Is it alright to drink wine with your enemies?
- Should I really work closely with my competitors in a community?
- Why should I help my competitors and why should they help me?
This is in fact the first, and in my opinion the most important question you should answer yourself before even considering an engagement in PillarOne.
Of course, like any other problem the answer of this one is individual and has pros and cons.
I think the cons of this are pretty clear and quite obviously embedded in the common perception of the word “competitor”.
Being a mathematician, I love to solve a problem by linking it to another one that someone else has already solved.
Let's have a look at other industries, where competitors work together.
The first that comes into my mind is the second world war, where capitalists and communists, collaborate to fight against an almighty enemy.
My conclusion: Competitors cooperate very closely, when ever they have a huge mutual problem and while this problem is existing. They don’t forget about the possibility to fight each other when the problem has disappeared though.
Too far away? Not again a war example? Too political?
Ok, let me find another one.
How about standards in electronics? For example CDs? The electronics market is probably one of the toughest and most competitive businesses in the world. But did you know that Philips and Sony worked together with others to set a worldwide standard?(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_Disc)
Why did they do that? They simply learned from the video standard war between “VHS , Betamax and Video 2000”.
being all losers of the fight about the best standard, where the customer suffered most.
My conclusion: when you want to set industry standards, mutual coexistence is the best way to go.
Let me think of another one. How about cars. Did you know that PSA Peugeot Citroën and Mitsubishi work together very closely to develop a car?
Why do they work so closely together, being actually competitors? Simply because it makes sense to work together on the core of the car and differentiate yourself by differentiable features. Cars are often similar inside anyway. Why invest so much to invent the wheel a few times, when a cooperative development would be best!
My conclusion: It makes sense to focus on differentiators, while sharing the technical issues with competitors.
Back to the Insurance industry: The successful insurer of tomorrow will succeed by managing risk and capital in an efficient way. Thereby many problems need to be solved mutually.
Customers claim standardization and convergence from their trusted partner in risk!
Risk Modeling is a key for success and at the heart of the insurance industry. However the industry as a whole needs to be better and more efficient in going forward. This can be best done by collaborative coexistence.
I think PillarOne can be the CD of the Insurance industry playing different music in different companies.
And I think PillarOne can be the high-tech engine of the insurance industry getting used in different ways in different companies.
What do you think?