Our goal at Hood Group is to transform insurance through innovation.
A lofty ambition perhaps, but insurance in its current state isn’t truly serving today’s customers and certainly won’t work for the next generation. We believe that we need to shape personalised customer experiences, products and pricing to create a service that they willingly buy into.
To achieve our ambition, we had to start at home – reviewing and enhancing our own infrastructure and capabilities. Of course this hasn’t been a straightforward exercise – but then again, no-one here at Hood Group thought it would be! However looking back over the past 12 months, I think we can be really proud of what we have accomplished on our journey so far.
There is a real desire and focus from all levels of the business to produce tangible outputs from the lab. This is to be expected – the Group has invested money and time into this but it is realistic enough to understand that it is important to put structure and research around our approach. Being sidetracked by ‘big shiny’ ideas and focusing on getting something to market can distract from the real opportunities.
Activity has been wide-reaching with a view to gaining an in-depth understanding of innovation in the wider insurance industry and the InsurTech start-up ecosystem as well as the innovation capability within Hood Group.
To drive this activity, we set up a dedicated innovation lab that sits separate from the day-to-day business operations both in style of working and physical location. As well as commencing internal innovation initiatives such as hackathons and workshops, the lab has undertaken a huge amount of research to fuel our understanding and engaged with innovation experts from numerous companies across many industries along with brands, insurers and partners.
We also secured support from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, to part-fund a 24-month project with the University of Essex to help develop our data strategy including artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities.
We’ve learned a lot along our journey so far:
- Innovation and data initiatives are inextricably linked – a combined strategic approach and collaboration is required or you’ll find that you’re using existing assumptions to make decisions.
- Culture is critical – if the internal culture isn’t right innovation efforts will fail
- Build an innovation tribe – while innovation needs to sit outside the day-to-day stuff and has to be empowered to act differently, it has to have regular interaction with and support from the business as it can’t survive on its own
- Some of the biggest opportunities will be internal – you cannot bring the game changing disruptive ideas into a legacy organisation
- You can’t do everything – to be successful you must prioritise resources and effort
Most importantly we’ve recognised the danger of innovating for the sake of it. We’ve stayed true to our purpose and objectives and kept our customers front and centre with everything we do. 2018 will see us start delivering so watch this space!