Blog & News

Cookhouse Lab Opens its Doors in Toronto

[fa icon="calendar"] Feb 1, 2017 2:15:13 PM / by Natalie Ho

Natalie Ho


Cookhouse Lab InsurTech TorontoThis morning, Cookhouse Lab proudly opened its doors in Toronto. The unique space built for open collaboration was buzzing with excitement as the lab chefs prepared to kick off Innovation Day. The crowd joining us today includes reinsurance and insurance experts, financial service professionals, academics and entrepreneurs from local and global communities. Get a taste of this morning’s activities below!

We have the opportunity to disrupt our own industry

Co-founder Chris Murumets opened up the floor by discussing opportunities the insurance industry currently has at their fingertips. “There is a spotlight on our industry because people are eager to disrupt and innovate within”. Murumets stressed the importance of creating this disruption ourselves instead of waiting for it to happen. And that is exactly what the Cookhouse Lab offers – a space to think, collaborate openly and co-create disruptive ideas for the InsurTech space.

What does the World Orchestra have to do with Insurance Innovation?

Next, our guests heard from Grzech Piotrowski – founder of the World Orchestra. You might be thinking what does a musician have to do with insurance and innovation? Well Piotrowski did to the Orchestra what we are trying to do with insurance. He disrupted it. Piotrowski’s World Orchestra puts a unique twist on the traditional set up of an orchestra. Instead of set lists and standard instruments, the World Orchestra encourages open improvisation on all types of instruments or devices that can create sound. In fact, on his plane ride over from Poland, Piotrowski met a few musicians and decided to play in a mini concert in the sky. His journey has successfully connected musicians from all over the world and created a new energy and dialogue in music. 

What can we learn from the World Orchestra?

So what can we, as InsurTech enthusiasts, learn from Piotrowski’s World Orchestra? Just as open collaboration and connectivity are central to the success of World Orchestra, they are central to the success of the Cookhouse Lab. We are inviting people from a variety of backgrounds, professions, companies and geographic locations to come together to collaborate. It’s an environment where you have access to talent, people and opportunities you may not necessarily have in your day to day profession. By bringing InsurTech enthusiasts together, we hope to spark conversations and ideas that may not otherwise happen.

How can you collaborate at Cookhouse Lab?

There are two streams of open collaboration offered by Cookhouse Lab:

  1. By working physically in the lab with the diverse team

Our innovation methodology includes Ideation, Lab Work and Digital Acceleration. Cookhouse Lab facilitates the first two elements of this methodology – ideation and lab work. Project teams will work in 90 day sprints to develop Minimum Viable Products (MVP).

  1. Through the Expert Crowd

Our Insurance Expert Crowd is a virtual space for collaboration (to launch in late Spring). It will consist of a network of industry experts in life and non-life insurance that can partake in ideation and crowdsourcing. Lab members can present a problem to the Expert Crowd (ideation) to generate ideas and the Insurance Expert Crowd can contribute to solving problems (crowdsourcing).

Who will the IP belong to?

In an environment with several ideas coming and going, a common question that arises is ‘Who does the IP belong to?’. We brought in Antonio Turco of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP to discuss legal considerations in open collaboration.

Here some of Turco’s thoughts to consider for open collaboration:

  • Extent of disclosure,
  • Who are you disclosing to?
  • Industry standards and practice,
  • What other obligations do you have?

He suggested discussing disclosure before coming into the lab so that you can decide whether you want to work openly in the lab or rent a private office for your 90-day sprint.  

For more questions on this, feel free to reach out to our chefs at Cookhouse Lab

What is stopping our industry from innovating?

Our final discussion before lunch was led by Doron Melnick and Zaid Hoosain from KPMG. They delivered an insightful spotlight on innovation and technology in insurance. We were able to get an understanding of some of the challenges and opportunities insurance CEOs are currently facing.  Here are some of the major takeaways:

  • Top business challenges CEOs facing right now –
    • Regulation
    • Margin erosion
    • Competition
  • Top opportunities for investment -
    • Operational processes
    • Customer data analytics
    • Capital and risk management

As much as there is opportunity to address these challenges and invest in them, Melnick and Hoosain also shared what is standing in the way of innovation for these CEOs:

  • No extra time
  • Lack of internal core skills
  • Cost pressures

On top of that, businesses are incentivised to invest in existing products and services instead of ones that don’t currently exist. It can be hard to take a break and have a fresh look. Finally, being innovative requires companies to be nimble, agile and react quickly – which can be challenging for such a traditional industry.

The good news...

Cookhouse Lab is addressing these challenges by inviting people to enter a unique space with a fresh perspective, work with others and innovate.   

That’s a wrap on the first half of Innovation Day at Cookhouse Lab!

Be sure to follow along our adventures on Twitter and stay tuned to see what is on the menu for this afternoon.

Topics: news

Natalie Ho

Written by Natalie Ho

Head of Marketing at LOGiQ3 Group and Toronto's First #InsurTech Innovation Lab, Cookhouse Lab.

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