In partnership with Endava and Sitecore, and off the back of Endava’s Insurance technology Trends report, some of the leaders in insurance innovation discussed how companies are coping with the demand to innovate
“Innovation is not just a technological thing. It is more of a cultural thing.”
That was the main message coming from technology and software company, Endava at a recent Insurance Times innovation roundtable event, in association with Endava and Sitecore.
Jourik Migom (pictured), vice president of product strategy at Endava led the proceedings, and he stated that a common misconception in insurance, but also other industries, is that innovation is a skill and companies rely on one person to lead it.
He said: “One of the common misconceptions I see a lot with clients, is the idea that innovation is a skill, that you need somebody who knows innovation, so you hire the innovation guy.
“While that may kickstart innovation, it is really not just that guy, it is a much more cultural thing.”
He also outlined how the way different companies approach innovation could be wrong.
“Another misconception is that people treat innovation as a project,” he said. ”Now, it is good to have workstreams based on innovation, especially if you get some results. But don’t treat it as a single project. It is much broader.
“It is also not just a CEO topic, you need contributions from the bottom up. It can be supported by the CEO but lower-level employees need to be encouraged to put forward their ideas.”
Migom went on to say that it would all be well and good to have the ideas, but companies need to be sure they can develop those new ideas, and quickly.
“There was an insurer we worked with who had an innovation cycle of nine months, which is too long. If you are coming up with new ideas every week or month but it takes nine months to get them off the ground, what is the point? There will be the next idea soon after.
“So we looked at their pipeline and adjusted their code, so they could release new features every month. That shows that sometimes the barrier sits in the systems rather than the number of ideas.”
Paul Cullum, product development manager at HSB Engineering Insurance agreed.
He said: “Systems is a huge barrier. If you are updating your systems, it can take a huge amount of resources and that is now resources you cannot put into innovation. It is something we are experiencing as we are currently updating our core systems.”
Migom explained that a company needs to make those changes, but not to let those changes be an excuse or distraction from its need to innovate.
“You need to update those systems to be able to have more freedom. You still have those legacy systems and they work well, but you need to have those updated systems to have more flexibility and ability to put out those new features.
“Companies need to ask themselves ‘what can we do today to make sure I am better prepared for tomorrow?’”
While Migom understood that companies will concentrate on bigger projects, the real culture of innovation should help smaller projects be completed quicker.
“I think that’s where the cultural aspect of innovation comes in. If you have that innovation culture, smaller things within their own scope can start doing things differently.
“When you have embedded that innovation culture into the company, smaller teams will have the motivation and desire to complete the tasks quicker because they will always want to see what is next.”