In the insurance industry, there is SO MUCH energizing work to do to get ready for the next wave of technology heading our way. Re-inventing Web properties, getting serious about Social Properties, overhauling products given changing risk associated with advancing technology, developing an adaptive culture focused on learning and change, and so much more comes to mind.

In this context, I thought it might be helpful to discuss 10 Digital Business Must-Do’s in the next 24 months. Here’s my take. What are YOURS? I really want to know.

Meanwhile, I was asked to harness my time and talents for the benefit of an orphanage for children with HIV in northern Thailand. So I went.

Love the two on the left

Love the two on the left

#1 Put The Customer First, Really

  • At every touch-point
  • Continuously survey
  • Listen with sophistication
  • Respond intelligently
  • Truly digital, NOT digitized paper

The founder of the orphanage is a living legend, Avis Rideout. She came from Eastern Canada to northern Thailand as a Pentecostal Missionary in the ‘70’s as a 20 year old. Now approaching 70, Avis has created Agape Home out of nothing, where HIV+ kids are now thriving. It’s a story that has to be experienced to believe.

Avis and toy phone

Avis and toy phone

#2 Excellent Education for Executives

  • Rivers of Information
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Online Reputation Management
  • High-beam Leadership
  • BigData

In September, I trained their office team on how to operate a WordPress Web site. It’s a humbling experience training a leadership team in bare feet!

Insurance or Orphanage, goals are the same

Insurance or Orphanage, goals are the same

#3 Invest in Personal Technology

  • MacBook
  • Droid/iPhone
  • Perhaps Tablet
  • Master Voice-activation
  • Google Drive, or something similar

In November, I worked on a new Donor Management System called FastFund by Araize with Peter Worner from Australia, a lead volunteer who, with his wife Kelly, are shifting their focus from the car business near Melbourne to this orphanage.

Working with Peter on the technology

Working with Peter on the technology

#4 End Internal Email

  • Internal Collaborative Networks
  • Profiles, Threads, Groups, Pages, Blogs
  • Virtualization
  • Reduction of meetings

Wanting to be as close to the orphanage as possible to maximize time there and minimize travel and hotel expenses, I stayed at “The Apartments” that featured a room with no hot water, a burned out light in the bathroom, a broken doorknob lock, and two lizards that I nicknamed Bert & Ernie.

My Apartment for the week

My Apartment for the week

#5 Employee Advocacy

  • PS. Campaigns
  • Professional Blogs
  • eBooks and Recognized Expert
  • Like, Comment, and Share Publicly

One of my favorite images happened when I got to witness the transfer of a child from the orphanage to adoptive Thai parents. It happened suddenly, but there it was – a nanny kissing a child goodbye, a child she had helped nurture from infancy.

Nanny Saying Goodbye to an Adopted Child

Nanny Saying Goodbye to an Adopted Child

#6 Master Crowdsourcing

  • Content
  • Coding
  • Innovation
  • Testing

Two western volunteer nanny’s on short-term, 6 month assignments, also living at the apartments, invited me to have breakfast with them in one of their apartments. Can I just say that was a tremendous balm to my soul and such an encouragement. I got to participate in that three times. Thanks again Heidi and Anne. Saints from heaven.

Heidi & Anne

Heidi & Anne

#7 Become a Video Powerhouse

  • Each Business Unit
  • Certainly Marketing
  • Definitely Sales
  • Customer Service, Training
  • SME’s
  • Leadership

Avis’s husband Roy quickly identified me as a golfer. Since I was there over two Saturdays, off we went. We played the nicest public course in the area. I was told it was the #3 course in all of Southeast Asia. And we played a decent little nine-hole course. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, right?

Chiang Mai Highlands, Roy Rideout

Chiang Mai Highlands, Roy Rideout

#8 Live & Breathe #BigData

  • Customer Data
  • Prospect Data
  • Appending Data
  • Data Security
  • Personalization

One of the most amazing things was taking the group Christmas picture of all the children – about 100 kids in one shot, from oldest to youngest. As the event was happening and I waited, kids started coming up to me for their picture with some of the their favorite little ones. And then I saw them – the blind girl and her best friend sitting at the edge of everything. I went over and motioned to the camera. The one explained to the other and I began shooting. Getting a good expression was really hard, but I got it.

Christmas Photoshoot

Christmas Photoshoot

#9 Measure Everything

  • Take Time-out to Measure
  • Dashboards and Reports
  • Action Items and Triggers
  • Fewer Meetings to Collect Data

No doubt about it, my favorite time was 8-9am. With the older kids off to school, the staff and young ones gathered together for morning devotions and announcements. I can’t tell you how lucky I felt to be in the room in those moments.

Morning Devotions and Announcements

Morning Devotions and Announcements

#10 Strategy and Leadership

  • Bringing it all together
  • Buck Stops Here
  • Unique opportunity: Finding that person

On the way home, I got to stop in Phnom Penh for 24 hours with my daughter. #Glorious.

With Kelle in Phnom Penh

With Kelle in Phnom Penh

Embrace the new energy in the future. Execute successfully. And be the big winner in the next phase of technology.

And there’s always something ‘next’.

Any comments or suggestions from the crowd?

  • What would you add, change, delete?
  • What do you think are the biggest opportunities for growth?
  • Any thoughts on how to be more nimble?
  • Who do you know that is ahead of the curve in the insurance space?

Thanks in advance.

Looking forward to digging into these 10 Chapters in future posts.

How can I help you achieve your goals?

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