Volans drives market-based solutions to the future's greatest challenges.


Breakthrough Breakfast Series: Accelerating Breakthroughs in Finance

5 April 2013
London, UK

In partnership with the Tellus Mater Foudation, Volans hosted the inaugural breakthrough breakfast which saw a gathering of 10 professionals across the mainstream and social finance sector gather to talk ‘breakthrough’.

A number of themes were explored, including:


There are very few, if any, examples of breakthrough in the world of mainstream finance. Impact investments in social outcomes are coming largely from philanthropists and foundations, and environmental investments are largely driven by new technologies and financial return, over the environmental impact. How do we move from change-as-usual to breakthrough finance?

Changing the rules

It’s increasingly difficult to deal with the margins of the system. We need to change the rules to upend vested interests by regulators and mainstream players. Integrated reporting is moving in this direction, but more needs to be done.


Competitive dynamics can both hinder and advance breakthrough in the financial sector. We discussed the role of crowdsourcing and incentives in re-defining success.

Intergenerational thinking

Long-term thinking is still rare in the financial industry, but there were glimmers of hope that the younger generation will think and act differently, if given an opportunity to challenge the status quo. Healthcare, climate change and pensions are intergenerational fault lines. How can we demonstrate that breakthrough thinking in these areas can help mitigate risk?

Leverage points

Thanks to a somewhat overdone spine metaphor, we explored pressure points that could “re-align the spine” – both those that have been used in the past, and ones that could be used in the future. These included: pension funds, greater transparency around long-term risk & externalities, full disclosure in fund management, ethical oaths / pledges and impact-based training for analysts and business students.

In partnership with: