ComSpark Podcast - Associate VP - IT Strategy & Innovation for Nationwide - Central Ohio Tech Power Player Honoree
Associate VP - IT Strategy & Innovation
Lead Tribune Media Group
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Hello and welcome to the comSpark podcast, where you will get to meet today's technology thought leaders. To learn more, visit comspark.tech
Fusco: We're here today with Mike Fulton, who leads the technology innovation team at Nationwide. My name is Mick Fusco. I'm with Lead Tribune, and I'll be your guest moderator today. Let's get started. How are you doing, Mike?
Fulton: Wonderful. How are you today?
Fusco: I am excellent! Let's go ahead and talk about some technology issues. How are you using technology for positive change or disruption in your organization?
Fulton: Thanks for asking, Mick. Um, being the head of the technology innovation team at Nationwide, I'm, I'm very lucky to have a chance to do an awful lot of exactly that. I think it's such a cool time to be in the insurance and financial services industry, uh, because uh, our industry at large has recognized the value and importance of technology.
Um, when we think about insurance specifically, we sell a promise, not a product. And so, in order to be able to deliver on that promise that we give to our members to be on their side every single day, we do that through technology. And so, being able to leverage technology to disrupt that experience for our members and to really provide some positive benefit in the way that we serve our members, um, is the most exciting part of my job. We get to, we get to look at, um, all sorts of interesting different technologies. But first and foremost, we always, uh, very quickly try to include that lens of, what are the customer needs that we can help satisfy? Are there unmet wants and needs that we can use this technology to deliver against?
Fusco: What aspects of technology do you view as most important over the next three years?
Fulton: Well, I think in this context of, of trying to use technology to, to disrupt, um, Nationwide and disrupt our experience for our members and to really drive positive change, um, I think there's a whole wide range of technologies that will come into play. I think, um, things like, um, the concept of APIs and the platform economy and microservices, the, the idea of utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning. Um, and then even more disruptive technologies like blockchain and, um, and how that might impact and really open things up in, in our industries. I think, um, all that's really valuable and important and we have active investigations at Nationwide into all of those.
But what I think is actually most important and interesting and, in this context is the, the idea of technology convergence. When these technologies come together, they combine in unique in different ways and allow us to do things that are really interesting and create brand new “What's possibles” – things that we couldn't do with today's technologies. Things that we couldn't do by using an individual technology by itself. So, combinations of technologies like internet of things and blockchain and artificial intelligence allow us to fundamentally change the conversation and do things in very, very different ways. Um, and so, to me, that's the most exciting thing that's going on in the technology industry right now is the idea of taking all of this wonderful new technology change, and bringing it together in combination, in new and interesting ways to really help our members.
Fusco: How do you see leadership changing in the next three years?
Fulton: Uh, I think, um, I think leaders, um, are faced with a real challenge trying to keep up with everything that's going on. Uh, I think that, um, the pace of change continues to escalate. I think that the role of technology, um, in the business world is, is much more important than it's ever been. And I think it's, um, it's imperative for leaders to understand all sides of this equation. I think leaders have to, uh, whether they're, uh, a person that's in a line of business, uh, focused on leading an organization or whether they're a technology leader, you have to really understand our business models. You have to understand the technology, and you have to understand the customer. And it's all three of those in combination that I firmly believe the leaders of today and the leaders of tomorrow will have to, to bring to the table to effectively lead their organizations.
The other thing I think that's important for leaders is, um, I think we, we also have to turn the lens on our organization and figuring out ways that we can help and support our organizations as they deal with this pace of change. The challenge that the individuals and organizations are facing with – they have to live through this. They have to feel the stress and the anxiety and whatnot that this pace of change is putting on all of us. And so, as leaders, it's our job to serve them and help them through that. And so, how do we think about ourselves in that role and how do we do that for our people, I think, is critically important.
Fusco: Mike, thank you for your time. This is Mick Fusco and Mike Fulton. To learn more about us, visit comspark.tech. Goodbye, until next time.
Fulton: Thanks, Mick.
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