We’re continuing our Silicon Beach special interviews this week with a conversation with LV’s Fast-Track Director, Rod Willmott.

The first thing I asked Rod was what the heck a Fast-Track Director was. And – quite sensibly – it’s a way to avoid using the ‘innovation’ word and suffering from all the baggage that comes with it. Instead, the focus of his job is to get things out there quickly and cheaply that would normally get mired in process and run out of steam before they ever make it to market.

Get things out there quickly and cheaply

Insurance isn’t exactly an industry that’s known for its innovation or bravery. But Rod feels that the industry understands risk, it’s corporate culture that tends to hold things back because people are averse to change. The way to deal with that is:

– to do things in small chunks

– to not bet the farm on anything

– prove to people that doing something differently isn’t hard or risky

It’s corporate culture that tends to hold things back because people are averse to change.Click To Tweet

I wanted to know whether he thought it was best to start with technology or to start with a problem. And Rod believes you need to start at both ends. He’s constantly scanning for new technology to see if there can be an interesting use of it in the business. But he also looks at business problems and sees if any of the technology he’s aware of can help. Regardless of the approach, you still need to understand what technology is out there.

You still need to understand what technology is out there

Rod’s fast-track approach isn’t just focused on the outcome – it’s also a way of demonstrating to people that it’s possible to do things differently. And to show people that they can improve what they’re doing to make things more efficient, faster and cheaper.

Part of that is about making things visible. LV have an innovation lab in a glass room in the middle of their restaurant. It’s there so that people see it all the time and feel free to get involved.

Show people that they can improve what they’re doing to make things more efficient, faster and cheaper

And part of the aim is to change the vocabulary used inside that company, particularly in the boardroom. Getting terms like ‘test and learn’, ‘agile’, ‘fail fast’ and ‘experimentation’ used in meetings leads to actions that are more conducive to an innovative approach.

Rod believes it’s important not to just focus on new products and concepts. A lot of what he looks at is core innovation – which is often more about processes and efficiency. It may not seem glamorous but it can make a big difference to the company.

He also looks at adjacent innovation, where they drive new products to market as low-cost tests.

And finally, he looks at market-changing innovation, where LV can do things fundamentally differently than the competition.

Innovation needs to be applied at every level

He believes that innovation needs to be applied at every level across the organisation, from changing the way the insurance industry works to changing the way an individual gets through their day.

And that’s why LV has a reputation for being one of the most innovative insurance companies in the UK.

We’ll have one more Silicon Beach interview before we take our festive break. And then more in the new year, you lucky sausage, you!

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https://youtu.be/7SVzfHyOxaA We’re continuing our Silicon Beach special interviews this week with a conversation with LV’s Fast-Track Director, Rod Willmott. The first thing I asked Rod was what the heck a Fast-Track Director was. And - quite sensibly - it’s a way to avoid using the ‘innovation’ word and suffering from all the baggage...
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Dave Birss
Founder and Editor at OpenForIdeas.org
Dave is obsessed with creativity. He's been a musician, illustrator, stand-up comedian, poet, radio DJ, television presenter and advertising creative director. He also wrote A User Guide to the Creative Mind.
Now he runs Open for Ideas and helps individuals and companies become more creative.
You can find him speaking at conferences all over the world. And sharing his thinking in boardrooms, universities and dimly-lit pubs.