At Cookhouse Labs, we’ve worked closely with many members to successfully innovate within their organizations. In the first part of our Member Stories series, meet Tommy Kim, Senior Actuarial Analyst at Munich Re Company of Canada. Tommy is an active member of our global community and is a two-time winner of our Design Thinking ideathons in 2020!
Read about Tommy’s unique experience below!
Tommy, thank you for joining us today! We’d love to know how your journey began; what was the first Cookhouse Labs event that you attended?
That’s a great question! In early 2019, our Senior Executive members asked for volunteers to participate in a Design Thinking training. Even though I saw myself as a non-ordinary individual (I personally enjoy my thinking time, too), I wanted to be more structured. I thought, “How can I improve my thinking process?” Everyone has ideas, but there has to be a way for us to narrow down these ideas so that we can get close to executing them. That was my first session at Cookhouse Labs and I really enjoyed it. Not only did I enjoy working with the experts at Cookhouse Labs, but I also enjoyed working with representatives from other insurance organizations, who were awesome too. We were all there for one single reason — to make insurance better — and we just wanted to tailor it better by leveraging the Design Thinking process.
Thank you for sharing that! On the topic of collaboration, I imagine you’ve worked with many teams at the Lab since 2019. What was your best team experience?
I’m going to answer your question by saying that working with Ibeth (the Lead Innovation Coach) was the best team ever, and I guess that would be every session I’ve ever attended. The reason is that I am an introverted person, which means there are a lot of thoughts going around in my head. Introverts need a comfort zone to be more open to collaboration and for their ideas to be rolled out. I think building that trust is the most difficult part. Ibeth encouraged everyone to open up by making everyone laugh and sharing her life story. It helped everyone engage, and that was the most important component of my experience with Cookhouse Labs.
What is your favorite memory from this past year of collaborating with us?
All the components were great, but it is really tough to pick just one. In my first hackathon (SummerHack 2020), I participated as a mentor and the 24-hour journey was awesome. But working with the folks at HSB Canada as a collaborative WinterHack 2020 team was awesome and one of my favorite memories, too. Of course, any help from you, Ibeth, and Sven is great. Not just the idea aspect of it, but also the content and patience. I can tell, from one human to another, that the team really does want to make insurance better and doesn’t treat it as “work”. All of these are my favorite memories from Cookhouse Labs.
That’s wonderful to hear, Tommy! Speaking of winning the ideathons, what have you been able to achieve since you started attending Cookhouse Labs innovation events? In other words, how has it helped you?
It might sound weird to say that, even though I have participated in the ideathons, I think the word “achievement” does not fit me. This is just me learning and going to different sessions. Maybe it’s just not the best timing for me to answer this question, because I think there is more to learn from Cookhouse Labs’ sessions and events. One day, if I actually contribute to making insurance better, only then will I be able to say that I achieved this. Right now, it’s too early for me to say anything!
Final question: Would you recommend Cookhouse Labs’ events to others, and if yes, which events would you recommend?
I would definitely recommend Cookhouse Labs training sessions, but if I had to pick one out of the many great trainings, I would pick Design Thinking. This is not only a matter of innovation itself; it can be applied to any sort of work and even your thinking process in your daily life, too. I thought about how you could make the best out of it. No one wants to make a mistake, right? Even when we get groceries, we do a price check and see where it’s from. There is caution with that thinking process, but there is no harm in learning an even better approach to apply to real life. So, I would definitely recommend the Design Thinking trainings.
Tommy, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us. We enjoyed collaborating with you and Munich Re Company of Canada in 2020 and we wish you all the best in 2021. We can’t wait to continue this collaboration with you in the New Year!
“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
— Steve Jobs
Innovation is a word that has been used over and over in the last years. Everyone wants to be innovative; everyone wants to launch an innovative solution, and everyone wants innovation all around. The interesting part about these wants is that most people expecting innovation expect it fast, easy and comfortable, when really it requires patience, patience and patience! Innovation requires patience to move through the interviews and research phase; patience to embrace the failings during testing phases and learning how to accept feedback; and patience to step out of the comfort zone.
I have spoken to many people who visit our innovation lab and many mention the disappointment they have experienced when it comes to innovation, the frustration with the design methodologies and working with teams, and the pain of seeing ideas change over and over through testing phases. Yes! Not so pleasant descriptions. And these descriptions come from top down. It is no coincidence they first questions they ask are, “Can you help us get to an innovative place and help us understand what we are doing wrong?” and “Can you help our team understand why we are not coming up with innovative ideas?”.
Of course we can!
What is innovation about?
What does innovation mean to you? The most popular answers are new, fun, useful, building from something old and make it new. No matter which way we look at them, all the above require a set of fundamental steps like:
Research (to understand the problem and what already exists)
Listen with human-centric mindset (to understand the need)
Test (to understand usefulness) and
Remain open to change (to either create something new or shift on something that already exists)
In a nutshell, innovation is about being open to change based on research, testing, etc. And let’s be honest, that word “change” is not something that people are always excited to do, especially when there is uncertainty, which you know exists when working in innovation. Being open leads to accepting the fact that to create this amazing product, service, or idea, one must be prepared to change rapidly and often. And experiencing change leads, in most cases and at some point, to hitting a wall of (as most people relate to innovation) frustration and pain. But why the frustration and pain? And why, many times, giving up? Well, because we forget about the most important element in innovation. YOU!
What is the most forgotten and overlooked element in innovation?
The most forgotten element in the journey of creativity and creating something new is the HUMAN and all that comes with it. Let’s break it down: we know that to be able to create something ground-breaking, we have to be open to uncertainty and change. We already know that for most of us humans, those words most often lead to fear. Then how can we expect to create anything revolutionary when we forget the human side of innovation? That involves you, the team member and/or you, the team leader and/or you, the decision maker. No matter what your role is in an innovative journey, you must be aware of your human side, which includes mindset, attitude, behaviors, and patterns. In summary, it asks that we remember that we are human and, based on our day and how we are feeling in the moment when we are working on our solutions, innovation and creativity will be impacted. Therefore, it is vital to remember this important fact – the human side.
How can one unlock and embrace the human side of innovation? Empathy and Courage
Empathy! Not only is it important to have empathy for customers when using creative methodologies, it is also vital to practice empathy with your team members and yourself. Empathy will organically create a safe place for creativity to show up and live.
Courage! Have the courage to trust the process; time and time again, we hear stories of creative minds solving problems and creating pioneering solutions. These creations happen when the team trust a process that is proven, even though the path to the answer is not clear, and when the team move past fear and doubt and into an uncomfortable place of trust.
In summary …
Accept that sometimes you and/or your team will have bad days, not because of the project or because of the team, but because you or one of the team members may be going through a challenging time on a personal level, or perhaps there are limiting beliefs that are blocking the flow of creativity. Perhaps it is the first time you allow yourself to trust a new process. Regardless of the reason why – the answer is patience.
“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by discomforts.”
— Arnold Bennett
Want more insights from our Lead Innovation Coach?
Join our upcoming free 1-hour Introduction to Design Thinking session, where Coach Ibeth will walk you through the first 2 key steps to get you moving to an innovative idea. Check out this session and other global opportunities on our 2021 Events Calendar here!
We’re excited to continue our series, “Startup Bites: Meet the Young Chefs”, where Co-Founder Sven Roehl sits down with founders of startups to chat about their exciting solutions and how they’re on track to make big waves in the insurance world.
In today’s blog, Sven sat down with Pavol Sikula, Founder and CEO of AskBrian. Check out the full interview below!
Welcome to our first interview of 2021! Pavol, we met recently through a mutual contact and found your new venture very interesting. Before we begin, tell us about yourself, your startup, and how you came up with the name AskBrian!
I’ve been in top management consulting in Munich, Germany for 15 years. My founding story is related to management consulting, where I saw some annoying recurring tasks that were a waste of talent and time. As technology became better and better, I started to automate many tasks in management consulting, but many of them are relevant to businesspeople in general.
Brian is a digital assistant for businesspeople, especially management consultants, who performs tasks 24/7. We called him Brian because it’s short, it’s easily recognizable because of the movie Life of Brian, it includes the letters used in AI, and it rhymes with “Brian the Brain”, which is what we call him internally.
Behind every story of a startup, there is a moment when someone says, “Okay, I’m going to quit my job, leave my life behind, and I’m going to start my own journey”. When was this moment for you?
One evening in 2017, some colleagues and I had to translate slides for a proposal we were working on. It was already late, and nobody had time or fun translating documents. This was the moment when I realized that AI translation has become so good that there must be a way to integrate the state-of-the-art translation service and enable full document translation. The technology was out there and all we had to do was make it accessible. We chose to do this via natural language, where Brian uses human communication channels (like email) to perform tasks. This evening and this journey have driven my path in the last three years.
For the first two years, I worked on Brian in parallel to my regular job, thanks to the support of Stern Stewart & Co. where I participated in their startup program. But I realized working at nights and on weekends is not enough if you really want to become successful. In January 2020, I left my amazing job in consultancy to follow this dream because I kept thinking, “I have to do it, I can’t think about anything else”. It has started to pay out in the form of impressed users of Brian!
What challenges did you face while growing your business?
As I started to experiment the backbone technology, there were basic challenges such as how to get the Chrome browser on a notebook, which was not allowed for data protection reasons. There have been technical challenges, such as finding a way to make multiple data sources and digital services available via human language. We wondered if it was possible for a machine to understand what a user wants and to deliver presentations and to adjust documents.
We don’t only have technical challenges: the biggest one is managing human expectations. What is real? What is fake? Sometimes people think that Brian is a program that can answer any question and complete any task, but that’s not the case. We are managing expectations, making them real, and showing what the technology can do.
Along with challenges come highlights, so what are some moments that really stood out to you? What was the moment when you thought you made the right decision to launch AskBrian?
One highlight I celebrated hugely was when Brian translated his first PowerPoint presentation without mistakes. This was on a Wednesday at 1 o’clock in the morning. After many months, we finally did it and I was so happy that I drank champagne at breakfast!
Another moment came at the end of 2019. I googled “AI Forbes” and wrote to the first author to ask if they would write about us, and it worked out! They wrote a case study about AskBrian and it was cool to have reached a point where Forbes would write about us.
One more highlight was in May 2020, where despite COVID-19 we managed to close our first financing round. Even though DAX was down by 40% at the time we asked our angels to invest, I think it was one of our biggest achievements. To achieve that, we showed really positive traction in the usage of our service.
It looks like your company is doing well and you’re making great progress in your journey! Where do you see your business in 2-3 years? What’s your vision?
Of course, we want to impress our users! I hope hundreds of thousands of users will use Brian’s services, and that we will teach Brian cool new skills to perform. I hope he will be capable of tasks we cannot even imagine today. I’m very excited to see what Brian will be capable of in 3 years, because we always take state-of-the-art technology and build it into Brian. In 2025, we want to have one million users. It’s an ambitious target, but we believe we can do it!
Starting a new venture is all about partnerships, so we’d love to know about your experience with collaborating with larger organizations!
Our current target market is consultants, from one-man shops up to the Big 4 with 250,000 employees approximately. What we see is that there is no real correlation in the speed of processing in these organizations. Sometimes, consultancies with 20 people are as difficult to approach as a Big 4 company. This is in the area of consultancy, where the companies by nature are entrepreneurial, dynamic, and open for innovation, because they must deliver what they teach their clients. In the area of corporates, it’s kind of difficult to get through to the purchasing department and to get all the approvals you need. Therefore, we prefer to start with in-house consultancies and bring them on as friends and supporters. Then, we get into corporates through this channel and become available for employees in large corporations. We have to get 2.5% of the early adopters, and from there on, I believe we will succeed step-by-step in convincing more and more companies to work with us.
Moving to the insurance market, how can Brian benefit insurers?
Where we see potential is in the area of Claims Management, which is an area that requires high capacity, high intensity of human work, and costs a lot of human time and resources. In the area of document handling, Brian can help with translation and conversion of documents or reports from different languages into your targeted language using PDF or other formats. Brian can significantly accelerate the process, reduce the cost, and improve the quality of the assessment of claims of individual companies.
As a startup from outside the insurance industry, how can collaborating with organizations or ecosystems like Cookhouse Labs bring value to your journey?
What I find amazing about your Lab is that you are a platform where innovators from the industry meet young and wild companies with crazy ideas. It’s a great place for innovators to meet the market and the market can meet the newest ideas, and I believe that both parties can benefit a lot.
For a startup, it is quite difficult to find the innovators within companies. People working with innovation labs like Cookhouse Labs are people who want to find ideas, further develop, learn and get inspired, and want to get things done. You meet people who are searching for new ideas and that’s why I find it so interesting to work with you!
Final question: What advice can you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who want to follow in your footsteps?
I find a lot of people have great ideas, but I think 95% of them don’t move forward with their ideas. My recommendation would be this: if you are crazy about an idea, if the idea doesn’t let you sleep, then just do it! Beware that it is extremely hard to progress, but if you are crazy about an idea, then just do it. It is connected with certain risks, especially if you have been in your profession for multiple years or you have a lot to lose financially. However, the learning will be extremely rewarding and will turn into something. So, if you are crazy about an idea, then just start working on it!
That’s valuable advice, Pavol! Thank you for sharing some great insights about AskBrian. We’ll definitely stay connected to you and your journey and definitely celebrate your first million users with a bottle of champagne!
Want to learn more about how you can leverage Brian’s 24 skills in the New Year?
Join our upcoming free webinar “Food for Thought: AI-Powered Brian Rocks Consulting. What About Insurance?” on Tuesday, January 26, 2021. In the webinar, Pavol will share more details about Brian’s relevance to the insurance industry, with a deep dive into claims management.
As we approach the end of 2020, one of the questions we frequently hear is, “What do you see on the horizon of 2021?”
The answer: A whole new year of opportunities to innovate, collaborate, and network with like-minded thought leaders around the world!
We’re delighted to share that our 2021 Events Calendar is now live, chock-full of exclusive innovation events for our global members! Whether you’re curious about our innovation Masterclasses or interested in experiencing a Design Thinking sprint yourself, there’s something for everyone in our 2021 menu — so let’s dive deeper into what we’ve got planned for the New Year.
Before We Begin…
At Cookhouse Labs, we have a lot to be thankful for. We wanted to say ‘Thank You’ to our community for supporting us on our global journey to #MakeInsuranceBetter. As a token of our appreciation, we’re offering a 50% Virtual Discount on our Annual Memberships! The offer expires on December 31st, 2020, with Memberships starting at only $250 CAD monthly — don’t miss the exclusive opportunity to innovate with our global network of member organizations in 2021!
Customized Innovation Consulting Services
Since 2007, we’ve been mastering co-innovation and co-creation at Cookhouse Labs. Our experts have enabled 50+ organizations to become innovation anticipators, designing their own futures. We are happy to announce our new specials — a menu of virtual innovation services that cater to your individual organization’s co-creation needs. Whether you choose from our Innovation Masterclasses, Sprints, or Tools, there is something on the menu to satisfy everyone’s taste buds!
Our members receive a special 25% discount on our consulting services; check out the full list of services here!
Open Co-Creation Sprints
Experience Design Thinking in action in our week-long co-creation projects!
Collaborate with other members as you tackle key challenges in the insurance industry. Our Certified Innovation Experts will guide you through the 5 stages of the Design Thinking methodology and support you as you build your MVP. At the end of the project, pitch your solution to an audience of your colleagues and global industry experts!
Every year, Cookhouse Labs invites its members to work with a team of E-commerce and IT students to specifically tackle one of their business challenges. Over the course of 1 semester (and up to 250 hours), each student team will work exclusively with our member organizations in guided Design Thinking sprints, facilitated by Cookhouse Labs innovation experts.
Are you interested in your own guided global student project dedicated to tackling a challenge in your organization?
Join our Innovation Team for virtual Masterclasses on a variety of useful innovation methodologies to apply to your organization! Here are some of the sessions our members can attend:
Design Thinking Solve real industry problems by developing customer-focused solutions in a short amount of time! Use this methodology to innovate quickly, channel creativity and when used correctly, save a significant amount of time and money when launching new products or services.
Google Sprint Tackle critical business challenges, validate product/service ideas, and test your prototypes in this five-day process that any team can use!
Lean Startup Identify what your customers really want and get your products into their hands faster with this tried-and-tested, cost-effective innovation methodology!
Design Tools Learn the fundamentals of design theory to help turn your ideas into MVPs — then try your hand at building your own Lo-Fi mockup under the guidance of our Senior UX/UI Consultant!
Train the Trainer Add new styles of facilitating, communicating, presenting, and telling stories to engage your project participants!
Stay up-to-date with the latest InsurTech trends, hear valuable insights from industry trailblazers, and discover up-and-coming startups in our brand-new webinar series! Every session will focus on a current industry topic and feature a special innovator with intriguing stories and experience to share with our community. Our first webinar will be held in January 2021 — keep an eye on our LinkedIn page to find out who next month’s guest speaker will be!
Exciting Global Design Thinking Ideathons
We’re back with our much-anticipated global ideathons!
Preparations are currently underway for our SummerHack 2021: Global Design Thinking Ideathon and our 24-Hour Global WinterHack 2021 — and we’re looking forward to welcoming insurers, startups, vendors and students from around the world back into our innovation space! Whether you’re joining us as a SummerHack corporate team or mentoring a WinterHack team of young talent, there’s experience to gain and big prizes to win in these fun races against the clock!
If you missed the excitement of our last ideathon, we recommend taking a look at a summary of the event — click hereto access the blog, “WinterHack 2020: A Global Race To Digitize Insurance”.
We’re excited to begin another year of global innovation and collaboration with our community! Our first event of the year is our free “Introduction to Design Tools” session on January 14th, 2021, where we share key components when creating a prototype and what 2 key items to look for when choosing the right tool. We invite you to check out the events listed above and other perks of becoming a Cookhouse Labs Member — hurry, our 50% Holiday Discount ends December 31st, 2020!
From all of us at Cookhouse Labs, we wish you a safe and wonderful holiday — and we can’t wait to see you in the New Year!
One year ago, we re-launched Cookhouse Labs in December, and what a great year it has been!
Cookhouse Labs 2.0 introduced an Acceleration stage to our collaboration model, supporting both MVP and product development after the initial Ideation and Creation stages of a co-creation project. We’re delighted to say that Cookhouse Labs 2.0 was a major success this year, breaking traditional barriers to collaboration both locally and internationally!
Here’s a look at some of the Labs’ incredible accomplishments since December 2019:
1. 500+ innovators joined our community this year — and generated nearly 200 ideas!
Innovators from all across geographies, ages, and cultures came together for our virtual events! They collaborated during co-creation sprints, ideathons and student projects, learned about various innovation methodologies in our Masterclasses, and dove deep into industry topics in sessions with seasoned experts. We were delighted to welcome innovators with diverse experiences and backgrounds including tech, venture capital, finance, law, marketing, HR, and student life!
2. Our Innovation Team hosted 10 global innovation Masterclasses
Our participants spent time learning about various innovation methodologies from our Lead Innovation Coach, including Design Thinking, Google Sprint, and Lean Startup. Other attendees joined our Train the Trainer sessions to explore tools and communication styles they could use to facilitate their own innovation projects. In our Design Tools Masterclass, our Senior UX/UI Consultant walked participants through design theory and led them through exercises to build their own mobile app mockups. Some of our favorite app ideas included coffee orders, pet care, and late-night cookie delivery!
3. We brought together 200+ hackers from over 10 different countries
This year brought some of our biggest innovation events, including our 24-Hour Global SummerHack: IoT Disruption in Insurance and WinterHack 2020: Global Design Thinking Ideathon. Our teams were full of innovators of all ages and backgrounds — including insurers, students, startups, and vendors — who were often continents apart! Similarly, our Events Teams pulled these events off with incredible coordination despite being in separate locations around the world, such as China, Germany, Canada, and Pakistan!
In these truly global events, our teams tackled a diverse range of challenges and pitched their solutions to a jury panel of accomplished innovation leaders. We were blown away by the ideas that were shared at these Final Pitch Events, solving key issues such as mitigating small business bankruptcy, overcoming loneliness in the elderly, helping customers understand their policies, fighting obesity, and creating IoT-based mobility insurance products. Our winners took home exciting prizes, including a Cookhouse Labs Membership, a Design Thinking session, and tickets to insureNXT|CGN, courtesy of InsurLab Germany!
4. We fostered incredible community spirit during these challenging times
2020 was a difficult year for the owners of small businesses, who faced major sales declines and the possibility of permanent closures. In these challenging times, we brought the insurance industry together for the first-ever virtual Back to Business Summit in September, an idea that was generated through a co-creation sprint we ran earlier in the year. The event aimed to provide small business customers with free access to experts on key business topics through 19 live and on-demand sessions. Our experts shared helpful information for owners on topics such as low-budget marketing, financial assistance programs, finding alternate revenue streams, legal considerations towards employees, and understanding their insurance coverage.
This initiative was met with an overwhelmingly positive response, motivating us to bring the event back in October with additional free sessions for the small business community. These sessions continue to be available on our official event page, and we encourage you to explore and share these with any owners you know who may benefit from this free knowledge!
Reflecting on this past year at Cookhouse Labs, it has undoubtedly been a fascinating one full of new ideas, connections, and opportunities. As we raise a glass in celebration of these achievements, we want to take a moment to appreciate our global community of innovators. Thanks to your continued support and enthusiasm, we have achieved innovation across borders on a scale beyond our wildest dreams. You inspire us to dream bigger on our journey to #MakeInsuranceBetter, and for this we are truly grateful!
Looking forward, we’re delighted to announce that our 2021 Events Calendar is now live, full of exciting Masterclasses, co-creation projects, and global innovation opportunities! As a token of our appreciation to the community, we’ve extended our 50% Virtual Discount on our Annual Memberships to December 31st, 2020, with Memberships starting at $250 CAD monthly. We invite you to check out our upcoming events and other perks of becoming a Cookhouse Labs Member — hurry, our 50% Virtual Discount ends in less than 3 weeks!
‘Tis the season for gift-giving, and as we approach the deadline for shipping, we thought we’d share some of the best gifts that made our list.
To help you with your holiday shopping, we’ve created a list of 5 innovative gifts to send your loved ones this season. All of these gifts are available online, making them safe and easy to deliver to your friends and family members.
So go ahead — end the year on a festive note with our top gift picks!
1. Must-Have WFH Technology
In March, organizations around the world shifted to virtual workspaces, creating a shortage of basic work-from-home (WFH) technology. It’s not too late to send the busy professionals in your life the newest versions of necessary WFH tech to improve their virtual game, such as a Video Conference Lighting Kit or a Smart Wi-Fi Router for Wi-Fi dead spots around the house. Even further, many of us have struggled with discomfort from poor posture in the home office. Why not send your giftee an innovative Massage Roller to relax those tense muscles this holiday season?
2. Virtual Travelling Experience (VR Tourism)
Gift your favorite traveler their own VR Headset to complement a virtual travelling experience! Whether they choose to take a breathtaking helicopter ride over tourist spots around the world or visit NASA research facilities across the U.S., you can rest assured that you will have given them the gift of travel in the safest way possible this year.
3. A Gift Card from Your Favorite Small Business
Earlier this year, we ran a 6-month project to support heavily impacted community businesses during these challenging times. We invite you to play your part by sending your loved ones a gift card or purchase a gift online from your favorite local business. Some cool ideas from independent businesses include customized self-care kits, handcrafted home décor and clothing, and virtual group classes for activities such as painting, yoga, and cooking.
4. Phone Screen Magnifier
This special gift will double the size of your phone screen while maintaining the HD quality, making it the perfect gift for anyone with a smartphone. Give your loved ones a break from focusing on tiny pixels — they’ll love you for it!
5. Silk Pillowcases
Recent developments in the industry have led to pillowcases with cooling capabilities that prevent bedhead and reduce damage to skin. This holiday season, give your friends and family the gift of luxurious sleep with must-have silk pillowcases!
We hope our list has helped you create your own holiday list. From all of us at Cookhouse Labs, we wish you and your loved ones a wonderful and safe holiday this year — and we can’t wait to see you in the New Year!
Wondering what we have planned for 2021? Our Events Calendar is live and full of innovative projects, Masterclasses, and global events. Check it out here!
Last week, I had the pleasure of chatting with WinterHack 2020 Winner, Team EMIL-Hannover Re. I asked Dr. Lorenz Kemper (Hannover Re) and Henrik Dittmar (EMIL Group Gmbh) to share behind-the-scenes stories and advice from their WinterHack 2020 experience — check out the full interview below!
Team EMIL-Hannover Re, congratulations on your huge success at WinterHack 2020! Before we dive into the event, let’s do a quick round of introductions first.
Lorenz: I have been working as a Data Scientist at Hannover Re for 2 years now. Just recently, I became the first member of the Hannover Re Digital Accelerator, where I am responsible for the technical aspects in a team that works with insurers, digital insurers, and InsurTechs to get them going globally.
Henrik: I am the Head of Product at EMIL Group. We’re a technology company that helps insurance companies quickly launch innovative products.
Thank you for the introductions! We’d love to know, what inspired you to join WinterHack 2020?
Lorenz: When I heard about WinterHack, I thought it was a great place to meet like-minded people and network to meet possible corporate partners from other parts of the InsurTech industry, such as a primary insurer or technology provider.
Henrik: Since we provide software for insurers and reinsurers, it’s essential for us to collaborate with them and see how they are thinking, especially when it comes to innovation. Networking, of course, is a motivator, but we really want to know how insurers and reinsurers approach innovation.
Speaking of collaboration, this was your first time meeting one another. How did you connect and how was the experience of working together?
Lorenz: We hit it off on a personal note very quickly. We actually met before the event for a quick call to get to know one another and to get on the same page. We talked about our backgrounds and our goals for the event, and in that initial call, we decided we wanted to have fun but also win the competition!
Henrik: It was a fun 2 days, which has a lot to do with the team. In our case, that meant Lorenz as our teammate! We started out on the same page and worked well from the beginning, which was really nice.
It’s always great hearing about successful collaborations! Diving into your solution now, which of the 4 challenges did you choose to tackle and what was your idea?
Lorenz: This is a funny story — the jury panel thought we were tackling the challenge of loneliness for the elderly, but what we were really focusing on was digital subscription models!
Henrik: Our solution was an app that integrates many tools and services from around the digital world and makes them accessible to senior citizens, so I understand how the confusion happened! It was all about combining these easy-to-use services in an app as an entryway into the digital world for senior citizens.
How was your experience using Design Thinking to develop this solution?
Lorenz: Design Thinking was a good way to encourage customer-centric thinking, especially because none of us are a customer group. We used Design Thinking to empathize with the customer, but we actually didn’t use all of the tools. We cherry-picked within the toolbox of Design Thinking to select the best tools that would help us reach our goal, such as the Persona, Empathy Map, and Journey Map, and decided very quickly what product we wanted to pitch.
Henrik: The target group focus in the Design Thinking approach is very essential in today’s world, especially when it comes to innovation and developing something the target group actually wants. It was very helpful for us to get into the mindset of the user group and start from there. Our general approach was to get to the prototyping stage very early, and so we chose the tools that went along with that. We wanted to create the solution quickly and test it by having the prototype ready, creating a landing page, and seeing how people would react when they saw the page, which is how we chose to validate it.
On that note, what else do you believe contributed to your overall success at WinterHack 2020?
Lorenz: Because we were a small team, we were really quick and well-coordinated. Everyone took charge of certain tasks quickly and owned them. We were very clear on who was responsible for each task and relied on them to do a great job.
Henrik: Our focus on prototyping the solution early helped us create something that in the end, when the judges saw it, conveyed the usefulness of the idea in real-life. As much of a bubble as these 2 days were, that’s what they were trying to evaluate — how much would this idea make sense outside of this context?
Looking back at the event, how would you describe your overall experience?
Lorenz: For me, it was fun and broadened my perspective in many ways. I was surprised at how much we were able to get done in 2 days. I was also quite surprised that we were able to hit a personal note even though we had never met before! This was new to me, because I felt this year that it would be difficult to really connect with other people via Zoom, but I think we were able to do that quite effectively. It was a big learning for me!
Henrik: There was a lot to do in 2 days and we worked through it quite well as a team, which made it really enjoyable. Our skillsets matched up very well with all of the tasks we had to do!
As you know, at Cookhouse Labs our mission is to #MakeInsuranceBetter for everyone! How do you think your solution and events like WinterHack 2020 help achieve this?
Lorenz: In a way, our product has the same characteristics as what makes insurance better. Our product aims to bring technology to the elderly, who typically are not the primary users of technology but could benefit from it. Technology can improve their lives and make things much easier for them. In the same way, the industry is not typically the first to take up digital ideas and technology. However, it is an industry that is predestined to make use of technology, and in this way, we can make insurance better.
Henrik: Historically, insurance has been a slow industry, especially when it comes to product innovation. It takes a very long time to launch an insurance product. Changing this mindset is one thing that events like WinterHack encourage, and this is our goal at EMIL, too. We want to make it technologically possible to launch new products, but this only works if we can bring the insurers we work with into the mindset to launch new products quickly. These types of industry events create the sensibility for innovation in a short time and make the process of quickly launching new products possible.
Team EMIL-Hannover Re, thank you for an insightful interview and congratulations once again on your big win at WinterHack 2020. We wish you the best and hope to see this collaboration continue in the future!
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Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with WinterHack 2020 Runner-Up, Team Munich Re. I chatted with Abhishek Gupta, Calvin Choi, Joanna A., Salman Ghaffar, and Tommy Kim about the process of developing their innovative solution and invited them to reflect on their experience and success at the global ideathon.
Team Munich Re, congratulations on your big win! Before we begin, let’s start with a quick intro. What can you tell us about yourselves in 30 seconds?
Abhishek: I’m a Business Development Manager for IoT in the Applied Technology Division at HSB Canada. I focus on commercializing sensor and IoT technology here in Canada, which includes water, temp, and pipe sensors.
Calvin: I’m a Data Analyst within the Client Company Management Team at HSB Canada. My role involves assisting Client Company Managers with data to build compelling stories about why clients should work with us.
Joanna: I’m a Marketing Communications Specialist at HSB Canada with a focus on branding and digital marketing. It’s been a rewarding journey for me as a marketer, being part of a team that encourages intrapreneurship, and a company that’s innovative, technologically driven, forward thinking, and people focused.
Salman: I also work in the Applied Technology Division at HSB Canada as an IoT Operations Specialist. We bring solutions from the U.S. to implement in the Canadian market, and my responsibility is to ensure everything goes smoothly, from bringing in the solution hardware to installing it at client locations.
Tommy: I’m from Munich Re Company of Canada, which is a life, property, and casualty business. My current role is a Senior Actuarial Analyst from the Pricing team, and my day-to-day responsibilities include supporting the Reinsurance business with actuarial services.
Great, thank you for the introductions! We’d love to know, how did you come together and what inspired you to join WinterHack 2020?
Abhishek: I was looking for an amazing and super talented team with lots of brainpower! I came across one of our champions from MRoC, Tommy Kim, who is great to work with. I found more talented people from our organization: Calvin, who is a new member of HSB Canada and was very excited about the ideathon; Salman, who is our IoT Specialist and is incredibly talented; and Joanna, who brought everything together from a marketing perspective.
Calvin: What motivated me was the space for people to come together to innovate in the insurance industry. If you think about it, the industry has always been resistant to innovation and change, so if there’s an opportunity to work with like-minded people on innovative ideas and solutions that can help develop the industry, I’m all for it.
Joanna: Abhishek was putting together a team to represent Munich Re at WinterHack 2020 and he reached out. The theme “Digital Ecosystems” was a huge driver for me to join the team. As a marketer, I’m always thinking of innovative and better ways to do business, so it was a good fit.
Salman: I’ve been a part of QHacks, which is hosted by Queens University, so I understood how hackathons work. Considering WinterHack 2020 was going to be held remotely, I was a little inquisitive as well about how it would go, and that motivated me to participate.
Tommy: What inspired me to join was the passion from my colleagues. It’s always difficult for an individual to get something done, but the synergy that Abhi brought into one team was definitely a great inspiration.
That’s awesome! Let’s dive further into the event: Which of the 4 challenges did you choose to tackle and how did you decide?
Abhishek: We chose the first challenge, which was to reduce isolation and loneliness for elderly people. It was quite a deliberation process — we spent about 60% of our workday just on choosing the challenge! We created a matrix with parameters and every single team member scored the challenges from 1 to 5 based on these parameters. We used a weighted average to select the challenge we were going to work on. We realized later on that everyone on our team is very empathetic, when we all understood pain points for the elderly and how our solution can really help them.
Tommy: I really love the fact that we were able to share our thoughts and visions for each challenge. It’s fantastic that Abhi proposed the matrix we used, because at the end, we were very objective in how we selected a challenge.
Could you describe your experience using Design Thinking to develop your solution?
Abhishek: Design Thinking is a different way of thinking when creating a product, and as a team, we understood how important it was. I’d say Calvin and Salman did an incredible job creating a customer journey map that detailed each point in the journey. Salman shared with us that his mother’s age is similar to our Persona, and his understanding of her experience really helped us.
Calvin: We really focused on being empathetic to what the customer journey would look like. On the other hand, we also focused on practicality and how the company could benefit from a product like ours. We made sure to empathize with both sides when designing this product.
Joanna: Design Thinking is the way to go. You simply can’t develop a solution without empathizing with your customer, and building on that is key. Design Thinking flows in that direction. It’s logical and efficient.
Salman: My mother is a single parent who is a similar age and I’ve seen her struggles and how she feels about technology at this age, and it was really helpful in drafting our journey map. We wanted to address those needs and bring the human touch to our solution, because at the end of the day, technology cannot replace the human touch.
What do you believe contributed to your success at WinterHack 2020?
Abhishek: The biggest factor behind our success was bringing together amazing people. Joanna brought her marketing perspective to create a credible product offering. Calvin and Salman had a streamlined approach to empathizing with the customer and creating the journey map. Tommy brought his actuarial skills, and he was very focused on the commercialization aspect and feasibility of our idea. It was all about bringing together the synergies of different talented people.
Calvin: We all tried to see things from each other’s point of view. We took the time to listen to and understand everyone’s ideas. I think that also contributed hugely to our success.
Salman: I agree completely — all the credit goes to the team. This is one of the best team experiences I’ve ever had. Everyone brought in their skillsets while remaining open-minded and respectful towards others’ ideas. If there was a difference in opinion, we used thoughtful discussions to sort through the pros and cons of each idea and to decide on the best way forward.
Tommy: What worked well was the synergy based on trust and open-mindedness. I also have to upsell the support we got from Cookhouse Labs: the templates guided us in the right direction on how to develop and present our solution in the end, so thank you!
How would you describe your overall WinterHack 2020 experience?
Abhishek: It’s been fabulous! Previously, we had an opportunity to participate in the SummerHack, which was again a wonderful experience. WinterHack, I would say, was a notch higher for us because when everyone came together, we fit like a glove. Even though we all came from different experiences and backgrounds, everyone was respectful and open-minded. I also have to say that the event was amazingly organized by Cookhouse Labs. You gave us all the design templates and guidance we needed, and I really want to thank the whole team for helping us along the way.
Calvin: It was a lot of fun for me, because we were on the same page and everyone was very encouraging. I would say, though, that at the end it got a little stressful, because we raced to get everything done on time. Cookhouse Labs did a great job making this a very seamless and smooth process, and even when we got to the Final Pitch Event, I had a great time listening to everyone’s pitches. I noticed some pitches applied cultural aspects from the region the team was in, and this international aspect was cool to see.
Salman: Spending two days together almost felt like a family! It was a wonderful experience, and we had a lot of fun. When signing up for WinterHack, I was curious about the entirely virtual experience and how it would be managed. Cookhouse Labs did an amazing job with sharing resources and guiding teams through all the steps, so thank you!
Tommy: Having judges with a lot of professional expertise and knowledge was great. Also, the event format was virtual, which was a nice experience to be part of. Before COVID-19, I would have never thought of being part of a virtual competition because I would have wanted to feel the synergy and energy within the same room and in-person. However, virtual collaboration was not a barrier for our team, which was a wonderful experience.
How do you think your solution and events like this help #MakeInsuranceBetter?
Abhishek: Using methodologies like Design Thinking promotes lateral thinking, and the time crunch fosters and accelerates the kind of thinking needed to create a viable product. At the end of the day, something we create here has the potential to become a real insurance product. We observed the judges’ interest and our organization’s enthusiasm for this idea, which means this idea could very soon become a real product offering.
Calvin: Insurance products, with respect to P&C or personal lines, are generally similar across the industry. How can companies set themselves apart from the rest? Usually, this is through value-adds that they can provide to policyholders. When companies want to compete for customers, they need to think of these creative value-adds to provide to policyholders. The product we came up with is a nice example of a value-add that a home or life insurer can provide, and this can set them apart from other insurers. This is what makes the difference between one company and another.
Joanna: Events like this open the floor for thinking outside the box and innovating, and when you combine innovation with Design Thinking and its focus on empathy, you make insurance better.
Salman: I’m a strong advocate for using technology to push the envelope further. What we see is that the insurance industry is late to adopt technological trends. An event like this helps to change this perception and helps companies in the ecosystem realize the importance of technology in improving their products for the end-user. Even further, it helps adopt these technological solutions and advance the industry as a whole.
Tommy: The perspective towards the insurance industry is that it is very reactive, not proactive. These events encourage the industry to become proactive and offering meaningful services to customers, which is progress.
Team Munich Re, thank you so much for sharing your insights with our readers and congratulations once again on your big win at WinterHack 2020. We wish you the best going forward and hope to see your solution come to life as a real product offering in the near future!
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Last week, we wrapped up our first ever virtual WinterHack 2020: Global Design Thinking Ideathon. We were delighted to partner with InsurLab Germany and msg to bring this exciting event to life! After months of planning and preparation, we kicked the event off on November 3rd in 3 different continents with 12 different re/insurance organizations. At the end of the 2-day ideathon, our teams competed in an exciting Final Pitch Event to blow our global panel of judges away with their disruptive solutions, and boy, did they succeed!
In case you missed it, here’s a recap of the global ideathon and highlights from the 3-day event:
A truly diverse and global event
We ran the ideathon in 3 different regions (APAC, EMEA, and the Americas) with 85+ participants from all over the world who spoke 12 different languages. Our insurers partnered to form 11 insurance teams that consisted of a diverse mix of re/insurers, brokers, startups, vendors, and student innovators. Some of our teams even comprised of members who were continents apart — now, that’s true global collaboration!
Announcing our “Digital Ecosystems” challenges
Our kickoff events were full of energy and excitement, hosted by Lead Facilitator Ibeth Ramos and Co-Founder Sven Roehl. At the kickoff events, we announced our 4 “Digital Ecosystems” challenges:
Reduce Loneliness How might we develop a solution/service offering to reduce social isolation or loneliness of elderly people?
Building Inspection How might we develop a highly automated service/solution for building inspection of commercial properties?
Subscription Model How might we develop a new subscription-based business model of insurance built on Digital Ecosystems?
Understanding Insurance How might we develop a solution/service allowing customers to fully understand the personal risk and coverage situation?
Together, the teams counted down the final seconds and off they went to tackle their chosen challenge!
Design Thinking — our innovation compass
We challenged our teams to use Design Thinking as a compass to guide their innovation journeys. To help our teams prepare, our Innovation Experts created an Introduction to Design Thinking Masterclass and a prep guide titled “WinterHack 2020: A Guide to Disrupting Insurance in Just 2 Days”. We wanted to provide our teams with support during the event, and to achieve this, we scheduled regular breakout sessions with our Innovation Team to walk our participants through the Design Thinking stages in more detail and to answer questions from our teams. Since these breakout sessions were run in 3 different time zones, our facilitation team delivered trainings at all hours of the day (and night)! From 8pm EST on Monday, November 2nd until 6pm EST on Wednesday, November 4th, our Zoom lines were shut down for 2 only hours — the rest of the time, the Cookhouse Labs team was online and continuously available!
The big reveal
On November 5th, we brought our global innovators together for a combined Final Pitch Event, attended by members of our innovation community. We were delighted to welcome leaders from across the world as members of our jury panel! On our panel, we had:
Torsten Oletzky, Professor of Strategy and Process Management at Cologne University of Applied Sciences
Our judges were amazed at the creative and well-designed solutions our teams revealed! All of our teams focused on helping customers understand their insurance policies better or on supporting senior citizens as they combat loneliness. Each team shared a unique approach to tackle these challenges through AI, mobile apps, tablets, and sensory devices. At the end of the event, the judges deliberated on the winners and returned with the big announcement:
Winning Team: Hannover Re and EMIL Group Gmbh
Runner-Up: Munich Re Canada
Our winning team took home a 6 months Cookhouse Labs membership, and will enjoy free access to a variety of open co-creation projects, Masterclasses, global pop-up Labs, and support from our Certified Innovation Experts! Our runner-up won tickets to insureNXT|CGN courtesy of InsurLab Germany, a new congress fair with the goal to develop new business models by connecting traditional insurers, start-ups and cross industry partners.
We want to congratulate all of our teams for conquering WinterHack 2020! We were blown away by the creative ideas, dedication, and hard work from all of you. Every idea pitched at the Final Pitch Event has the potential to disrupt the insurance industry and we can’t wait to see what you achieve next!
A big thank you to our partners, teams, judges, and community members for your continued support and enthusiasm for our global innovation event. Your excitement encourages us to dream bigger on our journey to #MakeInsuranceBetter and we look forward to seeing you at SummerHack 2021!
Wondering when the next innovation opportunity will be? Stay informed by joining our innovation community — sign up for our newsletter and follow us on LinkedIn!
This global event brings together InsurTech experts and innovators from all over the world for 2 days of exciting insurance innovation and friendly competition. Our teams will tackle challenges of “Digital Ecosystems in Insurance”, and under the guidance and support of our Certified Innovation Experts, use Design Thinking to develop creative solutions to present to our esteemed panel of judges at the Final Pitch Event!
To help you prepare for our upcoming virtual Ideathon, we’ve put together this quick guide on how to disrupt the insurance industry using Design Thinking in time for Thursday’s deadline!
While the Design Thinking stages may sound time-consuming, it’s possible to walk through each of them within a short timeframe. As a reminder, our Innovation Team will be available via regular check-in calls during the event to answer any questions and provide support on how to follow Design Thinking to develop impactful solutions. Please note that each check-in calls will be held between 9 AM to 6 PM in three different time zones — Eastern Standard Time (EST), Central European Time (CET), and Singapore Time (SGT).
So, how can you use Design Thinking to create a winning solution in just 2 days?
Below, we share a quick guide on how you can structure your time according to the stages in the Design Thinking methodology to help you conquer WinterHack 2020 and blow our judges away!
Tuesday, November 3rd 10:45 AM – Empathize
At 10:00 AM, the Cookhouse Labs team will announce our “Digital Ecosystems” challenges and you will have 2 days to create your solution for your chosen challenge!
After you select your challenge, your Design Thinking journey begins with the first stage, Empathize. This is where you will begin to understand your target group, which can be done in 2 ways: internet research and interviews with your persona. You can’t create a customer-centric solution without putting yourself in the shoes of the customer, and a good way to do this is to speak directly with the potential customer and listen.
Deliverables: By the end of this stage, you will have:
An Empathy Map to help you visualize how the user thinks/feels and documents their pain points
1st Check-In: Our Innovation Experts will be available from 10:45AM to 11:15AM!
2:00 PM – Define
The next stage focuses on constructing a point of view based on the user’s needs. Here, you will take time to reflect on what the user has shared with you and to visualize their experience. By doing so, you can define what problem you are trying to solve based on your persona’s main needs and pain points, which will help you shape a better experience for the user.
Deliverables: By the end of this stage, you will have:
A Journey Map, which is a narrative of your user’s steps to accomplish a specific goal. This is mapped out in 2 layers: a timeline of the user’s actions and their thoughts/emotions while completing each task. You want to identify areas where the user encounters obstacles or barriers along their journey
How Might We (HMW) statement, a brief statement presented in form of a question that clarifies the actual problem you are focusing on based on the Journey Map and identifies the benefits and gains the solution. In the same project about bankruptcy mitigation, our team created 20 HMW statements and selected, “How might we reduce the risk of financial impact of current economic events?” and as they moved through interviews and customer journey the focus of their project became “How might we use the Internet of Things to assist small business owners with their Financial management, improve profitability and reduce bankruptcy?”. (Notice the benefits and gains in bold)
2nd Check-In: Our Innovation Experts will be available from 2:00PM to 2:30PM!
4:30 PM – Design
After selecting a single HMW statement to focus on, it’s time to ideate! This stage is all about connecting to your inner child and using your imagination to come up with multiple solutions to the problem your team identified. Quantity is important here, so remember to list as many possibilities as you can!
Deliverables: By the end of this stage, you will have:
Multiple possible solutions to tackle the challenge in various timeframes
A chosen idea to begin prototyping!
3rd Check-In: Our Innovation Experts will be available from 4:30 PM to 5:00 PM!
Wednesday, November 4th 11:00 AM – Create
Once your team has voted on a winning idea, you are now ready to build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). You will begin by creating a low-fidelity prototype, which could take the form of a sketch, Excel spreadsheet, or PowerPoint presentation.
Deliverables: By the end of this stage, you will have:
A sketch of your Lo-Fi prototype to help visualize and test the solution
4th Check-In: Our Innovation Experts will be available from 11:00AM to 11:30 AM!
3:30 PM – Wrap-Up
In a little over 2 hours, you will submit your final solution!
At this time, you should begin to practice your pitch and prepare any materials required (such as PowerPoint slides). Remember, you will have to submit a 3-minute video of your pitch to play for our panel of judges, who will ask you follow-up questions right after!
Deliverables: By the end of this stage, you will have:
Submitted your pitch video on our platform, including a brief description and all supporting materials
Prepared for questions fromour judgesat our Final Pitch Event beginning at 8:00 AM EST
5th Check-In: Our Innovation Experts will be available from 3:30 PM to 4 PM!
To provide even further support, our Innovation Team has prepared an Introduction to Design Thinking video to introduce you to the methodology and on the day of the event, you will have access to breakout sessions where our experts will explain in more detail each phase of the methodology. They will also be available to answer any questions.
And with that, you are now ready to disrupt the insurance industry!
We wish all our teams the best of luck for WinterHack 2020! We invite our community members to join the Final Pitch Event on Thursday, November 5th at 8:00 AM EST to see the exciting solutions our teams of insurers, startups, and student innovators develop.
“I enjoyed the multitude of ideas and the level of engagement. At these events, I get a huge input of ideas in a short period of time, which is what I look for. I also enjoyed seeing how the virtual setup worked and how everyone was able to collaborate, even though they were in different rooms!"
Bernd ScharrerCOO Operations/IT at VHV Holding AG
“I always come away from Cookhouse Labs events with lots of new contacts and lots of new ideas. The types of people I meet at these events are great! Everybody’s willing to help each other out and everybody’s interested in each other’s ideas. The connections you make at these events are brilliant, and I think just having that comradery in the insurance community can only make the industry better.”
Emily Hill Manager, Strategy & Planning, TD Insurance
“WinterHack 2020 was an incredible global event — chapeau to all the amazing participants for an amazing design process and a great job!! Thank you for hosting this ideathon, and hope to see some of these ideas on our portfolio next year!”
Gil AraziFounder and Managing Partner, FinTLV
"First and foremost, Cookhouse Labs was an entryway into meeting a lot of parties within the Canadian insurance industry. We were introduced to senior leaders at MGAs and other insurance companies. We also got to participate in some interesting workshops with people that we deal with every day, like a workshop with underwriters to talk about the future of underwriting. It was interesting to get their point of view on how far we could push the envelope, where some of the constraints are, and why those constraints exist. It was very beneficial for us early on to have those sounding boards for some of our ideas to tell us how feasible they would be! "
Laura McKayCo-Founder of PolicyMe
"When signing up for WinterHack 2020, I was curious about the entirely virtual experience and how it would be managed. It was a wonderful experience, and we had a lot of fun. Cookhouse Labs did an amazing job with sharing resources and guiding teams through all the steps, so thank you!"
“Looking at this collaboration from a corporate viewpoint, I’d want to have the Cookhouse Labs spark of energy for disruption permeate all areas of my organization… It’s always about the people, collaboration & change.”
“This year I had the chance to work with the team at Cookhouse Labs. In a time where we are all grasping on how to enhance collaboration and innovation remotely, it was impressive to see how the team was able to deliver innovation programs and train the trainer teachings online. Not only did we get to be involved in innovation practices, but Cookhouse Labs also modelled how to deliver using collaboration tools that can be applied to working with any group of people. And the bonus? A chance to expand my community of innovation leaders!”
Susan GilbertDirector, Digital Operations at MIG Insurance and Co-Founder, Haekka
"You don't have to be Steve Jobs to be an innovative individual. I have to upsell the support we got from Cookhouse Labs: the templates guided us in the right direction on how to develop and present our solution in the end, so thank you!"
Tommy KimSenior Actuarial Analyst, Munich Re Company of Canada
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6. AMENDMENT OF THIS ANTI-SPAM POLICY AND GUIDELINES.
From time to time, Msg global solutions will review and update this Anti-Spam Commitment as required to keep current with rules and regulations, new technologies, standards, our business practices and outside parties’ concerns. We will post any Anti-Spam Commitment changes on this page and, if the changes are significant, we will provide a more prominent notice (including, as the case may be, email notification of Anti-Spam Commitment changes).
7. QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS ABOUT THIS ANTI-SPAM COMMITMENT?
If you need further assistance, please contact us at: email@example.com
Revised November 11, 2019.
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities
Documents Available Notification (AODA)
Dear Valued Clients and Visitors,
msg global solutions Canada Inc. has created policies and procedures to meet their obligations regarding customer service outlined in the Integrated Accessibility Standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. 2005.
Our accessibility policies are available for your review in a number of formats. Should you wish access to these documents in another way, please notify: firstname.lastname@example.org
Statement of Organizational Commitment
msg global solutions is committed to ensuring equal access and participation for people with disabilities. We are committed to treating people with disabilities in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We believe in integration and we are committed to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in a timely manner. We will do so by removing and preventing barriers to accessibility and meeting our accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and Ontario’s accessibility laws.
Statement of Commitment to Accessibility
msg global solutions is committed to providing a barrier-free environment for all stakeholders including our clients/customers, employees, job applicants, suppliers, and any visitors who may enter our premises, access our information, or use our services. As an organization, we respect and uphold the requirements set forth under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act(2005), and its associated standards and regulations.
msg global solutions understands that we have a responsibility for ensuring a safe, dignified, and welcoming environment for everyone. We are committed to ensuring our organization’s compliance by incorporating accessibility legislation into our policies, procedures, equipment requirements, training, and best practices. We will review these policies and practices annually, as organizational changes occur, or in anticipation of compliance deadlines. In addition, we will strive to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities in a timely and effective manner.
Providing an accessible and barrier-free environment is a shared effort, and as an organization, msg global solutions is committed to working with the necessary parties to make accessibility for all a reality. For more detailed information on our accessibility policies, plans, and training programs, please contact email@example.com
Alternate Format Request Form
msg global solutions is committed to providing accessible, quality services. Communications in alternate formats will be made available upon request within a reasonable time period in a mutually agreed upon format. Please complete and submit the below form to firstname.lastname@example.org
Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Record of Customer
Thank you for visiting msg global solutions and Cookhouse Labs. We value all our clients and strive to meet everyone’s needs. We look forward to your feedback. Please send us an email at email@example.com
Ten Privacy Principles
Accountability: We are responsible for personal information under our control and we have designated individuals who are accountable for our compliance with these privacy principles.
Identifying Purposes: We shall disclose the purposes for which we collect your personal information either before or at the time the information is collected.
Consent: Your knowledge and consent is required for our collection, use or disclosure of your personal information, subject to certain exceptions set out in the law. Your consent may be expressed in writing, verbally, electronically, and in certain circumstances, may also be implied.
Limiting Collection: Your personal information shall only be collected by fair and lawful means, and will be limited to that which is necessary for the identified purposes.
Limiting Use, Disclosure and Retention: Your personal information may only be used or disclosed for the purposes for which it was collected, other purposes to which you have consented or if required by law. Your personal information shall be retained only as long as necessary for the fulfillment of identified purposes, or as required or permitted by law.
Accuracy: We shall use reasonable efforts to ensure that your personal information is accurate, complete and as up-to-date as is necessary for the purposes for which it is to be used.
Safeguards: We shall protect your personal information using security safeguards appropriate to the sensitivity of your information to prevent unwanted release, misuse or intrusion.
Openness: Information about our privacy policies and procedures for handling your personal information shall be made available to you.
Individual Access: Upon written request, you will be informed of the existence, use and disclosure of your personal information. In addition, you will be given access to your personal information, as permitted by law. You may also verify the accuracy and completeness of your personal information and, where appropriate, request that it be amended.
Inquiries and Concerns: You may contact us if you have any questions or concerns about our privacy policies and procedures.
1.2. Contact Us
Information We Collect
2.1. When You Visit our Websites
You are free to explore the Websites without providing any information about yourself. However, when you visit the Websites, we may request that you provide Personal Information about yourself and we will collect Navigational Information.
2.2. “Personal Information”
This refers to any information that you voluntarily submit to us through the use of our Websites, and that identifies you personally, including contact information, such as your name, e-mail address, company name, address, phone number, and other information about yourself or your business. Personal Information can also include information about any transactions, both free and paid, that you enter into on the Websites, and information about you that is available on the internet, such as from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Google, or publicly available information that we acquire from service providers.
2.3. “Navigational Information”
This refers to information about your computer and your visits to this website such as your IP address, geographical location, browser type, referral source, length of visit and pages viewed. Please see section 4 the “Navigation Information” section, below.
2.4. Information About Individuals Under 18
The Websites are not intended for or targeted at individuals under 18, and we do not knowingly or intentionally collect information about individuals under 18. If you believe that we have collected information about an individual under 18, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by postal mail at: Cookhouse Labs, 30-34 Duncan Street , Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5H 1A1, Attention: Privacy, so that we may delete the information.
How We Use Information We Collect
3.1. We Never Sell Personal Information
We will never sell your Personal Information to any third party.
3.2. Use of Personal Information
3.3. Use of Navigational Information
We use Navigational Information to operate and improve the Websites and underlying marketing software. We may also use Navigational Information alone or in combination with Personal Information to provide you with personalized information about the Software Provider.
3.4. Customer Testimonials and Comments
We post customer testimonials and comments on our Websites, which may contain Personal Information. We obtain each customer’s consent via email prior to posting the customer’s name and testimonial.
3.4. Use of Credit Card Information
We do not directly collect credit card information from you. We use a third-party service provider to manage credit card processing. This service provider is not permitted to store, retain, or use information you provide except for the sole purpose of credit card processing on our behalf.
3.5. Service Providers
We employ other companies and people to provide services to visitors to our Websites, such as the use of underlying marketing software, and may need to share your information with them to provide information, products or services to you. Examples may include removing repetitive information from prospect lists, analyzing data, providing marketing assistance, processing credit card payments, supplementing the information you provide us in order to provide you with better service, and providing customer service. In all cases where we share your information with such agents, we explicitly require the agent to acknowledge and adhere to our privacy and customer data handling policies.
3.6. Security of your Personal Information
We use a variety of security technologies and procedures to help protect your Personal Information from unauthorized access, use or disclosure. We secure the Personal Information you provide on computer servers in a controlled, secure environment, protected from unauthorized access, use or disclosure. When sensitive Personal Information (such as geo-location data) is collected on our Websites and/or transmitted to other websites, it is protected through the use of encryption, such as the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol.
If you have any questions about the security of your Personal Information, you can contact us at: email@example.com, or by postal mail at: Cookhouse Labs, 30-34 Duncan Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5H 1A1, Attention: Privacy.
3.7. Social Media Features
3.8. External Websites
3.9. Retention of Personal Information
We retain Personal Information that you provide us as long as we consider it potentially useful in contacting you about our services and products, or as needed to comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes and enforce our agreements, and then we securely delete the information. We will delete this information from the servers at an earlier date if you so request, as described in the “Opting Out and Unsubscribing” section below.
If you have elected to receive marketing communications from us, we retain information about your marketing preferences for a reasonable period of time from the date you last expressed interest in our content, products, or services, such as when you last opened an email. We retain information derived from cookies and other tracking technologies for a reasonable period of time from the date such information was created.
3.10. International Transfer of Information
3.11. Corporate Events
If we (or our assets) are acquired by another company, whether by merger, acquisition, bankruptcy or otherwise, that company would receive all information gathered on the Websites. In this event, you will be notified via email and/or a prominent notice on our Website, of any change in ownership, uses of your Personal Information, and choices you may have regarding your Personal Information.
3.12. Compelled Disclosure
We reserve the right to use or disclose your Personal Information if required by law or if we reasonably believe that use or disclosure is necessary to protect our rights; protect your safety or the safety of others; investigate fraud; or comply with a law, court order or legal process.
We use “cookies” to help you personalize your online experience. A cookie is a text file that is placed on your hard disk by a web server. Cookies are not used to run programs or deliver viruses to your computer. Cookies are uniquely assigned to you, and can only be read by a web server in the domain that issued the cookie to you. One of the primary purposes of cookies is to provide a convenience feature to save you time. The purpose of a cookie is to tell the web server that you have returned to a specific page. For example, if you personalize pages on our Websites, a cookie helps us to recall your specific information on subsequent visits. When you return to the same Website, the information you previously provided can be retrieved, so you can easily use the customized features.
You have the ability to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. If you choose to decline cookies, you may not be able to fully experience the interactive features of the Websites you visit. Cookhouse Labs keeps track of the Websites and pages you visit within Cookhouse Labs, in order to determine what portion of the Website is the most popular or most used. This data is used to deliver customized content and promotions within the Website to customers whose behavior indicates that they are interested in a particular subject area.
4.2. Log Files
We may collect demographic information, such as your postal or zip code, age, gender, preferences, interests and favorites using log files that are not associated with your name or other Personal Information. There is also information about your computer hardware and software that is automatically collected by us. This information can include: your IP address, browser type, domain names, internet service provider (ISP), the files viewed on our site (e.g., HTML pages, graphics, etc.), operating system, clickstream data, access times and referring website addresses. This information is used by Cookhouse Labs for marketing purposes, to maintain the quality of the Websites and to provide general statistics regarding use of the Website. For these purposes, we do link this automatically-collected data to Personal Information, such as name, email address, address and phone number.
4.3. Clear Gifs (Web Beacons/Web Bugs)
We employ a software technology called clear gifs (a.k.a. “web beacons” or “web bugs”), that help us better manage the Website by informing us what content is effective. Clear gifs are tiny graphics with a unique identifier, similar in function to cookies, and are used to track the online movements of visitors to our Websites. In contrast to cookies, which are stored on a user’s computer hard drive, clear gifs are embedded invisibly on web pages or in emails and are about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. We use clear gifs in our HTML-based emails to let us know which emails have been opened by recipients. This allows us to gauge the effectiveness of certain communications and the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns. We tie the information gathered by clear gifs in emails to our customers’ Personal Information. If you would like to opt-out of these emails, please see “Opting Out and Unsubscribing”.
4.5. Third Party Tracking Technologies
How to Access & Control Your Personal Data
5.1. Reviewing, Correcting and Removing Your Personal Information
Upon request Cookhouse Labs will provide you with information about whether we hold any of your Personal Information. You have the following rights with respect to that information:
To request access, correction, updates or deletion of your personal information;
To object to processing of your personal information;
To restrict processing of your personal information;
To request portability of your personal information; and
To opt out of being solicited by Cookhouse Labs,
To exercise any of these rights, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by postal mail at: Cookhouse Labs, 30-34 Duncan Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5H 1A1, Attention: Privacy. We will respond to your request to change, correct or delete your information within a reasonable timeframe, and notify you of the action we have taken.
If we have collected and process your personal information with your consent, then you can withdraw your consent at any time. Withdrawing your consent will not affect the lawfulness of any processing we conducted prior to your withdrawal, nor will it affect processing of your personal information conducted in reliance on lawful processing grounds other than consent.
You have the right to complain to a data protection authority about our collection and use of your personal information.
5.2. Anti-Spam Policy
Our Acceptable Use Policy, at: www.cookhouselab.com/casl-acceptable-use, applies to us and, among other things, prohibits us from sending unsolicited commercial email in violation of applicable laws, and requires the inclusion of an “opt-out” mechanism in any commercial electronic messages that we send.
5.3. To Unsubscribe From Our Communications
You may unsubscribe from our marketing communications by clicking on the “unsubscribe” link located on the bottom of our commercial electronic messages, contacting us at: email@example.com, or by postal mail at: Cookhouse Labs, 30-34 Duncan Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5H 1A1, Attention: Privacy.