What a difference a
year makes. Our latest
research, compared to last
year, shows a clear trend
toward more insurers developing innovation areas
and allowing these groups
to lead change. There is
clearly a shift away from
ad hoc innovation, which
is a positive trend for
In our 2015 research
on innovation and emerging trends, we asked the
basic question: Which
groups are leading innovation and change within
organizations? And then
we compared the data to
our 2014 data.
In 2014, when we
asked insurers, “Who’s
leading…” 60 percent
said no single area of
the organization was
leading. “Strategy or R&D” had the next largest segment with
20 percent, “leadership or business” was at 12 percent, and a
specific “innovation area” accounted for only 8 percent. But, it
was in the last year that we saw innovation begin to put down
some roots across organizations, and ad hoc innovation started
sprouting up here and there.
This year, we asked the same question, and now we see a significant difference. In just a year, we have seen a clear delineation between innovation leaders. First, we see a larger segment
of “innovation areas” ( 15 percent) that are built specifically to
A dedicated innovation area is important, since it can
provide overarching vision across the organization. It can also
combine business and IT interests to enact change and transformation. “Strategy/R&D” segment shrunk and was replaced by
“business operations units.” This is an interesting shift, because
it signals, like the innovation-specific areas, that innovation is
becoming more of an integrated part of organizations.
We also are seeing the clear emergence of IT as a leader in
innovation ( 29 percent as an average of P&C and L&A lines
in 2015). The good news is that in just one year, innovation is
being shaped by specific areas of the organization, indicating a
strategic approach to making change is taking the place of the
majority of innovation coming from ad hoc areas, as 60 percent
did in 2014.
Who is Leading Innovation?
New SMA research shows insurers have increased their focus in the past year.
By Deb Smallwood
A dedicated innovation area is
important since it can provide
overarching vision across the
organization. In just a year,
we have seen clear delineation
between innovation leaders.