Munich Re offers a real clarity to their innovating future

The most impressive presentation I reviewed in 2017 was the one from Munich Re, held on 21st November 2017 under their investor day event.

This, for me, was so well structured and offered such a high level of clarity on the pathway they are pursuing, combining innovation and digital, with the outcomes emerging, of building a new suite of Business Models.

I can only simply touch on it here, I suggest you do your own drawing of conclusions.

The Insurance industry has been struggling to adjust and adapt to the rapid changes occurring yet so many are hanging onto the traditional way of doing things. It is so refreshing to see how Munich Re are venturing out, exploring and exploiting, in multiple ways to learn a new innovation pathway.

I follow the two big Re-Insurers, Swiss Re and Munich Re specifically and the innovative differences are quite significant. Swiss Re seems locked far more into traditions and I am still to be convinced they have yet to embrace innovation, certainly from an external perspective, in the same way as Munich Re is undertaking. I struggle with Swiss Re’s messages on where they are exploring the future of Insurance. The way I view, it seems far more unclear, even random, they seem far more closed down with isolated attempts to explore opportunities.  Whereas Munich Re is constantly opening up to change, exploring and seems far more comprehensive and holistic. It seems one is undertaking “words are simply spoken” the other “actions underscored”. Maybe I am wrong. Continue reading

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As we enter 2018 we will need Knowledge Graphs

I received an early New Year present, actually, it came from Siemens. They had invited me to their Siemens Innovation Day in mid-December 2017. I really appreciated it, yet it took me time to absorb all that was provided, over these past two weeks.

My early present, well actually an idea, came the day before the event. I was included in the Industry Analysts visit to the Siemens Technology Center, at Neuperlach in Munich. We were provided a variety of insights in different presentations and demonstrations, of the technology they are working upon but one stood out for me, being introduced to Knowledge Graphs.

This one ‘thing’ really caught my attention. It was showcased in the technology center, briefly, as part of a broader set of presentations. It immediately struck me as having the potential to be very vital for the connected innovation I see, as our future.  These few insights set me off on a new train of thought and I scribbled down some hasty notes while listening to this concept. I then was able to review this a little more after the brief presentation. I then started to research on (Industrial) Knowledge Graphs for the initial depth of understanding I was seeking. Continue reading

Creating the Industrial Ecosystem

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to the Siemens Innovation Day. I really appreciated it, yet it took me time to absorb all that was provided, over these past two weeks.

One outcome is this post. I am grateful to have had the time to translate this in my mind. We all move on far too quickly and not have the time to sufficiently reflect, and that can be a huge mistake.

The day before the main event I was included in the Industry Analysts visit to the Siemens Technology Center, at Neuperlach in Munich. We were provided a variety of insights in different presentations and demonstrations, of the technology they are working upon.

The time spent in the Siemens Technology Centre was far too short, in getting the depth I would have liked. Yet, by accessing and re-evaluating all the presentations I have collected over the recent years, I pieced much of it together, into the clarity that I wanted, well actually needed, to understand where Siemens was positioned and going.

I came away from my visit to Siemens greatly impressed, now I am busy filling in the blanks.

The opportunity to attend has certainly triggered a lot of thoughts and connected me into Siemens, a whole lot more. They do seem to be are on a good path for growth but to make it a path that fully connects to exploit all the opportunities it can explore, Siemens needs to exploit Ecosystem thinking a little more. Surprisingly, I felt they lacked a more holistic view of innovation; a clear innovation process, and dedicated focus on this, which is required. Innovation is certainly central to the future of Siemens but it seems to me not to have the core positioning it should have.

Often you come across a dominating mindset of engineers, scientists, and technicians, who often have the mistaken view that they know innovation well when actually they only have a terrific depth on a given subject, not the breadth or broader comprehension. This comprehension is often missing by not having both fully connected and available, or consciously built in.

If you take a more holistic view of the all the connected parts of innovation that value-add, built on customer need, etc., that a structured innovation process offers, the result is more than likely to be more radical in final design and end-result. More radical in design and outcome The whole process to capture and translate options, to minimise the gaps, and leverage the critical opportunities, fully needs a system, a connected system.

I can’t prove it, in a very limited visit I had at Siemens but I certainly felt, they might value a more detailed review of their innovation environment, some more, it might potentially benefit them. Continue reading

Connecting Innovation is the New Order of Play

There is a lot of change occurring in our innovation abilities. There is this constant shift to more open-sourcing and collaborating. We are seeing profound shifts that technology and digital transformation are bringing us to deliver innovate differently. These changes are influencing all of our worlds, allowing a very different “connecting” innovation to come into play and provide ‘greater value’

Nothing succeeds in isolation anymore, it needs fully connecting up, to bring increased value to the market and customer needs.

There are major shifts taking shape. What is radically changing how we innovate? We are seeing a significant acceleration of innovative collaborations through ecosystems. We are increasingly recognizing all the different collaborative tools increasingly at our disposal We are exploring both platforms and forming ecosystems to radically alter the competitive edge previously seen to reside inside the single company.

A more opening out, forming more connections into customers, engaging with them. so as to fully appreciate their needs and working with them to find solutions. This is leading us to recognize the value and power of the seamless customer experience. All of this comes from achieving a greater access and deepening the connections across networks. It is becoming the innovation network economy, to bring all the parts together.

For some time we have recognized the present innovating was simply not working Continue reading

Taking on those innovation hills is never easy

AchievementFollowing on from my last post suggesting the way to move innovation forward, it was to ‘take the different innovation hills, one at a time, for innovation advancement” I used a military metaphor of “taking the hills”.

So what are the hills we need to take?

 There are plenty of innovation hills to attack but here are ten suggestions that would advance the cause of innovation and establish its territorial importance in the organization somewhat.

Some hills maybe on first glance, seem not so important but they all move towards setting up the winning conditions for innovation to become a core within organizations. Some are sending clear signals of intent; others show the fighting commitment necessary to take that hill because it is strategically important.

Hill one is by abandoning quarterly reporting

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Taking the hills, one at a time, for innovation advancement

Taking the hill. Pfc. John J. Allen of Company E in the 25th Infantry Division leads his men in attack on the west central front in Korea, March 30, 1951.

Taking the hill. Pfc. John J. Allen of Company E in the 25th Infantry Division leads his men in attack on the west central front in Korea, March 30, 1951.

How do we move innovation forward? We need to see this as a battle of hearts and minds, of overcoming dogma and fixed mindsets, using skirmishes to advance the innovation advancement. We need to break out of entrenched positions and lead innovation forward.

Many people feel innovation is an uncomfortable place, it often is at the edge, it deals in both opportunity and risk, it is uncertain to commit to joining the innovation battle. Sadly the majority working within our organizations do not understand innovation, it is too intangible, it seems shrouded in mysteries, yet it offers challenge, excitement and satisfaction. To achieve ‘something’ is highly motivating.

We firstly need to mobilize around innovation

To mobilize the organizations troops you have to give them objectives, they need to identify and be given a clear understanding of the ‘cause and its effect’. Over time they can recognize the positive effects and begin to understand the consequences if they don’t join in and engage.

Let me use a military metaphor, in war for this post.

Continue reading