Think Like A Startup to Create a Culture of Continual Innovation

The insurance industry is undergoing massive digital transformation, and it’s long overdue. But what happens once your company has accomplished its technology goals? Do you pat yourself on the back and call it a day?

The short answer is NO. Although it’s fine to celebrate the milestone, it’s not time to act as if the journey has ended. Progress never stops. If you don’t keep moving, the competition will and you’ll eventually fall behind. The goal posts keep moving.

Don’t Get Set in Your Ways

We often do things a certain way because that’s how we’ve always done them. It’s human nature to get set in our ways – but it’s also a trap.

For example, let’s say you have an office coffee maker you’ve been using for several years. The coffee it produces isn’t great, and sometimes it has coffee grinds in it, but it’s still coffee, right? No one can be bothered to shop around for a new coffee maker and learn how to use it. So, you keep drinking mediocre coffee day after day, even though better coffee is attainable.

It’s the same with the technology you use. Sure, your legacy systems might do the job, more or less, but you’re missing out on better options just because you want to avoid change.

Startups don’t have this problem, and that can be a big part of their success.

In an article for Digital Insurance, Dan Reed, Managing Director at American Family Ventures, discusses some of the insights gained during a partnership with the Creative Destruction Lab and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. One of the takeaways is that companies need to think and act more like startups. Startups are not bogged down with complex process that have become ingrained in the company culture, so innovation can come more easily for them. They also often lack financial resources, making innovation a must.

Even if you’re company has been around for a while, you might be able to learn a thing or two from the new startups on the block.

Startup Lesson #1: Look Outside Your Industry

It can be hard to judge your own progress sometimes. That’s one reason it can be smart to use other companies as benchmarks.

But don’t just look at your competitors. The insurance industry is known for moving slowly, and if everyone in the industry just looks at each other, they might not realize how far they’re lagging behind.

Customers, on the other hand, will notice. They’re not just comparing one insurance company to another. They’re also comparing the service and digital tools they get from their insurer to what they get from Netflix and Amazon. So, ask yourself – is your digital transformation keeping up?

Startup Lesson #2: Commit to the Journey

If you’ve ever been on a long trip with kids, you’ve heard the question, “Are we there yet?”

The journey of innovation isn’t a literal road trip, but it has a lot in common with one. You might be getting impatient and wondering how long it’s going to take. You might not even know where you are in the journey because you’ve lost your way. To make the trip a success, it helps to have a map.

In a series of articles published in Harvard Business School Working Knowledge, Linda A. Hill and the other authors look at where digital transformation can take you and how to create a roadmap for success. According to the article, the process can take a while. In fact, executives who said they had been working on digital transformation for at least five years reported the most headway.

Startup Lesson #3: Enjoy the Ride

Digital transformation isn’t a problem that you need to overcome. It’s an opportunity. More than that, it’s a way of operating.

If you want to create a culture of continuous innovation at your company, think about how you frame change. Do you present it as a headache and nuisance? Or do you present it as something great and worth getting excited about?

Change can be challenging, and mistakes might be made, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Accept the challenge as an opportunity for growth. Seize mistakes as a chance to learn. Embrace an unending love of learning and a constant commitment to improvement. If you infuse this mindset into your company from the top down, you’ll build a culture of continuous innovation.

Ready to Move Beyond Your Mediocre Core System?

Failure to innovate can bring insurmountable technical debt to a company, which can be hard to overcome. That is why we at Insuresoft have prioritized R&D. To achieve the demands of today’s marketplace, an insurer must be able to depend on their core system for not only a modern experience, but also modern architecture. If you’re ready to adopt a modern core platform with an innovative ecosystem, Insuresoft can help. Contact us to learn more.