Two important lessons entrepreneur Zia Zaman has learned from his work at start-ups include the importance of good timing and that business benefits must always be driven by a focus on the customer.
His view is that innovation in the insurance industry today is an imperative rather than an option.
Zaman is the Chief Innovation Officer, MetLife Asia, worked as CMO of FAST, an enterprise search start-up based in Oslo, which he helped triple in revenue, which eventually led to its acquisition by Microsoft for US$1.2billion in 2008.
“There are quite a few people around the world who haven’t been engaged by financial services or insurance as a solution to their everyday needs,” he says.
“These segments are talking on the phone, they’re certainly using social networks, they’re using search, but most financial services don’t really speak to them. Product and service experiences aren’t tailored to their needs.”
Rather than trying to whittle away features, Zaman argues the better approach is to build a product or service from the ground up.
Zaman believes that growth is often tied to innovation, “Rather than being a chief strategy officer who always looks backwards and asks, ‘What are the forces affecting our industry?’ I wanted to be the innovator, who thinks about our future, and works back from that.”
“That’s called the future back approach. It means using a more iterative process — you build something, you test it with a customer, you validate it, you learn, you test, and you learn, and you test and you learn.”
As a speaker at the 2018 ANZIIF Insurtech Conference in Sydney, Zaman plans to share more of his experiences within individual projects.