Global Health Innovative Technology Fund sets new benchmarks for governance with Diligent Boards
Since its establishment in Tokyo in 2013 to advance Japan’s contribution to global health, the Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund has invested in over 90 projects focusing on the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases that impact the prosperity and longevity of the developing world.
“Diligent Boards is the ideal governance tool for GHIT. It is specifically designed to benefit Directors and those staff responsible for producing Board reports. It has streamlined the collaboration and communication for each Board member equally, plus delivered a raft of administration benefits and helped lower our costs and impact on the environment.”
Vice President, External Affairs & Corporate Development
The GHIT Board of Directors is a dynamic mix of global health experts, Japanese government ministers and a representative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust. The Board’s charter is to oversee the operations of a leadership team and selection committee aiming to fund and develop game-changing innovations for global health.
This laser-like focus on collaboration is extended to GHIT’s quarterly Board meetings, requiring extensive Board packs to be circulated in hard copy and digital format to Directors located around the world. GHIT scheduled two face to face Board meetings and two virtual Board meetings annually.
Diligent Boards was championed to the GHIT Board by a Director already using the Diligent Boards solution and supportive of its benefits. Following a presentation to the Board by Diligent, GHIT now trusts Diligent Boards to deliver a secure and highly functional digital governance platform to streamline its collaboration and decision-making processes.
“Diligent Boards has established a new level of efficiency for our Board members. We are driven by medical research and development projects, and this means we have a large number of materials for the Directors to read before each meeting. Diligent Boards helps our Directors locate and analyse information ahead of each meeting,” said Bumpei Tamamura, Senior Director, Brand Communications. “The entire Board has greater oversight and greater confidence, knowing this is the final document they are reviewing. It supports good governance.”
[5 days] reduction in preparation for hard copy Board packs per Board meeting
[100% transparency] into version control guaranteeing only relevant information accessible
[12x] democratisation of Board packs with each Director experiencing the same materials and standard of communication
Harnessing the pack
Before using Diligent Boards, the GHIT External Affairs team was responsible for the preparation, collation and distribution of hard-copy and electronic Board packs for its Board and executives. With some board packs reaching 300 pages long, it was a mammoth task to co-ordinate draft reviews, agenda and table of contents updates together with last-minute changes according to Saho Kitawaki, Senior Manager External Engagement.
“There were always significant challenges in producing Board packs for each meeting. Every time you needed to update any changes, you would have to administrate the entire set to ensure it was 100 per cent accurate,” she said.
The production of Board packs was complex, according to Saho. Amendments needed to be tracked across multiple copies – usually, around 23 sets – and re-paginating full sets became a major task. Additionally, this ended up being outsourced to meet last-minute changes and deadlines, with staff finalising all hard copy packs after-hours.
Board Directors outside of Japan had to download electronic copies with challenges receiving, downloading and printing of such large packs being experienced on multiple occasions.
Realising collaboration objectives
GHIT has rationalised Board collaboration by transforming its management of Board packs, helping its Directors better prepare for meetings and manage their governance responsibilities.
Diligent Boards was implemented in December 2019 with online training for the Board completed shortly after that delivering a consistent user experience for everyone.
Today all Board members can select how they want to receive information, with user-friendly iPad devices or web-browser access via their PC, ensuring GHIT Board information remains secure yet convenient. The take-up rate for Diligent Boards is 100 per cent.
Pioneering better outcomes
Considerable environment benefits have been achieved with the reduction of paper from the Board pack process.
“The benefit of Diligent Boards and a centralised platform is our Directors now have better oversight on agendas, board packs, and with a couple of clicks know the version they are seeing is current and accurate. This better supports our highly collaborative vision to pioneer health solutions in the developing world. A more collaborative board is more likely to be able to realise its goals,” concluded Daisuke Imoto.
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