The corporate world can be slow and filled with endless bureaucracy – but IAG is looking to fix this by working together with start-ups.
Peter Harmer, Director and CEO of Insurance Australia Group (IAG), recently appeared on The Brew to talk about his respect for start-ups and how his organisation is investing to develop life-saving technology.
It’s not every day that you meet someone from the corporate world that respects and values small businesses and start-ups. Despite calls for large corporations to make their peace with start-ups and start working together, their relationships are still in an awkward phase.
It was very positive to hear that Peter has recognised the advantages of start-ups and small businesses, and is working towards incorporating the best parts of the two to make sure that IAG continues to be a leader in the insurance world.
Peter walked me through what IAG is doing to support start-ups and entrepreneurs, which involves setting up internal hubs for ideas, working with Australian start-ups and entrepreneurs, creating an external innovation hub in Singapore, and setting up a $75 million venture fund.
Through these four endeavours, IAG is ensuring that they’re able to come up with new ideas to serve their customers, as well as not letting their business be “disrupted” by companies who can take advantage of unattended or ignored pain points in IAG’s customer journey or value chain. IAG has taken steps to ensure they stay relevant and continue to meet their customers’ needs.
My primary role is to figure out what questions we should be answering.
– Peter Harmer
With IAG’s focus on improving their customer journeys, it’s no wonder they’re also spearheading ways to save their customers’ lives. Peter told me a little about two great investments that IAG is involved in, and each one is working to make Australia a safer place to live in.
The first is called DipStik, a flood-monitoring device that will warn emergency services in advance of an incoming flood. This technology will allow communities in flood-prone areas better prepare and plan in case of a flood, which means that the loss of life and property will be diminished.
The second, still a year away from trial, is technology that CSIRO’s Data61 has come on board to help out with. It’s called the Fireblanket Project, and it’s a bushfire detection and monitoring network that uses smoke detection to track, pinpoint, and predict where a fire is coming from.
My talk with Peter has allowed me to see how big corporations can work together with start-ups rather than in competition. Putting aside their differences means that companies can do great things for the world.