Shift Shapers Podcast

16 Dec 2019

Ep #294: Creating Digital – Ready Or Not! – with Richard Turrin

David Saltzman 0 Comments


In this episode of the ShiftShapers Podcast, host and Chief Transformation Strategist David Saltzman sits down with Richard Turrin, independent fintech, AI consultant, and author of “Innovation Lab Excellence: Digital Transformation from Within” to discuss what an “Innovation Lab” is and how it creates significant impact to companies which embrace it.

He goes into further detail by discussing Skunk Works at Lockheed Martin and how this team is an example of a successful innovation lab. Richard also shares the basic tools of innovation and how companies, especially insurance companies, can apply them to their own systems. He finally talks about the strides China has made in terms of digitizing its own systems.

What You’ll Learn From this Episode:

  • 01:44 Introduction and struggles of an “Innovation Lab”
  • 05:19 Appealing to senior management
  • 07:09 Case study: Skunk Works (Lockheed Martin)
  • 11:00 Tools for innovation
  • 17:41 Implications on insurance
  • 20:45 Digitization in Shanghai


01:45 “An innovation lab is usually in a relatively large company and what it strives to do is to bring digital products to life within the company. And it’s a team, a specialized team of people that are all digitally savvy… people that can bring new digital technology into an existing business and make it flourish.”

03:32 “The first catch or the first problem for digital transformation is of course, getting management to accept it and to bring that digital culture into the institution. The second obvious problem is who’s going to do it. And this is again a place where real battles are fought between people like the chief information officer who’s head of IT and somebody who might be the chief innovation officer who’s the head of innovation and wants to change the IT.”

04:51 “There are… these three primary stakeholders: the senior management, the IT or the the innovation departments, and then the users. These are the three stakeholders and they’re all in some slight level of conflict with one another on what direction to go and how best to bring innovation to the company.”

12:35 “So the spanners, the tools… in most toolboxes are really simple: social, analytics, artificial intelligence, and blockchain. That’s what goes into most of the digital transformation technology that you’ll see put to work at any of the financial institutions.”

16:39 “The goal of much of our digital technology is to digitalize the IP of a company. Well, where does that IP reside? That IP resides in the brains of the workers. So if you’re going to build some new fabulous digital product that’s really innovative, and you’re an innovation team, you can’t build it alone. It’s never going to happen. You have to work directly with the people who are on the field, understand the business, because they have the IP that you’re going to digitalize.”

18:27 “If you’re trying to do more with less, digital is your best friend. No question about it. And most of the major insurance companies now have innovation labs. Now the question is, are the labs working on something or can they help you in a meaningful manner to help you solve the problem of drilling a hole in the right spot?”


Innovation Lab Excellence: Digital Transformation from Within” by Richard Turrin

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