Transformation vs Tradition, an EDII Think Factory Event with London Market Joint Ventures

What does the insurance industry have in common with the world of professional football? 

You’re probably going to answer “Not very much!”. 

However, at our latest EDII Think Factory event, we discovered that the two worlds have much more in common than you would think!

Both the insurance industry and the world of professional football are fast-paced with rich heritages and have undergone massive transformations in recent years.

We wanted to explore these unexpected parallels further, which is why we collaborated with the London Market Joint Ventures and hosted an EDII Think Factory event ‘Transformation vs Tradition’ at Manchester United’s iconic Old Trafford. 

It was an incredible day! Full of fascinating presentations, collaboration, engaging discussions, and plenty of networking opportunities – all in the heart of one of the world’s most famous football clubs. 

We went on a guided stadium tour to really understand the history of the club and get a behind-the-scenes peek – we even got to walk through the players’ tunnel and visit the dugouts. We were also lucky enough to be joined by Manchester United legend, and former Lioness, Siobhan Chamberlain for dinner.

When worlds collide: Professional Football and the London Market 

After 66 trophies, including a record 20 English League titles, Manchester United has taken its game to new heights by partnering with DXC to embrace the power of digital transformation, allowing the club to adapt to new technologies and changing customer needs.

With experience that covers digital engagement in the Olympic games and virtual concerts for K-pop band BTS, DXC is skilled at knowing what the customer wants and how digital transformation can be used to interact with them and add value to the experience.

DXC works with Manchester United to improve the way its 1.1 billion fans around the world engage with the club, as well as to enhance its daily business operations, via web and app management, global fan engagement and analytics.

DXC’s Digital Transformation Lead for Manchester United, Sean O’Beirne, began with a talk on Digital Transformation vs Tradition. Sean discussed how you need business transformation as well as digital transformation – the two are not mutually exclusive – since “To be successful in digital transformation, you have to let people in”.

To discuss this further, Sean was joined by Caroline Bedford (Chief Executive, EDII), Shaun Crawford (Non-executive Director, London Market Joint Ventures), Steve Stinson (Head of Transformation Delivery, London Market Joint Ventures), and Hélène Stanway (Insurtech and Digital Transformation Specialist) to explore the parallels between Manchester United’s digital transformation journey and the exciting changes happening in the London Market.

Both Manchester United and the insurance industry have been embracing digital transformation for some time now, but there is still more progress to me made.

The panel discussed some of the challenges in transformation and how the focus needs to be on communication at the right level. They further emphasised that it’s less about the technology and more about integrating that technology with various elements, such as communication, education, culture, leadership and team buy-in.

Ultimately, it’s about getting everyone on board and pulling in the same direction. It’s important to bear in mind that this isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach – encouraging a united (pun intended!) approach requires different approaches to communication at different levels across the organisation. Committing to transformation at a strategic level and an operational level will require a tailored touch when it comes to meeting the needs of the various stakeholders involved.

Only once that level of cohesion is established across the board can the value of technology be truly taken advantage of. An environment that doesn’t ‘let the people in’ and allow for collaboration could otherwise stunt this process.

The panel also acknowledged the role of artificial intelligence as a tool, emphasising its potential to enhance rather than undermine work processes, much like a calculator aids in solving maths problems.

Manchester United legend, BBC & ITV Broadcaster, Public Speaker and former Lioness, Siobhan Chamberlain joined us later in the day.

Siobhan shared stories from her career (in which she collected 50 caps for the England Lionesses!), discussed the transformation of Women’s football, and demonstrated how social media is changing the way in which fans and football teams connect. 

Siobhan previously was a Digital Ambassador and was pivotal in running the social media channels for several of the clubs she played for. 

She also shared insights as to how technology and data are transforming player and team performance – specifically where live feedback of player data provides insight clubs can react to; telling them how to improve play and even how to manage injuries. This intersection of using technology to interact with players and fans has parallels across many industries as they strive to engage with their audience. 

Data has clearly changed the game for football and has been just as transformative in insurance. Capturing easily analysable and leverageable data can paint an invaluable picture of clients’ evolving needs and mean the industry can create proactive and responsive solutions.

Both the insurance industry and Manchester United have ultimately committed to digital transformation with the goal of evolving their growth prospects, their approach to customer engagement, and achieving operational prowess.

The event highlighted a vital lesson: transformation and change are intricately linked to the people involved. It emphasised the significance of effective communication and inclusivity, recognising that true progress can only be achieved by engaging and empowering individuals on the transformative journey. 

However, it is worth noting that tradition also plays a crucial role in this process. Siobhan spoke about the value of tradition, reminding us that while transformation is essential, it should not overlook the rich heritage and wisdom of the past. 

Balancing tradition and innovation fosters a harmonious and sustainable path towards progress. By embracing the power of people and respecting the importance of tradition, we can navigate the complexities of transformation, creating a better future that seamlessly integrates the old and the new.

Biggest takeaways from the day 

“Understanding that the market is ready for change and that business transformation is just as important as the digital transformation. It’s essential that you continue to learn and innovate yourself within this ever-changing industry.– Hanan Guthmy, US and Israel Technology Assistant Underwriter, CFC 

“Having one of the world’s most iconic sports brands teach us how to use data to understand our customers was an eye opener and something we need to focus on in the insurance market.” – Ruan Ebersohn, Programme Director, DXC Technology

“Following in the footsteps of Manchester United, the insurance industry needs to ensure its staff are taking time out of their days to focus on personal progression to drive transformation from the ground up.” Jack Tagg, Claims Operations Coordinator at Canopius Group

“The highlight of the event for me was witnessing the impact it had on our guests. Seeing connections form and enthusiastic and meaningful discussions take place. You could feel the excitement in the atmosphere. It was a pleasure to organise an event that left such a lasting impression and inspired meaningful connections and discussions.” – Hayley Jordan, Marketing Events Planner, London Market Joint Ventures

Whether you’re a change enthusiast, football fan, interested in digital transformation or all three, we hope you enjoyed the chance to be part of an exclusive Digital Minds Think Factory event.

A huge thank you to our partner, London Market Joint Ventures, to our fantastic panel of speakers and our guides for helping us put on a fantastic event. And a very special thank you to Heather Calveley-Tutt, Hayley Jordan, Louise Lea, and Nicole Mott.

Our Digital Minds programme Cohort 6 is happening very soon! If you would like to be involved visit here to find out more and register your interest.

What is the EDII Think Factory?

The EDII Think Factory is the Digital Minds alumni community, which meets regularly to gain insight into industry change and continue its innovation development. In 2016, Digital Minds began as a workshop and has grown into what it is today, a 10-month programme specifically designed to help organisations embed their staff in the corporate innovation culture. We hope that our Think Factory programme extends this journey and helps Digital Minds’ alumni continue to Educate, Develop, Innovate and Inspire.

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