It’s Not About New
As our 100th anniversary year progresses and we continue to highlight key trends in the pages of our magazine, I’ve had an opportunity to reflect a little more than usual.
This month’s trend, for example, is focused on medical and scientific innovation and the incredible explosion of ideas and breakthroughs we’ve seen in the last few decades and are primed to experience in the 21st century. To paraphrase a quote I saw recently: innovation doesn’t necessarily mean “new,” it means impact.
Health and medicine as we know them are rooted in varying levels of social, economic, regulatory and cultural issues. What challenges do we face, and how are we, as a society, progressing? It’s a fascinating subject, and one I’m even more in tune with having just come off the TEDMED conference a few weeks ago.
The energy around defining and redefining creativity in medical advancements has us at The Council more zoned in than ever on breaking down the barriers around collaboration, especially in our industry, as we prepare for our Employee Benefits Leadership Forum later this month. We want more ideas, more sharing, more excitement and more community. We want to encourage thinkers to help improve our health and lives and industry. We want all of these things and rightfully so—because based on 100 years of work, we know that together we make things happen.
Assuming you’re familiar with how our meetings are structured, you know that we’ve been incrementally introducing some new components to align with what you and your organizations are doing. It’s why we rolled out our insightful TAKE:20 sessions last year and why we’re doubling the number of TAKE:20 speakers this year. At EBLF, all six TAKE:20 talks center on different themes affecting the U.S. health system, in addition to two days of healthcare reform town halls that will encourage deep discussion about the top issues affecting brokers and employers.
The collaborative thinking we expect to see during these sessions is what we thrive on. Our job is to ensure that we’re creating the right environment for you—the top minds in the business—to work together and to succeed, whether you’re at one of our town halls, sitting in on a working group, or even having a conversation with a colleague or competitor. Our goal is to put an emphasis on ideas in each and every setting.
I started thinking about how scientists, chemists and doctors collaborate. How brokers collaborate. The first thing that came to mind was drive. You can’t have one without the other. Whether we’re talking science, insurance, politics or something else, people need to want change to accomplish something. What drives people to expand and alter the world around them? It takes an incredible power to push the human soul to innovate and create. Sometimes it’s innate, sometimes it’s learned.
Either way, innovators, collaborators and brokers, even, can all be disruptors. Much like Henry Ford disrupted the horse and buggy and email disrupted the United States Postal Service, something drove Guy Carpenter. Something drove Hank Greenberg. Something drove The Council’s first president, Wade Fetzer. Whether small or large, each step they took equated to big thinking and results.
No one knows where the next idea will come from or how it will affect our future. But we do know that our industry is experiencing a state of flux, and it’s critical to understand the challenges and opportunities that are present for us right now. So as our industry works to keep up the pace and our business models work through the subsequent transitions, the conversations must continue to be inclusive to get what we want—for the greater good.
Remember—it’s not necessarily about “new.” It’s about impact.