Innovation can be sparked through a variety of different ways. Sometimes, the spark comes from sheer necessity but other times, it can be born through an “Aha!” moment from a high-pressure environment.
Personally, I am a fan of innovation through the approach of “friendly competition.” Without some form of pressure (whether it be friendly or not), it is hard to innovate effectively.
In week 6, Cookhouse Lab focused on creating a “friendly competition” environment by running a four-hour micro-hackathon. We began with a team kick-off to determine the scope of our competition.
We decided to focus on the project’s unique value propositions (UVPs) which included data, proactive insurance check-ups and behaviour motivating challenges. Each of these UVPs enable our Loyalty & Rewards solution to provide a new level of personalization and care for insurance customers, addressing the problem statement we defined in week 2.
We then structured our friendly competition by utilizing these hackathon best practices:
- A short timeframe to create a pressured environment
- A diverse team-based competition
- A dedicated team space for the duration of the competition
- A single competition goal that is broad enough to creatively tackle but narrow enough to be solved within the designated amount of time
- Clear judging criteria
- Periodic mini-challenges to keep a level of high energy throughout the challenge
- A novel prize to incentivize the participants
The focus of the micro-hackathon was to create a new product out of only one of the UVPs. We split the project teams at random into two groups. Since our project deals with insurance customer lapse rates, each team would benefit from an actuarial perspective and insight. Therefore, both teams were led by our own member actuaries.
To provide impartial evaluation, we invited a judge from Hannover Re (Ireland) DAC Canadian Life Branch. This individual scored the presentations as each team pitched their product.
In the end, Team Red won with their focus on customer behaviour. Addressing each of the judging criteria areas, Team Red had a more customer-centric solution resulting in a longer value lifespan. They also provided a flexible and nimble solution with a realistic ROI that fit within the judge’s investable band.
This week, it was great to see our project scope narrowed as we move towards a flushed-out MVP within our target date. We are approaching Week 12 with much evidence that our insurance Loyalty & Rewards product is becoming more focused and addressing some of the questions that were surfaced during our Week 5 Pitch.