Insurance Insight: “Product innovation in European insurance firms is widespread”– where is the evidence???


Hmm, I’m not so sure I’m buying any of this!

In fact, I don’t, entirely, agree with the headline OR the presumption that insurers are willing and able to offer the “peace of mind” that customers, rightly, expect from the coverage, products and services available to them.

A mixture of technical, organisational and market factors naturally constrain how expansive insurers can or should be in terms of developing new products. Most obviously, missing information can give rise to adverse selection or moral hazards and lead to amplified losses. Read more of this post

Five Reasons Companies Fail at Business Model Innovation – HBR


Several years ago when I first read these words from Clay Shirky they really resonated as far as my own industry [insurance] was concerned.

“It is easier to understand that you face competition than obsolescence”

In the intervening period a great deal has changed…not necessarily for the better. But too much has remained the same. As I read recently “Nowadays, competition is mainly taking place between business models rather than just between products and services…”. It is true.

Business models that are unsustainable but still function in the current environment, are now showing the outward signs of frailty. Fragile businesses lack the agility to adapt for survival in a post-critical financial landscape.

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Public Sector: “complexity paralysis” – creator and casualties


No matter how you express it, in a dynamic (non-linear) system, that is, by definition complex, “what goes around comes around” – the “feedback loop” – complexity begets complexity until the system reaches breaking point – “critical complexity”.

But the closer the system operates to this point the more fragile and unstable it becomes.

Things can, do, get ugly, painful, dangerous and costly on a variety of levels and the impact is felt across domains.

Public Sector: “complexity paralysis” – creator and casualties Image by michael.heiss via Flickr A recent blog about procrastination led me to get this off my mind. It has been rattling around in there for some time… Ever had so much going on in your head that you don’t know what to do first? Too many tasks, too little time: which “master” to satisfy? Every issue or task has its own factors to consider: short term effect; long term impact. Assessing cause and effect or imagining problems, leading you to “f … Read More

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Welcome to Art class: The “art” may be survival


If you have visited my blog before you will have read about “The collapse of complex civilisations” by Dr Joseph Tainter.

For quite a while it has been my intention to share these paintings by Thomas Cole (I’m sad enough to have the series stored in my Picture Gallery!) because it always struck me that “ol’ TC knew the score”. But I just never quite got around to it. Then, to my delight, I found this video. Job’s a good ‘un.

So you have the benefit of seeing the pictures and getting a bit of commentary too.

The Rise and fall of complex civilisations

For me, though, THE recurring question is what happens when the civilisation in question is truly global? Obviously, in Tainter’s book the past civilizations were separated by time or geography that allowed for the “cycle” to begin again…

Complex systems are really robust – up until a certain point.  I’ve referred many times to Joseph Tainter’s theory that once past that ‘certain point’, things begin to fall apart rapidly.  In Tainter’s own words:

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USA on the Edge of Chaos!?


I always thought I had a good idea what Tainter and (to some extent) Beck were alluding to when referring to “elites”, essentially, bringing the house down rather than give up what they have grown so accustomed to viewing as theirs to do with what they liked. But this piece is mind-blowing and so blatant SOMEONE needs to call a halt to it all now or the dollar won’t last until 2015 and I dread to think of the implications for US citizens….WikiLeaks exposing some truths should be the least of their worries.

Noam Chomsky has recently talked of the “profound hatred for democracy on the part of our Political leadership” and, more controversially drew comparisons with late Weimar Germany

Government Says No to Helping States and Main Street, While Continuing to Throw Trillions at the Giant Banks

If you can spare an hour (or so) please listen to what Prof Ferguson has to say. Initially I was on really interested to hear what he said about the relationship between Empires – Complexity Theory – Economics but I was unable to drag myself away. BUT do yourself a favour, skip the intro (it’s torture), click to “Watch Full Program” and, at least, spare 8mins to absorb Chapter 4. Unless you are pressed for time…or already know everything…you WILL … Read More

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