Call me old fashioned, but I believe we have forgotten that technology is not a “what,” it’s a “how.” Technology is very intoxicating, because it comes complete with millennial attraction, new vernacular, hip looking office space and sometimes a lot of money. However, keep in mind that the cool new app, acronym or buzz phrase is only as valuable as your vision without it.
Innovation has so rapidly become the most urgent skill set to develop that many new innovation leaders are skipping over the basics and are thrust straight into the “tech” side of their industry. They are left thirsting for and examining every new technology and looking for a place to apply it. In fintech and insuretech, particularly, this list is long as many startups jump on the bandwagon of opportunity. For the untrained eye, this can result in a lot of time and money spent on the wrong things.
Let’s get back to the how versus the what. “What” means the offering and experience you want to deliver. “How” enables that experience. When you are crystal clear about the what, it is much easier to find the technologies you need, and, more importantly, deploy them effectively.
Becoming crystal clear on the “what” takes careful examination of the current offering, consumer feedback and also examination of the trends that shape the future. These are insights, and they can be quantified so that you know which ones are the most important to focus on.
In insurance, for example, some might be focused on price comparison as the consumer need. While this was a strong need years ago, the market is now flooded with comparison sites. This is the reason why even the great and mighty Google couldn’t scale their first attempt.
Less obvious — but emerging — in our industry are the ways to make insurance more transparent. This can include everything from the decision process to approve an insurance application, all the way to rate-making and even company profitability. Insurance startup Lemonade has interesting approaches to satisfy this need, and the area of transparency is rich with opportunity. After all, it is the flip side of trust, and we know that the insurance industry is not trusted.
However, just because others are going in a specific direction does not mean it’s right for your company. It’s important to spend time thinking about your own true core competencies and then match them to unmet needs and emerging trends.
Innovation has so rapidly become the most urgent skill set to develop that many new innovation leaders are skipping over the basics and are thrust straight into the “tech” side of their industry. (Photo: Thinkstock)