ITL FOCUS: Strategic Innovation

ITL FOCUS is a monthly initiative featuring meaningful topics as they relate to innovation in the risk management and insurance industries.

Strategic Innovation




Strategy is what you don't do.

That was the dictum of the late, great Mel Bergstein, who way back in 1994 founded the pioneering digital strategy firm Diamond Management & Technology Consultants. (It became part of PwC in 2010.) I heard Mel's line a lot, as a partner with Diamond from 1996 through 2003, and I think his are words to live by in the insurance industry these days.

Everyone seems to have gotten the memo about the need to digitize insurance and to explore innovative ideas, but the present typically creates a real drag that slows movement toward the future. Some McKinsey partners told me a few years ago about working with a major U.S. insurer that saw itself as being paperless within a decade. When they looked at the budget for the coming year, though... spending on paper was projected to be up 6%. The last I checked, annual increases in a budget item won't get it to zero any time soon.

As you can see from the articles I've selected for this month and from my soon-to-be-shared conversation with Amy Radin, I believe strongly that insurers need to take out a clean sheet of paper and imagine an ideal form of the future five or 10 years out, then work backward to what they should be doing now to create that future. That approach to strategy will mean taking any number of actions -- and stopping many of today's practices, no matter how long they've been "business as usual."

My short form of Mel's line for the insurance industry is: Burn the fax machines.


- Paul Carroll, ITL's Editor-in-Chief



2020 Global Concerns Survey

The International Insurance Society, in collaboration with the Pacific Insurance Conference and Insurance Thought Leadership, conducted its annual survey to understand the concerns of global executives in the insurance industry. This survey found that innovation was a very high priority in 2020, but less than half of respondents have a plan in place.


A Conversation on Corporate Strategy, with Amy Radin

Join ITL’s editor-in-chief Paul Carroll as he sits down to discuss corporate strategy with director, advisor, author and thought leader Amy Radin.


2021: The Great Reset in Insurance

A shift toward greater corporate and social responsibility and empathy in general is underway, and 2021 will bring a great global reset.


How to Think Better by Using 6 Hats

Although Edward de Bono's Six Thinking Hats technique has fallen out of use, it's worth another look at what can be a powerful tool for creativity.


The Intersection of IoT and Ecosystems

Insurers can build a sort of digital twin of the customer, then tailor their offerings and improve the customer experience.


Rise of ‘Product-ism,’ Fall of ‘Project-ism’

Firms struggle because they view AI initiatives as small projects rather than a product requiring continuing maintenance and investment.


The Next Wave of Insurtech

With automated claims processing, the turnaround time for settlement will be measured in minutes rather than days or weeks.


How Low-Code Accelerates Change

Here are three tangible ways that low-code programming lets carriers accelerate change and provide new benefits to customers.



Get to know this month's FOCUS article authors:

Stephen Applebaum

Richard Barbarino

Matteo Carbone

Marty Ellingsworth

Paul Laughlin

Colleen Wells

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Insurance Thought Leadership

Insurance Thought Leadership (ITL) delivers engaging, informative articles from our global network of thought leaders and decision makers. Their insights are transforming the insurance and risk management marketplace through knowledge sharing, big ideas on a wide variety of topics, and lessons learned through real-life applications of innovative technology.

We also connect our network of authors and readers in ways that help them uncover opportunities and that lead to innovation and strategic advantage.


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