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Avoid using ungided creative techniques like 'thinking outside of the box' and 'blue sky thinking'
'Thinking outside the box' and 'Blue Sky thinking' are goto techniques for many innovation projects.
The problem is, they put you behind the start line before your project has even began. The uncomfortable truth is nobody really knows what they mean. This is because they present a prize but offer no real creative guidance.
Worse still, there is an opportunity cost because you could be using authentic creative techniques that work.
Be authentic - Avoid unitentionally creating innovations that no one needs or wants, 'Showcase innovation'.
Same as previous point i.e. underestimating what to innovate really means, and not providing the tools and conditions to elevate the teams chances.
Be authentic - Avoid 'Immitation innovation' i.e. tweaking old ideas and rebadging as new
Most of the time the difficulty of being innovative is underplayed - it means coming up with an idea that nobody else has ever thought of before. That's extreme, that's the kind of challenge that needs a rock solid strategy.
No wonder then, when teams without the right strategy simply find it too difficult to come up with an authentically new idea.
Then, this happens - often without it being even being noticed - the project morphs into someting different, a soft option that is not innovation.
Avoid 'Isolation innovation' where teams iinnovate in a vacuum.
Sometimes, with good intent, teams of smart people are 'chosen' and ring-fenced for the task of innovating. This is the precursor for 'isolation innovation'.
The problem is, for Flow-State creativity you do need diversity and the constant ability to switch new participants in and out of the mix.
Otherwise, the danger is, groups become too comfortable and lean towards consensus which is good normally but no good for creativity.
Avoid Innovation fatigue caused by 4 out of 5 failiur rates
'Innovation fatigue' is a recognised term. Its the result of too many innovation initiatives not being set up properly and draining the enthusiasm of those involved.
The best way to avoid it is to set up projects that are de-risked (i.e. manage the 24 factors on this page), use elevated creative techniques and overlay them with smart governance.
Fortunately, in the same way repeated failiure causes 'fatigue' it only takes one success to breed success.
Understand Cognitive Surplus and use it to seed innovation
'Cognitive Surplus', first coined by Shirky just means treating your community of employees, partners and customers as one big corporate brain.
Their collective experience is unstructured data which can be surfaced to seed innovation. For example, the discussions at the water-cooler, in the bar, complaints from customers, suggestions from partners, etc can all be surfaced and put to good use.
Identify emerging socio-economic trends that are underserved e.g. stay at home offspring
'This may or not apply but it should always be considered.
The fact is, insurance is society's safety net. It supports when bad things happen. So, if you can hook your innovation into meeting the needs of an emerging trend it can be a real positive.
Its not the only way but this 'bottom up' approach of starting with 'the Why' helps root innovation in commercial reality.
Aim for group Flow-State
Flow-State was first coined by Csikszentmihalyi and it is central to what we aim for, see About.
Its not always possible to achieve Flow-State but for our purposes its the intent - the direction of travel - that matters.
As mentioned earlier, forward motion is critical for creative activity. Implementing Flow-State principles improves the chances of this happening.
Allow new creative (people) to be easily swopped in and out from inside and outside the organisation
This overlaps the previous point. Have you invited the right contributors to your project, can you swop in and out fresh talent with relevant domain knowledge?
Sometimes, all it takes is fresh pair of eyes to take your project over the line.
Use AI to assist creativity by doing the 'heavy lifting'
Being Creative is difficult because its a hard learned skill just like critical thinking. But we can make it easier by using AI to do some of the 'heavy lifting'.
Sometimes it takes years for trained creatives to iterate through ideas to find one good one. Our algorithm cycles through potential concepts in a structured way while following certain creative 'rules'.
This provides you with a list of potential ideas to which you can then apply human intelligence.
Be aware and maintain forward motion to avoid projects silently stalling
This overlaps the previous point. What often happens is 'stronger' personalities will run the show. If they are also pessimists the others will not be able to maintain forward motion and the project will slowly stall.
Creativity needs forward motion at all times while stepping from one idea to another. Of course, all points should be treated with respect and serious concerns can be checked by the governance team but - the show must go on.
Reboot the creative process in a relateable way for logical people (the opposite of thinking outside the box
Its unreasonable to expect trained logical thinkers - i.e. insurance people - to become creative without some very clear guidance and appropriate tools.
We reduce the creative process to the atomic level and then build it back up so everyone has a clear understanding of how it really works.
Make ideation happen in an 'equal voice' environment aka a 'Creative Democracy,
Projects can fail even if everything else is set up correctly if this is not addressed.
Innovation team members vary. They can be extrovert-introvert, pessimistic-optimistic, high level-low level, logical thinkers-creative thinkers, fatigued-unfatigued ... and so on.
You need a way of giving everyone an equal voice because if you don't many ideas won't be heard.
Understand Cognitive Bias and manage it to avoid its affects
This is a strange one because just about everyone - including us - says 'I'm not biased' but we are.
Our personal belief systems which have evevolved over the years acquire built in biases. We demonstrate this to you in a workshop.
Removing a couple of these biases will significantly improve your teams' creative abilities.
Use AI to de-risk and avoid flying blind into unforseen project risks
The project Governance team can use our platform to track the 24 risk factors not tracked by conventional project management software.
This is vitally important because otherwise those factors are free to bring havoc to your project in so many different ways - which historically is exactly what happens 80% of the time.
Think of it as an insurance policy for your innovation project .
Make IT resources available on demand for all services not just sales
This is often overlooked because of the excitement and enthusiasm of having arrived at the stage of a nearly complete innovation.
The problem is, the focus is often exclusively on new business and the associated processes - quote, bind, issue, claim. However, implementation becomes 'clunky' if other processes are not automated like, self service, policy alterations, etc.
This is especially true as Embedded Insurance becomes increasing popular, full-cycle automation is key because margins are so tiny.
Bullet-proof innovation from a Governance perspective
This is the classic who watches the watcher question. Good Governance is critical for success. Its less about enforcing rules and checking timelines and more about creating the right conditions for the project to be properly de-risked and for creativity to flourish
We provide a self managing Governance layer that is monitored throughout the project lifecycle.
Make resources on demand for digital prototyping
This is common problem. Lets say the team has a genuinely innovative idea thats commercially viable. At some point it needs to be digitally prototyped to test its feasibility. If there is no IT resource available - which can be for any number of reasons - then the project loses momentum or stalls.
We provide on-demand digital prototyping so, this never happens.
Bullet-proof innovation from an Compliance perspective
Similarly we have seen Compliance being introduced too late to the party. Again timing is important, better too early than too late for a number of reasons. We help the Governance team optimise this process.
Make internal and external Collaboration fluid
Governance needs to establish that collaboration is fluid. This is the Martini principle because it needs to be... anytime, any place, anywhere. Any contributor should be able to easily connect with the project's digital assets and collaborate with any other team member.
It also needs to be tested to ensure its productive collaboration. Because there can be a high level of activity which looks like collaboration but is not productive.
Unless monitored this can silently derail a project and no-one will know what happened.
Have a clear goal, start withe 'Why' e.g. Gig economy contractors, a customer complained about X, etc
A clear goal needs to be set. Yes, it sounds obvious but it does not always happen.
Without one it's impossible to know if you are on track or not. It happens because innovation is viewed as somehow different so, normal business rules need not apply.
A good goal is a great starting point and acts as a guiding beacon when being creative inevitably introduces some chaos and confusion.
Bullet-proof innovation from an Actuarial perspective
We have seen Actuarial being introduced too late to the party. Timing is important, better too early than too late for a number of reasons. The platform tracks and flags this to the Governance team.
Balance Governance with autonomy
This is a question of balance. On one hand, you need Governance to impose a set of rules to keep things on track. On the other, contributors tasked with being creative need a degree of autonomy to improvise.
This all ties into the earlier points of achieving Flow-State, maintaining forward motion and setting up a 'creative democracy'. Without this set of conditions participants are not 'free' to be creative and will be confined to 'playing safe'. Clearly, this is not what we want to happen.
Make IT resources available on demand for distribution whether direct, embedded or broker business.
In many ways this is the final hurdle, you have a finished innovation thats been bullet-proofed and digitally enabled. Now, you need to distribute across different channels. But if you have legacy systems or simply lack the IT capacity then all of your good work can be in vain.
If required we provide distribution capability on a subscription basis which you can take back in-house at a later date if you prefer.
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