After several years of seeing the more courageous leaders in the insurance industry begin to fund the flow of new ideas, it is evident that we have begun to overcome one problem and are now facing another. The old problem was a lack of game-changing ideas. The new problem is our bias against them.
Result: The game-changing ideas are not getting launched.
The operative phrase here is “game-changing.” The insurance industry has no trouble launching products, services and business models that are similar to the ones we already have. In fact, the industry is pretty darn good at incremental thinking — but we must do better.
When inspired thinkers offer up disruptive ideas, we turn our backs on them. Why? Many think it is because their cultures are afraid to fail, and the likelihood of failure is high. The real reason for “failure to launch” is that (most of) your people are repulsed by the real game-changing ideas.
Repulsed. What an ugly word. But it’s true.
Why? Because those ideas are different. Natural instinct is to push it aside, try to get rid of it, or wish someone else would deal with it.
GE has a fabulous commercial spot that personifies the new idea as repelling people socially. If you think about what happens to people who are pushed aside from groups, it is usually because they are different in some way. They may communicate differently, look different, eat different food or live by different rules. It’s the same for game-changing ideas. They have their own language, their own rule sets, and must be measured differently than familiar ideas because they were created to be disruptive.
The most successful innovation leaders are beginning to address this bias. They start by helping their teams answer these four questions: