The Insurance-Canada.ca Technology Awards (ICTA) jury has selected 9 finalists for the three ICTAs which will be presented in March. We were privileged to be a fly on the wall of the virtual jury room at its recent meeting where the finalists were discussed prior to a secret ballot. We left with two overriding impressions: The high quality of nominations reflecting the growing importance of technology to the successful conduct of insurance business in Canada, and the unique ability of a group of smart people to make difficult choices in a compressed time frame.
We’ll look at the jury’s group process first.
The jury had a tough task for a two hour GoToMeeting call. Insurance-Canada.ca received 50 nominations for what will be three awards, one in each of the categories of distributor, insurer, and supplier. The task of the jury in its first call was to debate qualities of all the nominations to allow a considered vote for three finalists for each of the categories. Information had been distributed over the previous week in the form of Google Docs, including the nomination forms and supporting material.
The jury had done their homework. The jury started back at first principles, carefully reviewing the criteria for the awards, viz.: “The primary criterion for all awards is the positive impact that a specific technology or application of technology has had on business.” From this, the jury quickly determined that great technology was good, that the ‘degree of difficulty’ in implementing the right solution was important, but the overarching consideration was result of the implementation of the technology on the business of insurance.
Which leads to the quality of the award nominations.
Each of the nominations evidenced some combination of leading edge technology, innovative uses of technology, process change, diligent work, intelligent linkages, creative partnerships, and more. Some of the efforts would be effective case studies for organizations implementing large scale systems. In short, there was no shortage of quality, depth, and breadth in the nomination pool.
And that meant that being effective was not going to be enough; quality/quantity of results was not going to be enough; modern technology, adherence to standards, and sophisticated implementations were, as one juror put it, ‘table stakes’. What was required was a leap over a very high bar, a unique combination that evidenced positive, transformative impact for the organization, its customers, its business partners, or an industry segment.
And, based on that, the jurors took the information away and cast their votes. The resulting finalists can be found at the 2012 Finalists Page. The next step will be a meeting in the new year to review the short list and determine the final awardees. The awards will be announced and presented at the ICTA Awards lunch, during the 2012 Insurance-Canada.ca Technology Conference, March 5, 2012, at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto.
The takeaways from this process so far are fascinating, and heartening. First, we have some really smart and wise people on the jury who can make tough decisions in compressed time frames (we’ll introduce the jurors in the new year). And, significantly for all of us, the bar for insurance technology implementation in Canada is high. And that benefits us all.