One of the first questions we are often asked is, “Why was Cookhouse Lab founded?” We began with the concept of creating an ecosystem that brings insurers together to work towards our common goal of making insurance better.
With this vision in mind, we started our innovation journey by talking to many insurance experts and open-minded thinkers, met with innovation geniuses and successful InsurTech entrepreneurs and accelerators. Through this exploration, we realized the opportunity to make a true impact in the world of insurance was to introduce Open Innovation.
The challenge: How insurers innovate today
Almost all insurers started their innovation journey by setting up their own corporate innovation lab, a sandbox where they try new things, technologies and products. Others, select their most talented people within their organization and send them to innovation hubs, like Silicon Valley, where they meet big digital players to learn more about what disruption means and what the insurance industry has to fear in the future. In addition, insurers are also actively investing in FinTechs and InsurTechs to make sure that they can preserve their place in the food chain when disruption will hit them.
However, it is unclear how many internal ideas being worked on actually make it to the market, or what real value is being generated by the millions and millions of dollars being invested.
And the real question is, why should we invest in disruptors, when we can disrupt ourselves?
Our answer: Cookhouse Lab
Cookhouse Lab invites global insurers, reinsurers, technologists, academics, and entrepreneurs to collectively join forces and accelerate (and disrupt) the insurance innovation landscape by adopting an open collaborative model.
It is a place where insurers collaborate to tackle the big questions and problems of the future and work as an industry to find the best solutions for their customers.
How does this work?
When a challenge has been established, the first step is to find the best ideas or possible solutions to work on. Now, one way to approach this ideation process is to bring smart people together, lock them in a room (so to speak) and see what they come up with. But what if we can bring this to the next level and involve insurance experts from all around the world to digitally come together and have them share their ideas too?
In late Spring, we will be launching our Insurance Expert Crowdsourcing Platform. Cookhouse Lab members can place challenges, such as “How can we improve tsunami warning?” or “What are the best use cases of Blockchain for insurance?” and experts from all over the world can post their ideas, discuss them with other experts and vote on these ideas directly in the platform.
Once the crowd has identified the best idea or solution, our Advisory Team, consisting of executive representatives from our members will work with us to bring a specific problem statement(s) into the lab as an official innovation project.
Annual lab members will have the opportunity to work on these innovation projects. Additionally, our vast network of global insurers/reinsurers will also be notified and invited to partake on these projects through one of our membership plans.
Our views on success
With each project (no longer than a 90 day sprint), our aim is to generate an investable business case and prototype (Minimum Viable Products: MVP). Our success will hinge on accelerating the speed of insurance innovation (how many projects are worked on), how many MVPs make it to market, and what big industry challenges our collective membership have tackled together.
With any start-up organization, business models will evolve, things will change, and Cookhouse Lab is no different. Since the launch of our lab in February, we’ve already pivoted many times and we continue to evolve based on the feedback of our membership. We are excited to have our first set of members on board and slated to welcome a handful more.
I hope you gained some insight into the beginnings of our business and looking forward to hosting you at our test kitchen someday.