Part 1 of 2: What it is and why you need one to guide innovation.
Do you want to start innovating, but don’t know where to start?
If so, you aren’t alone. Most insurance leaders agree that innovation is imperative - but struggle to get initiatives off the ground because they don’t know what the exact goal is or where to begin. Innovation initiatives can stay parked on the back burner because without a clear idea of where you want to go, it’s hard to define a path to get there or even know how to get started.
What is an innovation north star and why do I need one?
An innovation north star is a vision of the future you want to create through innovation, along with a clear understanding of how that will benefit your customers, organization, and people.
The fear of the unknown keeps us stuck. An innovation north star reduces that fear and helps you align your decision making and people around a common vision and purpose.
Innovation is really just a means of getting to where you want to go. Once you know where you’re going, it’s easier to define what steps are needed to get there. Best of all, having a north star helps align decision making and effort across your organization.
A north star guides you to make better, faster decisions that align with your shared goal and vision of success. This serves as a guidepost for defining all the tactical IT investments needed to lead you there, and what steps you’ll need to take first. In short, knowing your destination lets you define your path and steps.
People resist change when it's not linked to a clear vision or purpose. Having a clear mission and roadmap reduces fear and resistance to change and instead gives people purpose and hope. Your people can get excited about where you are heading and feel more empowered to help make it happen.
What does an innovation north star look like?
An innovation north star is a guiding vision that includes the following elements:
- Articulates the problem you are trying to solve
- Explains why this problem is unacceptable
- Paints a picture of what a better future looks like
- Proposes a roadmap to realize this better future
Here’s an example of a north star vision for a brokerage that wants to improve the customer experience for renewing multi-line commercial insurance policies.
Today when middle market enterprises want to renew multi-line commercial insurance policies, they have to gather large amounts of data for brokers, wait months for brokers to prepare competitive quotes, and ultimately recommend the best solutions and bind policies. This is unacceptable because it requires significant time and resources, and long waiting times mean that policies can’t stay current with evolving risks. We envision a world where renewing multi-line commercial insurance policies is easy and fast. We are bringing this world about by connecting workflows and data silos and using high-quality, enhanced data so that it takes minimal client inputs and only days to complete the renewal process. This will provide a better customer experience and ultimately grow our business.
Once you’ve articulated your desirable end state, you can work backwards to define an overall roadmap and first steps you need to take to get there. You’ll know why it matters and have something tangible to align tactical decisions and individual efforts.
Wondering how to create your own innovation north star? Stay tuned for next week’s post on How to Create and Use Your Innovation North Star.
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