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Recap: Innovation Day at Cookhouse Lab

[fa icon="calendar"] Feb 2, 2017 2:11:50 PM / by Natalie Ho

Natalie Ho

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On February 1, 2017, we opened the doors to InsurTech’s newest home for open collaboration and innovation. Our Grand Opening, Innovation Day, invited guests to explore the lab, network with industry professionals and hear from experts on various aspects of InsurTech, innovation, and collaboration. Below I’m giving you a rundown of the afternoon festivities. (If you missed the morning recap, check it out here).

Learning about Design Thinking

Cookhouse Lab invited Professor Dr. Michael Muessig to lead a discussion on Design Thinking – a methodology that will be prominent in Cookhouse Lab. Muessig is a lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences in Wurzburg-Schweinfurt, Germany where he educates students on entrepreneurship and leadership. While he is working with talented students who build intricate technical products, they aren’t always considering the end user. Which is where Design Thinking comes into play. It is a process of thinking that defines the whole story.

Why is Design Thinking necessary for Innovation in Insurance?

In an industry where major disruption is taking place, there are a lot of ideas floating around. But in order for this disruption and change to happen successfully, design thinking is necessary. It is a way to ensure that when a product comes to fruition there will indeed be a market for it.

One key part of design thinking is developing an understanding of the target person. This is different then developing a target market. Developing a target market usually results in a generalized understanding of a group of people you are interested in – i.e millennials. Developing a target person results in a very specific story about a person that involves a deep understanding of their perspective, frame of mind and way of living. The end result could sound something like – Lucy is 22, a recent graduate, eager to travel, single, loves technology and doesn’t own a car. (And that is just hitting the surface).  

As InsurTech innovators we need to learn to take the lens of whose lives we are trying to make better. This will kick start the process of determining if there is a market fit for your solution.

Our first ever startup challenge

Being a space that is fostering innovation in the industry it was only natural for us to host a startup challenge with our partners Highline BETA. The winning prize? One year access to Cookhouse Lab! The following six startups had 5 minutes to pitch their companies to our audience and panel of judges:

So who took the cake?!

Drum roll please……………. CONGRATULATIONS TO Drop Loyalty for winning our first start-up challenge. We look forward to seeing you in the lab this year!

After hearing the pitches, Highline BETA hosted a quick Q&A with the startups for our guests to get a better understanding of how they are working with corporates to disrupt the market. Here is what we learned. (Companies looking to do the same…. Take note!)

How to build a successful working relationship between corporations and startups?

Top 4 tips for startups and corporations:

  • [Both] Make sure the relationship makes sense for both parties.
  • [Startups] Talk to the right people in corporations, conduct problem interviews to get an understanding of pain points people are experiencing and how they are currently dealing with it.
  • [Corporations] Have a small ask – don’t come to the table expecting a full solution ready to go. While you might have a greater vision in mind – determine one small realistic ask.
  • [Corporations] The best corporate partners are those who have a thesis and a process for vetting before meeting with a startup.

We would also like to extend a huge thank you to all six startups who joined Innovation Day to share their stories and insights.

That concludes our FIRST Innovation Day at Cookhouse Lab.

We are so excited to be the new home for InsurTech innovation in Toronto. Yesterday was just a taste of what we will be serving up in the lab. If you want more be sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow our journey on social!

Or better yet, get in touch to schedule an office tour

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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