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MetLife announces futureLab in Singapore

Zafar Anjum | Nov. 7, 2014
MetLife to establish a first-of-its-kind, innovation centre based in Singapore

Insurance company MetLife has announced the launch of futureLab based in Singapore, a first-of-its-kind innovation centre in the life insurance industry.

This lab will launch disruptive new business models and capabilities for MetLife in Asia, said Zia Zaman, MetLife Asia's newly appointed Chief Innovation Officer and Founder of futureLab, at the Disruptive Innovation Symposium organized by the company in Singapore on 4 November.

Zaman announced futureLab's establishment together with today's Disruptive Innovation Symposium moderator, Scott Bales, who is a prominent innovator in financial services and also the Assistant Vice President, Domain Leader of MetLife Innovation Centre Pte Ltd.

 "Innovation in the insurance industry in Asia has been incremental and, at times, western-centric. We want to provide innovative solutions that meet the fast evolving needs of the Asian consumer," said Zaman. "futureLab will harness disruptive innovation principles and the start-up philosophy of Silicon Valley, together with the strong creative talent pool available in Singapore, to develop solutions that meet the needs and aspirations of tomorrow's consumers."

MetLife is one of the largest Pan-Asia life insurers and has over 60 years of experience and 21,000 employees in Asia. It has strong market positions in both mature and high-growth emerging markets in the region.

Three main roles

According to Zaman, futureLab will have three main roles; a lab where unique insights are developed; an incubator to launch new MetLife businesses; and an executive briefing facility that provides collaborative visioning space for MetLife and its partners.

He also said that futureLab would form partnerships with key regional organizations, especially from Singapore's academic community such as the National University of Singapore, to help identify insights and opportunities in main drivers of market growth.

7 Innovation rules

Zaman is an experienced innovation leader with a 20-year track record of developing and executing innovation driven strategies on behalf of both startups, where he successfully engineered a billion-dollar exit to Microsoft, and large enterprises including SingTel and LG. The symposium had the following panelists:

  • Gian Yi-Hsen, Director, Economic Development Board
  • Dr Steven Tucker, Medical Director, Tucker Medical
  • Wong Meng Weng, Co-Founder and Social Engineer, The Joyful Frog Digital Incubator
  • Professor Ishtiaq Mahmood, Associate Professor and PhD Programme Coordinator, National University of Singapore

During the symposium, the panelists examined the role that disruptive innovation can play in meeting the needs of a rapidly changing Asian demographic and debated how enterprises that have adopted an innovative and creative approach to their business models have become game-changers in their industries. 

Zaman made a presentation and talked about 7 Innovation Rules that defines his take on innovation. "Much of the innovation that happens is continuous innovation," he said. "What futureLab wants to do is Disruptive Innovation."


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