Innovation is at the top of every CEO’s agenda. Yet — despite innovation being a burning priority — why do most innovation initiatives fail to take off?
Consider these findings:
54% of innovating companies struggle to bridge the gap between innovation and business strategies.[i]
83% of strategic transformation initiatives fail.[ii]
64% of global executives say a lack of skills is restricting their ability to innovate.
While most companies want to innovate, only a few carriers know how to innovate systemically. A culture of continuous innovation requires a steady stream of ideas. Ideas you can filter, test, and implement quickly and efficiently.
However, in the real world, innovation is often treated like a project, not a process.
Often the ideas originate from a small group of people — usually senior leaders or the C-suite — and cascade down to the rest of the organization. Many leaders believe their employees will automatically rally behind the idea, do whatever it takes, and push it over the finish line.
But it doesn’t happen that way. Many of these ideas do not get implemented. Employees are either not invested in the idea, do not fully understand its importance, or feel a sense of ownership — and the initiative fails.
Other times, an idea may originate from the frontline. But with a lack of a formal process to solicit feedback, allocate resources, and get stakeholder buy-in, the idea goes nowhere.
“The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” — Thomas Edison
Supercharge innovation with an innovation accelerator
For innovation to succeed, you must bring cross-functional teams together — within and outside the organization — to share their knowledge, experience, and perspectives and approach challenges in new ways.
“Innovation thrives less on individual genius and more on tapping into and maximizing the collective knowledge of the organization.”
Only through a disciplined, repeatable, and collaborative approach can carriers get new ideas to market faster while mitigating delivery and operational risk. An innovation accelerator like OZ Ignite helps you build the proper process to mine, test, and transform your best ideas into innovation initiatives that drive profitable growth.
Three Keys to Innovation Success: Collaboration, Process, Speed
Collaboration: Bring Ideas and Teams Together
Does collaboration fuel innovation? Carriers are asking themselves the same question — and the answer is a resounding yes.
The top-down approach, where ideas come from senior executives and percolate down, no longer works.
Innovation initiatives — like any change effort —often fail because the outcomes are "not invented here." They’re seen as “one-off ideas” from senior management or “silver bullet solutions” by people with the most influence.
In lieu of a formal process, the bottom-up approach also seldom works because the ideas have little chance of moving up and reaching the right people who can influence decisions.
Innovation-led growth happens only when it’s embedded into your organizational DNA. That means engaging your workforce across the enterprise — including your customers, distributors, and business partners — creating a dialogue between teams across the insurance ecosystem.
“People support what they help create.” — Ty Bennett, Author of The Power of Influence
Innovation accelerators can help evolve your methodology to collaborative innovation — including methods of obtaining ideas and feedback — with other approaches to projects and development processes to expedite prototypes for review and discussion.
Process: Establish an End-to-End, Repeatable Framework
It feels almost counterintuitive that "ideas" and "structure" should go hand in hand. Most believe innovation is born of a brilliant idea, a momentary stroke of genius. Rather, when successful, it's more likely the outcome of a structured organizational process that your organization develops, cultivates, and embeds over time.
All insurance companies have the knowledge and capabilities to innovate. What they often don’t have is a process to develop these ideas from across the organization into disruptive innovations.
Organizations that do use a structured process — involving several ideation sessions — can (and do) generate ideas faster, test, iterate, and refine them into potential growth initiatives. The payoffs are significant even if only a small percentage of ideas make it through the process.
OZ Ignite recognizes that innovation thrives on order. Not only does the framework manage the entire process from idea to market, but also routinely:
- Collects, shares, routes, screens, evaluates, experiments, incubates, develops, tracks, and reports on your organization's best ideas.
- Brainstorms new ideas to fill a pipeline with customer-centric growth initiatives.
- Integrates brainstorming and design thinking into the iterative prototyping process to fill a pipeline with customer-centric growth initiatives.
- Helps envision your future — whether improving the bottom line through operational excellence, driving profitable topline revenue growth by entering new markets, or leading the industry into new horizons — define it, then design it.
Speed: Bring Ideas to Market Faster
Fast cycle times are critical in insurance. It means being able to take calculated risks even when huge payoffs aren't guaranteed.
Slow development times — from concept to implementation — can hinder innovation and profitable growth. It’s the number one obstacle to successful innovation and today’s customers won’t wait. If a company can’t organize itself to move faster, it will likely begin to fall behind its competitors.
“There is a correlation between responsiveness and revenue. Two-thirds of customers say that speed is as important as the price.” — Jay Baer
When large teams collaborate — across all departmental and functional areas — to create a shared vision, ideas are brought to market faster. Working together also builds consensus across functional areas, departments, and geographies. At the same time, a structured process helps you get more out of your teams and provides value-added solutions and business decisions that are of higher quality and designed in less time than a more traditional approach.
With a proven process and methodology, carriers can get months of work done in a fraction of the time.
Now's the time for insurers to act, to accelerate the pace of innovation and transform their best ideas into breakthrough innovations.
Murray Izenwasser, Senior Vice President, Digital Strategy
At OZ, Murray plays a pivotal role in understanding our clients’ businesses and then determining the best strategies and customer experiences to drive their business forward using real-world digital, marketing, and technology tools. Prior to OZ, Murray held senior positions at some of the world’s largest digital agencies, including Razorfish and Sapient, and co-founded and ran a successful digital engagement and technology agency for 7 years.
[i] References: MIT Sloan Management Review Report, 2021
[ii] Gartner study
Sponsored by ITL Partner: OZ Digital Consulting