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Innovation is More than a Catchy Topic

Robert Regis Hyle | September 16, 2014

Innovation should be on the minds of nearly everyone these days. It certainly was on the minds of the 100 or so who took part in the SMA Summit on Monday. With a title, The Innovation Journey, how could it not be?

While many believe they have to be the ones to provide the innovation, innovation isn’t possible without those who simply believe in its importance and are willing to listen and learn. Being open to the possibilities of change is a huge asset in business. We may not be the ones that develop the new tools, but if we aren’t willing to accept them and sell them to those around us, the possibility of success is lost.

Forbes.com contributor Scott Edinger may have said it best: “Don’t innovate; create a culture of innovation.” Too many people fail to follow that simple advice and it creates an atmosphere of worry and distrust. As Peter Settel, CIO of Homesite Insurance told the SMA attendees, “When you have a very clear threat, it’s amazing how people focus and change to address the threat.”

Unfortunately, the threat is often too late to act proactively.

The crowd listened and understood the message being shared because, for most of them, it is their task to keep an eye on innovation that could affect their market and to implement the changes needed to keep their company at least even with their competitors, if not ahead of them.

Innovation can be slow in an industry such as insurance, but leaders should not confuse real innovation for industry innovation. Both IT and business leaders must keep their eyes on what is going on around them. There are countless examples of companies that ignored the threats that Settel spoke of and suffered because of it.

The awareness of what is going on in the rest of the world means the smart people in this industry are able to transfer that knowledge to action. That is the direction we must take if we are to remain viable in business model.

Innovation should be on the minds of nearly everyone these days. It certainly was on the minds of the 100 or so who took part in the SMA Summit on Monday. With a title, The Innovation Journey, how could it not be?

While many believe they have to be the ones to provide the innovation, innovation isn’t possible without those who simply believe in its importance and are willing to listen and learn. Being open to the possibilities of change is a huge asset in business. We may not be the ones that develop the new tools, but if we aren’t willing to accept them and sell them to those around us, the possibility of success is lost.

Forbes.com contributor Scott Edinger may have said it best: “Don’t innovate; create a culture of innovation.” Too many people fail to follow that simple advice and it creates an atmosphere of worry and distrust. As Peter Settel, CIO of Homesite Insurance told the SMA attendees, “When you have a very clear threat, it’s amazing how people focus and change to address the threat.”

Unfortunately, the threat is often too late to act proactively.

The crowd listened and understood the message being shared because, for most of them, it is their task to keep an eye on innovation that could affect their market and to implement the changes needed to keep their company at least even with their competitors, if not ahead of them.

Innovation can be slow in an industry such as insurance, but leaders should not confuse real innovation for industry innovation. Both IT and business leaders must keep their eyes on what is going on around them. There are countless examples of companies that ignored the threats that Settel spoke of and suffered because of it.

The awareness of what is going on in the rest of the world means the smart people in this industry are able to transfer that knowledge to action. That is the direction we must take if we are to remain viable in business model.


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