News & Commentary

11:33 AM
Deb Smallwood, SMA
Deb Smallwood, SMA
Commentary
50%
50%

Setting the Stage for Innovation, Part 2: Create a Collaborative Working Environment

In part 2 of a series on encouraging innovation in the insurance business, SMA's Deb Smallwood explores the challenges of bringing great ideas to the fore.

In the never-ending quest to keep the business up to date and in step with customer and partner demands and expectations, the need for innovative thinking, active imagination, and fresh approaches are challenging insurers now more than ever. Insurers not only face a higher bar for customer satisfaction, they see a whole new way of doing business emerging. To identify how innovation is paving the way for success, SMA has conducted extensive research into what is stimulating innovation in the insurance industry. More than a third of the insurers participating in a recent SMA survey indicate they have transformational game-changing objectives in mind, and are planning investments in major operational improvements.

Innovation in Insurance

Insurance may have a reputation for being a laggard industry, slow to change, but according to a recent SMA research study, Innovation and Next Generation Technologies, insurers are in the process of seeking new and innovative ways to differentiate, transform, and compete. The findings show that insurance innovation is gaining a firm foothold – innovation cultures are being cultivated; collaborative environments are being established. And next generation technologies play an important role in the whole process.

There are three fundamentals that insurers must embrace to create and foster a climate for innovation within their organizations. Last time, we discussed incenting an innovation culture. This blog addresses tcreating a collaborative working environment.

Create a Collaborative Working Environment

The easy part of change is to come up with new ideas; the hard part is to step beyond or even turn away from what has worked so well for so long. As employees have become more and more specialized, knowledge tends to get trapped in pockets throughout the organization. Resources are specialized and focused for efficiency. Rarely do employees have or take time to share what they are learning with others in the same or related jobs, much less with those who work in different business areas. It's hardly a situation that is conducive to collaboration.

But insurers are finding ways to foster collaboration. Today, using tools and technologies that facilitate collaboration, insurers are able to work around and through the traditional organizational boundaries to tap into individual and collective knowledge. According to SMA's research, about a third of insurers are driving innovation with formal, full-time teams that encourage collaborative efforts and shared information. A quarter have part-time or virtual teams. Although 37% of insurers have no formal teams in place yet, there is movement forward. Advanced technologies are making it possible to work collaboratively from shared knowledge and information, and 14% say they are using specific tools or processes to support these efforts.

Insurance companies should be creating an environment for collaboration, capitalizing on fluid and open boundaries, seeking ideas from the whole of the organization, and then even outside the traditional boundaries of the company. It starts with being open to new idea generation and then creating an environment where the power and energy of small as well as large groups can be used to harness and harvest the best of the ideas – the ones that will return the greatest value to the company.

About the Author: Deb Smallwood, the Founder of SMA, is recognized for her expertise in investing in technology to influence competitive advantage in the insurance industry. She offers a fresh perspective on how business capabilities can be enabled to meet strategic goals. Exclusively serving the insurance industry, Strategy Meets Action blends unbiased research findings with expertise and experience to deliver business and technology insights, research, and advice to insurers and IT solution providers. Deb can be reached at dsmallwood@strategymeetsaction.com.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Janice, I think I've got a message from the code father!
Current Issue
Security Operations and IT Operations: Finding the Path to Collaboration
A wide gulf has emerged between SOC and NOC teams that's keeping both of them from assuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IT systems. Here's how experts think it should be bridged.
Flash Poll
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
The transition from DevOps to SecDevOps is combining with the move toward cloud computing to create new challenges - and new opportunities - for the information security team. Download this report, to learn about the new best practices for secure application development.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In past years, security researchers have discovered ways to hack cars, medical devices, automated teller machines, and many other targets. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts researcher Samy Kamkar and Levi Gundert, vice president of threat intelligence at Recorded Future, to discuss some of 2016's most unusual and creative hacks by white hats, and what these new vulnerabilities might mean for the coming year.