Innovation and the Year of the Tiger


On February 1st, we are celebrating the Lunar New Year. As we have offices, clients and colleagues in Asia, let’s learn more about the Year of the Tiger—and what it can teach us, surprisingly, about business innovation! We talk to Deshuo Meng, Head of Insurance Innovation at ReMark, based in Singapore.

Hey Deshuo! First, can you tell us about the Year of The Tiger?

In Chinese tradition, the Tiger is the third zodiac animal sign that repeats once every 12 years. It’s based on the Lunar Calendar—and this year is the Year of the Water Tiger. It’s a special year for people who were born in an earlier tiger year (e.g. 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010)!

In the wild they’re big, lethal predators, and the tiger sign in the Lunar Calendar represents strength, energy, ambition, fearlessness, and adventure.

Do you think we in insurance can learn something from the Tiger? If so, what?

The tiger has many qualities we can learn from in insurance! They act fast when prey is in sight—perhaps a good example of how we can quickly take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself, like digitisation.

It’s also about innovation: creativity, energy and being ambitious is a way to ‘stay strong’ and relevant given our industry is experiencing so much change.

What does innovation mean for you?

I'm an energetic person, so I love innovation. Something new is created along the journey, and it isn’t necessarily what we predicted at the start. I enjoy the sense of achievement when something truly original is created out of nothing, something that is beautiful and that often exceeds my expectations. It allows me to think bold, think out of box—which I enjoy!

What do we do at ReMark when it comes to innovation?

We’re in an era where we are experiencing quantum leaps in technology and digitalisation, which disrupt the familiar status quo, while also creating the possibility for innovation. In my team here at ReMark, we take a systematic approach to innovation.

One technique we’ve adopted is we use a Nail It Scale It Sail It (NSS) approach, where in the initial stage of a new solution/idea, we primarily focus on making the product work. Once it becomes a commercial solution, we will look to scale it, so that it can ‘sail’ smoothly in the future.

In the entire journey, we actively embrace failure. We try to fail small to avoid failing big, and fail fast to avoid failing critically. We apply these techniques and our systematic approach to the InsurTech solutions we’re building across the business, like our software and apps, and particularly in my team, to intelligent algorithms, and even HeadsUp, an app module that uses wearable data to detect flu-like illnesses. 


Why are you excited about 2022: the Year of the Tiger?

The pandemic has been a challenge in many ways over the last two years, but it’s also meant people are more open to digital solutions globally. So I’m hoping this year we can enjoy the sun and the fresh air—and that our InsurTech innovations can benefit more end-consumers!