If you could describe Trensition in three words, what would they be?
MAN MEETS MACHINE or MINDS AND MACHINES or MAN MACHINE MAGIC
What is your role within Ageas?
As Strategy and Corporate Affairs Director at international insurer Ageas, my role is to challenge and influence the Group’s current and future decision-making based on analysis of trends, key business drivers and changing industry dynamics. I lead a group-wide think tank “Think 2030” to research and analyse different scenarios over a long-term horizon.
Why is Ageas thinking about the future in 2030 and how important is this to the company?
Our industry is facing enormous change in the coming decade. It is not a case of if our world will change but more importantly when and how. Anticipating that change and helping Ageas prepare to be future proof is central to my role.
What is, according to you, of key importance in this exercise?
To deliver a quantitative approach based on huge volumes of data and use cases sourced through artificial intelligence was some kind of magic. With so many possibilities, probabilities, and grey zones to consider, this exercise brought so much more clarity around the current and potential impact of trends and the speed of adoption. I can now share that intelligence with the whole organization not as a “nice to have” but as an essential piece of advice on what (not) to look at, where to prioritize and speed up and flag some alerts.
Since you started leading the Think 2030 exercise, what have you changed and why?
By combining human input and AI we can more confidently question and validate our own assumptions based on real scale. The new process allows us to dig much deeper than previously possible and across a much wider spectrum. As a result we have a much richer, multifaceted view of the world, and this is helping steer our priorities and influence our decision-making.
What are your key takeaways for other organization that are trying to do the same? What are the main points of attention?
Be open to anything and everything, and use what you learn to drive the right debates at the right times. None of us can exactly predict the future, so don’t make that the goal, but embrace the combination of human and AI to make the uncertain future less uncertain. Use this as an opportunity to explore different possible routes and to listen to different points of view. This will ultimately lead to more adaptability of your people and better decision-making for the long-term future. Strategy is everyone’s job and every individual inside the organization contributes to the future success of the business.
How did you meet Trensition?
We met Trensition via imec.istart, a Flemish business acceleration programme set up to support tech start-ups with coaching, facilities and funding. Our Belgian subsidiary AG is part of imec.istart’s partner network. Right time and right place.
What are they adding that is valuable to you?
The Trensition results help us to filter and cross check our own internal assumptions, adding important scale and proof points to the exercise. It is really hard to filter out the most impactful trends based on our own thinking due to a natural cognitive bias. The result of our collaboration is a more dynamic, quantitative and practical process including tangible steps to translate all the learnings into real actions for our businesses.
Why did you decide to work with a start-up instead of the typical strategy consultants?
We were not looking for consultants, but searching for the new and the unexplored, and then we met Trensition. That’s not to say we don’t digest reports produced by the big strategy consultants as part of our source material. But with Trensition, there is a mutual interest in learning together, an entrepreneurial spirit to create on the go, the passion to discover new insights and a willingness to adapt and adjust to Ageas’s specific position and audience. So, no cookie cutter approach.
How do you perceive the collaboration with Trensition?
As exactly that: a real collaboration that helps us to go further with partners who are not afraid to challenge us, and to be challenged in return. We benefit greatly from an outside view and yet we’re all on the same team. It is an exciting process of co-creation which is very much solutions and results driven. As a Group that counts “working in partnership” as one of its core strengths, we know just how important that is.
Would you recommend their services to other organizations and why?
Absolutely. We all need to be challenged in the right way and that is an important part of the role Trensition plays. They don’t replace human creativity and the analytic work that happens naturally inside the company, but they augment and objectify our thinking and ability to define actions and next steps. We gained a much more confident picture of Ageas’s preparedness for the future – and where to act and when. And their enthusiasm and hands on style of working makes the process exciting and productive always.