Identifying insurance innovation winners


In my completely and totally unbiased view of the world, the most important news of this past week is that Guy Fraker joined us at ITL as our chief innovation officer. I've been a fan of Guy's for many years—in fact, for years before I even met him. The admiration began because my frequent co-author, Chunka Mui, had identified Guy as one of the leading thinkers on driverless cars and had quoted him in a book we did on the topic. Chunka and I felt like we were very early in identifying the importance of autonomous vehicles—we published the book more than four years ago—yet I realized that Guy was ahead of us in many ways. Then I saw Guy speak at an industry conference and was totally sold.

Guy's long history of identifying winners in the insurance industry will help us greatly as we at ITL, in turn, help you figure out which of the more than 1,000 insurtechs we track at the Innovator's Edge will be important and which will not. 

He will address an even bigger problem, too—many companies think that identifying winning technologies and companies is their biggest issue with insurtechs these days, but there's actually a bigger problem out there. That problem is: Once you identify a promising technology or company, how do you bring that inside your company in a way that produces an important new product or even a new business model?

Every successful business is practically designed to stifle innovation brought in from the outside, and, even if you somehow neutralize those corporate antibodies that let existing business units protect their interests, there are many, many ways to fail at innovation. Guy has seen them all and has often even overcome them. Although he doesn't name names, he has consulted on some of the most successful innovation programs I've seen in the industry. 

He will share his expertise through a program we're calling the Innovator's Studio, as part of the Innovator's Edge. Please join me in welcoming Guy to the ITL team. (His email is here, in case you want to contact him directly.) And please share this note with anyone you think might benefit from a conversation with Guy.


Paul Carroll,

Paul Carroll

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Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll is the editor-in-chief of Insurance Thought Leadership.

He is also co-author of A Brief History of a Perfect Future: Inventing the Future We Can Proudly Leave Our Kids by 2050 and Billion Dollar Lessons: What You Can Learn From the Most Inexcusable Business Failures of the Last 25 Years and the author of a best-seller on IBM, published in 1993.

Carroll spent 17 years at the Wall Street Journal as an editor and reporter; he was nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize. He later was a finalist for a National Magazine Award.