for 2015. He says: "Entries have to describe the business strategy and objectives, the marketing strategy and all the...

Marketing & Communications
insight judges the tvnz marketing awards mike tisdall

ceo, steven giannoulis, has been selected as a judge of the prestigious tvnz marketing awards for 2015.

he says: "entries have to describe the business strategy and objectives, the marketing strategy and all the tactics they put in place. they have to document the insights/research which lead to the campaign approach. and they need to supply tangible results against targets – sales charts, brand awareness monitor scores, click-thru data etc. judges are not provided the creative outputs (and we are encouraged not to refer to them) to stop us judging the quality of a campaign on how much we like the visual execution.

"there’s some amazing work and some incredible thinking which i have found very inspiring.

"two key learnings:  (1) a well written entry makes all the difference – there were some amazing entries but they just didn’t sell what made them great campaigns. i have over 50 campaigns to judge, so don’t make me have to work hard to find out what you did and if it was any good; and (2) they need to have a very clear and direct connection between the business challenge, the insights into the audience, the marketing/comms strategy, the key messages, the channels selected and the big campaign idea.

"votes are in and i have a full day next thursday to review the finalists and hand out the ribbons! i feel like an x-factor judge."


judging, marketing awards

Cross channel communication for Mighty River Power

16 Apr 2015 by Mike Tisdall

Hot off the press . . . this stakeholder newsletter for Mighty River Power was designed for screen and print from the get go. Seamless communication.    ...

Marketing & Communications
cross channel communication for mighty river power mike tisdall

hot off the press . . . this stakeholder newsletter for mighty river power was designed for screen and print from the get go. seamless communication.



mighty river power newsletter, online, print

IBBY Congress website goes live and gains instant plaudits

06 Mar 2015 by Mike Tisdall

In less than 24 hours, this is the feedback received on the new IBBY Congress website that went live yesterday morning. The following is mostly from NZ so far, but some of this is from countries like Switzerland,...

Marketing & Communications
ibby congress website goes live and gains instant plaudits mike tisdall

in less than 24 hours, this is the feedback received on the new ibby congress website that went live yesterday morning. the following is mostly from nz so far, but some of this is from countries like switzerland, scandinavia and moldova!

see the site here.

feedback re ibby congress website

  • congratulations and huge thanks to mike and his team. we simple could not be at this stage without his patience, ‘insight and creativity’. we, storylines and ibby congress planners, are very fortunate to have had his expertise and willing support.
  • how absolutely wonderful, rosemary. thanks to mike and you for all the work that has made it one of the most wonderful websites for a conference i think i have ever seen!
  • wow
  • looks absolutely great – very clear and easy to access! a huge well done, mike and team. congratulations.
  • fantastic rosemary – a huge milestone! will be sharing a lot – just saw it (and liked it) via frances on facebook!
  • just brilliant!
  • well done to mike and his team. have just cruised and perused the site and it is fabulous indeed.  the look, the feel, ben’s illustrations, the enticing content, relating both to the conference and to nz as a destination.
  • i agree! it looks really wonderful and the initial ideas still stand up superbly well. if i was 24 hours away i would want to come! (and the nz video has given me a great big lump in my throat … true pride! ). thank you rosemary, libby and all. thank you mike, it is brilliant!
  • brilliant! congratulations to mike and his team. very easy to navigate and looks great
  • looks wonderful – congrats to mike and his team. and to rosemary and libby for creating such compelling content.
  • ditto. great job by mike and his team and supported by the committee
  • completely gorgeous! how could anyone resist!
  • beautiful! enticing, one would hope
  • joining chorus of compliments for the website – looks fabulous, clean, user-friendly and very appealing. well done, all folks involved – especially to mike, who i gather has had something to do with it!
  • thought you might like to know that it has gone out internationally. and my facebook post has been picked up by friends in australia and japan so far. amazing job, rosemary
  • i have been exploring the website further and it is really excellent! the information is clear, comprehensive and easy to find, and the design is so clear and fresh. yes, it is fantastic! (ibby international president, lucerne, switzerland)
  • congratulations! on a beautiful, easy to navigate, interesting and fun congress website. (ibby international coo, lucerne, switzerland)
  • the website looks fantastic. the nz page with the 10 must see places looks great.
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