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Actuarial Post: Innovation requires more than ideas

Actuarial Post: Innovation requires more than ideas

By Tom Murray, Head of Product Strategy, Exaxe.

Why is it that some companies innovate while others struggle to come up with new products? How often do good ideas in your organisation fizzle out under a blanket of fifteen-person meetings, three hundred page documents and a sign-off process that seems to require more assents than there are actual staff in the company?

In the life and pensions industry, this is a common occurrence. Existing processes and procedures have been built up over many decades and prove to be inimical to the very idea of new product design. Bold ideas are agreed but quickly get watered down as the detailed stage starts and everyone begins to have their say. Even bringing in outsiders from dynamic innovative companies often doesn’t help, as they are quickly bogged down in a morass of existing procedures that reflect a history of conservative business procedures and strategies.

The problem is that life and pension companies are not traditionally designed to handle the type of rapid design process that goes into product development today. A great deal of effort is expended but unfortunately in large companies this takes place in a number of silos. When the time comes to reveal what has been designed, it turns out that too many people were working individually and have designed independently of each other. The attempt to bring this together into a single coherent offering means compromises and this results in a product that has lost all uniqueness because it is an amalgam of multiple ideas with the best bits shorn off to fit into the whole.

We keep trying to turn individual ideas into new products without helping the team to work together in sophisticated ways. We need to change our processes and utilise technology to support a more team-based approach to new product design and development. The trouble is that many in the life and pensions industry are still wedded to a conservative approach to technology usage that is reluctant to adopt the newer technological innovations that are appearing almost daily...

Read the full article in the Actuarial Post: Actuarial Post - Edition 23

Actuarial Post is an online publication offering actuaries insight into the market, an extensive library, news and the latest job listings. With a dedicated comment section; the most talked about topics in the actuarial market are discussed by actuaries dealing with the issues on a daily basis. Articles focus on the latest trends changes in regulation and the areas of pensions, investment, life and insurance.

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