Smart Innovation at High Speed
Being on the cutting edge means managing unfamiliar risks
Around the turn of the last century, at the most prestigious golf tournament in the world, a player with whom few were familiar showed up and completely outperformed the field. He won the title easily, but he didn’t win many admirers among his fellow competitors or the media. Walter Travis triumphed at the 1904 British Amateur Championship, which at the time was the biggest competition anywhere, using a putter with an innovative and unprecedented design. The shaft attached to the center of the clubhead—unheard of in golf’s early days—and its disruptive effect on the psyches of other players was invaluable.
Repercussions and risks
Technological innovation is much different today than it was in 1904, but the impact is similar. In modern business, you can gain a competitive edge by adapting new technology into your business success plan and managing the risks that always accompany opportunity.
Or you can be like those golfers who grumbled about Walter Travis while their world was disrupted.
“It’s critical to understand the effects of technology on your business when the pace of innovation is as rapid as it is today,” says Craig Fundum, President, Commercial Markets at Zurich North America. “For example, 3D printing will likely drive innovation in every global industry—but if you’re a manufacturer, you will most likely be among the first and most profoundly affected. The Internet of Everything will be a game-changer too. How connectivity alters the way physical assets are controlled will be felt across all business sectors. If you’re a software developer, you won’t be able to focus solely on moving and manipulating data. What you create could have new repercussions and cause financial loss.”
The risks and potential associated with technology are especially profound as the global business world goes about its work in these early days of what is being called the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The interaction of technologies across the physical, digital and biological domains will transform many industries.
“This profusion of technology will likely affect the strategies and operations of most businesses at some point,” says Fundum. “The future of businesses will be shaped by how they use these innovations—and how effectively they manage the risks associated with them.”
Scope of innovation demands resilience
Improvements in artificial intelligence— especially in the areas of facial and speech recognition, video analytics and relationship analysis—are driving greater demand for data to better understand customer behavior. In turn, the demand for both structured and unstructured data will drive Internet of Everything-related revenue to $1.27 trillion globally by 2018, according to International Data Corporation.
At Zurich North America, the focus is on helping businesses protect themselves by understanding and managing the risks from one stage of this technological evolution to the next. Aware that its customers are embracing emerging technologies, Zurich is pursuing advances such as robotics and cognitive computing to help the company be more efficient and effective in serving customers.
“These efforts, combined with our data and analytics, are enabling us to think differently about exposures and help manage business risks like never before,” says Fundum. “It’s nearly impossible to fathom all of the potential innovation and growth in such a digitally connected world. Businesses must protect themselves by continually increasing their resilience to the risks created by innovation. If they can commit to a mindset of resilience and plan to mitigate new types of losses, then when challenges do arise, they can quickly get back to meeting the expectations of their customers and shareholders. By adapting to new risks and the new solutions to them, businesses can ensure that technology can be a key component of a winning strategy.”
“Businesses must protect themselves by continually increasing their resilience to the risks created by innovation.” — Craig Fundum, Zurich North America