As INN readers have seen in recent months, there's a lot of interest in leveraging the “social enterprise” aspects of the insurance business. Carriers are looking to utilizing social networking tools to better understand customer needs as well as to design better and more responsive products.

Insurance companies are naturally “social” anyway. They rely on quality interactions with networks of agents and brokers, who build trusting relationships with consumers. In many cases, companies seek to build the trust directly with consumers as well.

That's why the insurance industry should also be a natural candidate for the next stage of the evolution—to the “hyper-social” enterprise. My friend Francois Gossieaux, along with co-author Ed Moran, has just published a new book by that name, which that leads managers and business leaders through this new connected economy: The Hyper-Social Organization: Eclipse Your Competition by Leveraging Social Media.

Francois and Ed say that there's an existing, successful model for the hyper-social organization: the open source communities that have built many software solutions, from Linux to Apache. Large, engaged communities of enthusiasts and experts interact and engage one another to move new initiatives forward. This not only applies to software—Francois and Ed say “open source” communities exist for car manufacturing and beer brewing. Even the X Prize Foundation is an example of an open-source, crowd-sourced approach to challenges as big as launching humans into space.

We've seen many examples of insurance companies now tapping into and engaging social networks for greater responsiveness to customers and getting their feedback. Hyper-social product development and innovation are the next frontier for insurance companies. That is, social networking and encouraging “tribes” of employees, agents, consumers, and experts both inside and outside the company will lead to new innovations for this hyper-competitive era.

Again, it's a natural act for an already hyper-social business.

Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Joe using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at joe@mckendrickresearch.com.

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

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