This will be your place for sharing resources, building and improving on them, and bringing back learnings with peers, so that you can benefit from the industry-wide knowledge and experience of the membership pool. You may have seen our recent article on planning a return to operations post-COVID 19 for example – we provided some guidelines, but these can be built upon and improved by shared learnings and collaboration as the situation progresses.
Specialisation is one of the major benefits of a mutual. Mutuals usually comprise members with a commonality of interest, which together hold a wealth of shared knowledge and valuable industry- or sector-specific data and expertise.

At Unimutual, as a sector-created, member-owned, not-for-profit risk protection partner, we are experts on the risks of Australia's higher education and research sector, and we stay very close to your operations to enable our team to continually spot risks, offer improvements and recommendations, and provide useable resources for your risk management. We share claims experience, risk management learnings and developments across our member base.

But that is only half the benefit. We also serve as a conduit for member forums and dialogue. We facilitate it, but the collegiality and cooperation that you as Members enjoy and benefit from comes from between Members ​– at the annual conference, Member forums and webinars, or in instances such as UTAS sharing its flood experience or ANU sharing its cyber experience. This means collaboratively working towards improvements for faster and more sophisticated solutions to industry problems.

Gamechanger: the open source model

The other place this happen is in open source communities. The open source model is a decentralized development model that is powered by open collaboration, community sharing and improvement to create blueprints faster and better than any individual effort, and in a more financially viable way.

Just like with the mutual, it is not developers but users who are the most important part of an open source project – nothing is more valuable than your constant, direct experience which provides insights that lead to further improvements and modifications.

That is why we have decided to establish this open source portal for members, as a repository for shared resources – particularly at this time, when the industry as a whole faces significant challenges and headwinds.

Open source has been an incredible power for fast change and innovation. Open source technology is used in everything smart home technology (like Google Nest), to televisions, to cars (including, Tesla, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, and Toyota). The open-source community is currently building a medical kit to fight coronavirus. And open source created the largest and most popular reference site on the web: Wikipedia.

In this area, members have a shared goal – both because of the shared risk and insurance and reinsurance profile they share as part of the mutual, and because of the financial and operational challenges posed by the current and future environment. It is in everyone’s best interests that Australian higher education, university, and research organisations optimise their risk management and grow stronger and adapt to changing circumstances.
Unipedia: Unimutual Members’ Open Source Resources portal

User Guide

That is why we are establishing this open source portal to host shared and collaborative resources for Members – here we hope to build the Wikipedia of  higher education, university, and research risk management tools.

Just like open source software programmers, you can access each other’s blueprints and build on it for mutual good: fix bugs, improve functions, or adapt it to suit your needs. In this collaborative environment, you can share your ideas and contribute them to be modified, changed, improved and then shared again, creating a continuous improvement cycle.

Documents might include procedures, protocols or risk management policies, etc. Once you send them to us, we will remove any identifying features and created a template document which will be shared below for other Members to use and modify to create their own documents. Acknowledgement will always be made of the organisation contributing the document, unless otherwise requested.

The sharing and collaboration of ideas is fundamental to mutuality. We encourage you to embrace the spirit of open source as you have mutuality, and share your resources and insights, and contribute to others’. Through peer production and addition to each other’s work, you can continue to build an invaluable toolkit for your own de-risking, sustainability, resilience and success.

To add a resource to the Open Source Resource portal, please send it to Kerry French.

Open Source Resources

The following resources are currently available from your peers. We will continue to add resources here as you send them in or add to them, and will likely categorise them as the list grows.

More content available to Members Only

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Next: Read ‘In Praise of the Mutual’ to understand more about the mutual structure and how it differs from for-profit enterprises.