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#48 First thing to take into consideration: Is the technology mature enough? – Victor Thoma

Victor Thoma is a former start-up founder and works as product manager within ERGO Digital Ventures. ERGO is one of the major insurance groups in Germany and Europe. At ERGO Digital Ventures he drives various digitalization activities and has witnessed first-hand how ERGO’s approach to innovation is constantly evolving. He has a background in business administration with a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. In his role as product manager, he accompanies the entire innovation value creation process from the idea to its implementation.

In the podcast, he tells us what he thinks is particularly important and how ERGO is driving forward the topic of innovation with its many initiatives. He tells us about practical successes and failures and gives an outlook on where the insurance industry might develop.

Insights:

  • What is innovation?
  • How do you evaluate and value technologies such as chatbots or augmented reality?
  • How long do you stay in a project and what is your strategy for handling resources?
  • Examples of innovation projects you had to stop and successful ones
  • Technological disruption and the insurance sector
  • Steps and advices of becoming a successful innovation manager
  • Achieving work-life balance
  • Favorite books and advices to young self

Key Discussion Points:

[00:07] Introduction to the episode guest

[00:27] How did you land where you are today?

[03:53] What is innovation?

[05:55] How do you evaluate and value technologies such as chatbots or augmented reality?

[07:45] How long do you stay in a project

[10:52] What is your strategy for handling resources

[13:31] Examples of projects you had to stop

[17:17] What are examples of successful innovation projects

[19:42] Your thoughts about the field of disruption, using the example of the digital insurance Nexible

[23:57] Where do you think the insurance sector will be in five or ten years?

[26:32] Best steps and advice to becoming an innovation manager

[33:15] How do you handle your work-life balance?

[37:10] What are your favorite books?

[40:15] What kind of advice would you give yourself if you go back to 18 years?

Interesting Quotes:

“If you’re really running projects, you realize very early that none of the project is like another, and there can’t be like a fixed process on how the project is developing.”

“First thing that we take into consideration is the technology mature enough? Is the technology ready to be implemented in our company? How early is it? The second thing is how do we create value? We focus on four different dimensions. Either to create brand reputation, increase customer satisfaction, reduce costs, or increase revenue.”

“We have to be honest especially in innovation. There are of course coming projects that we need to stop at someday. I think we also need to see it as a good sign because if we wouldn’t need to stop any project, it would mean that we didn’t push hard enough.”

“Technology will play a huge part in in every area of your life. Be it at home or on the go, we need to find a way to be relevant in your everyday life to prevent you from damages.”

“If somebody is applying for an innovation digit or whatever position, they should prove that they have knowledge in it. Not in theory, but in practice.”

“If you have an idea, the idea already consists of the solution.”

“My advice is be conscious about when to read and for what reason, then choose the books for it.”

“You should organize your life like an athlete. You have your training periods, performance period, execution, and your resting period, and then you return to that circuit.”

Book Recommendations:

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less – Greg McKeown

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