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ai Group financial update on its lab to promote entrepreneurship to the internal


Alain Castonguay

31 July 2017 07:00

France Lessard and Jean-François L’heureux | Photo : Alain Castonguay

«The connectivity of madness creates a chaos of opportunities «. It is this mantra that guides the activities of The Area, the lab’s innovative iA financial Group.

Its two leaders France Lessard and Jean-François L’heureux have presented a summary of the first works of the Area on the occasion of the conference InsurTech Québec, held in quebec city in April.

One of the constant challenges of leaders lab, launched in January 2016, is to distinguish real trends from fads. «Where should we put our efforts with our limited budgets ? We all have banks of data and business processes, goals to achieve. We don’t have the choice, it should change if one wants to advance, » said Ms. Lessard.

Mr. L’heureux adds that it is necessary to take advantage of this chaos, instead of considering it as a threat. «We must at all costs avoid the syndrome of stagnation,» he said.

The laboratory experimentation that is the Area promotes entrepreneurship internally, or the ability to complete an innovative project. It operates as a startup within the insurer. «It became a space of experimentation based on the involvement of the customer,» explains Ms. Lessard.

Within the multi-disciplinary team promotes collective intelligence and the need to get out of the trails already plotted. Each proposal is examined on its own merits. The processes are tested in a small prototyping. Ideas should be tested quickly with the customer. If they lead to a failure, the test shall be documented to draw out the appropriate lessons.

Sometimes, the selected solution is not the right one for the realisation of an idea. Jean-François L’heureux cites the case of a product that the insurer was preparing to launch, confident of its receptivity in the market, is an insurance against the unexpected. He gives the example of an output canceled at the last minute and the owner of the expensive tickets bought months earlier, did not have time to find a buyer for the seats.

The Area went to survey clients on the ground. «They made us understand that they were not interested,» he says. The team has failed with the project, even if the people who had the idea were some of its potential. Jean-François L’heureux has held that, regardless of the manner in which the offer is made, the client wants to participate. This will still be the case even if the product is already launched.

Some 130 ideas have been tested since its launch. «The magic ingredient of the recipe is simple : it is necessary to leave the latitude to the teams,» says Mr. L’heureux.

All the lines of business of the insurer shall collaborate in the work of the Area. «It integrates them according to the products. We try to contaminate it, » he said, adding that the best way to counter the natural resistance to change that is to get success.

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