Media | Natural Selection

Reliability ∙ Growth ∙ Innovation

Below, find an article written by FIRST Canada CEO, Stuart Bruce: Natural Selection highlights the importance of keeping a company up to date with technology and the repercussions if one fails to do so.

Re-posted from Insurance People magazine, July 2015 edition.


Natural Selection 

Almost everyone knows of Charles Darwin, the English naturalist who is notorious for his theories regarding the evolution of mankind. I think even Darwin would have been impressed with the pace at which society and technology are evolving today. With video, mobile, cloud, ecommerce, apps, digital payments, responsive websites, and eSignatures, some businesses are struggling to make the technology and business changes necessary to remain relevant and up to date. Thankfully, I believe that past sentiments are fading and most leaders have now come to accept that this digital evolution is not only here to stay, but will continue to accelerate.

Change is an exponent, not a multiplier. Specifically in our industry, I think we all are aware of what happened to large organizations with legacy systems or platforms that worked so well for so long that were left mostly in maintenance mode. Change in small doses is much more palatable, but therein lies both the risk and the opportunity. Minor updates along the way are much easier to dismiss as ‘nice to have’ but all those pebbles you put aside for now can turn into a mountain you will have to climb one day.

Your Organization

A culture of innovation starts at the top but it must be cross functional and reach every corner of the organization if it is to thrive. It used to be that teams could look to the C-suite to pave the way in uncharted territory. When it comes to technology, most executives today are not digital natives and as such, may be more likely to hold digital transformation at arm’s length rather than embrace it.

Having internal subject matter experts and the right resources on every changing front of your organization is a tall order, especially for a small to mid-sized businesses. Obtaining the knowledge and global perspective required to compete can be supplemented via partnerships with specialized vendors. The right strategy partners that compliment your road map, values, and offering will contribute to an ’from the outside in’ approach and will integrate to help your organization be more dynamic and innovative. Unfortunately, when some organizations find themselves at the crossroad of ‘adapt or die’, the transformation can be too great and instead they dwindle until extinction or they ‘opt out” by deciding to sell. This natural selection per say, provides new growth opportunities for those that remain, via acquisitions and mergers.

Your Employees

The human operating system might be the most resistant of all to change. Whether it’s grand scale change like replacing outdated systems or something as slight as a new workflow, it can result in push back and resistance as it threatens existing habits and how things have always been done. Organizations need to update not only legacy technology systems but supporting methodologies as well. Executives can’t lead the way alone anymore. By partnering with champions, both inside and outside the organization, they help empower and educate their teams. If you’re partnering with a technology partner, look for organization-wide connectivity - not just technical – think about your teams, processes, and communications. Effective knowledge sharing, training, and support programs, both yours and your partners, will reduce the learning curve and make the transition period less stressful and taxing on team members, leadership, and clients alike.

Your Clients

Broken and fragmented customer experiences are all too common and in this case, what you don’t know will hurt you. Customers’ behaviors, preferences, and expectations are being shaped everyday by every interaction.  Yet naively, as an industry we tend to benchmark our performance only to our like competitors. Providing options like self-service by means of online or apps, accepting online payments, improving ease of doing business via eSignatures, all improve your customer service. Allowing the client to determine how and when to do business with you gives you greater competitive advantage. The best solutions will integrate with your own infrastructure and you remain in control of the end-to-end client experience. 


The uprooting of old systems and procedures are wrought with peril. Sometimes the biggest risk is in not taking a risk. There are benefits and opportunities that come with advancement which will allow you to be naturally selected by clients for years to come.