Founded in 1980, global broker BMS provides specialist insurance, reinsurance and capital markets advisory services. Faced with the challenge of staying relevant and competitive amid huge changes in the financial services industry, the company recognised that the right approach to innovation was key to its success. It chose to implement Idea Drop’s idea management platform and the results speak for themselves.
BMS now manages hundreds of ideas each week at scale, with the sign-up rate for the Idea Drop platform growing by a staggering 62% in the first few weeks of a lockdown. Here’s their story.
BMS: innovative and award-winning global broker
BMS prides itself on being an innovative, independent and specialist. In fact, when it comes to innovation, BMS stands out more than most its size, exemplified earlier this year when BMS’s Innovation Lab initiative was nominated as a “Broking Initiative of the Year” by Insurance Insider Honours, the global (re)insurance awards ceremony that recognises leading market talent.
The numerous prestigious awards the company has won – Broker of the Year in 2018 (The Insurance Insider) and 2019 (Reactions), Top Brokerage 2020 and Top Insurance Workplace 2019 (Insurance Business Canada) – are testament to the company’s commitment to remaining a leader in the industry. More than that, BMS is also committed to playing a significant role in the wider community, recognised last year when the company was awarded Community Outreach Project of the Year 2019 (Business Insurance – U.S. Insurance Awards).
- Remaining on top in an evolving industry
BMS recognised early on that creating a truly effective culture of innovation within its organisation was vital to its continuing success.
As Ryan Jones, Head of Innovation, explained,
Like the rest of the broking industry, BMS needed to respond to the potential threat of disintermediation going hand in hand with the massive technological disruption underway in the financial services sector. It needed to quickly and effectively solve the problem of how to stay, and become more, relevant as the industry changed.
To continue to deliver the best possible brokerage service to their clients, BMS needed to be open-minded and creative in its problem solving and innovation. Above all, it needed to ensure that a culture of innovation permeated every aspect of its business so that its workforce welcomed new ideas and successfully implemented new technology. The company also recognised that innovation would be critical for attracting and retaining the best talent.
- Building on BMS’s innovation journey
Within the insurance industry, many of the bigger players seemed comfortable with the relatively slow pace of change in the sector, with the failure of innovation to take flight often making the workforce sceptical about new ideas. BMS were determined to break the mould. A strategy of getting more effective at what the company is already doing and hiring staff to do more of the same – didn’t appeal to BMS. They needed innovative ideas to propel the company forward.
Aware of the need to embed a strong foundation for innovation, BMS looked at how to introduce their workforce to the tools and mind set that encourage and enable innovation. They focused on “design thinking”, bringing in consultants to run workshops that introduced the concept and to drive some initial innovation projects. Essentially, they introduced a different way of problem solving and sought to demystify innovation.
At this stage, BMS founded an “Innovation Lab” – a forum of selected employees tasked with meeting on a semi-regular basis to come up with and action ideas. But it quickly became clear that the responsibility for generating and actioning ideas was overwhelming for a small group.
Ryan Jones took up the story:
Everyone needed to be involved, not just the small London forum. So the next challenge was how to involve the entire company in innovation in order to gather ideas from employees throughout the business.
- Implementing BMS’s vision of the ideal innovation culture
Ryan Jones highlighted one of the company’s key goals for innovation:
Using Idea Drop’s idea management platform transformed BMS’s approach to innovation, giving every employee a voice and making them an integral part of the innovation process. Six point two out of every 10 ideas are now being executed, creating an excellent innovation mentality and highlighting the huge leaps forward in BMS’s innovation culture.
As Ryan Jones put it,
And the timing of the collaboration with Idea Drop couldn’t have been better, as Ryan Jones explains:
- An innovation culture that helped to secure long-term cash infusion
A successful culture of innovation helps businesses to differentiate themselves as leaders of the future. For BMS, as Ryan Jones points out,
Last year BMS closed a long-term investment from affiliates of British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI) and Preservation Capital Partners (PCP) – validation that BMS is on the right path for a bright future despite the fast-changing insurance landscape..
As Ryan Jones concludes,
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