Monday, November 16, 2009

Facing Disaster, Trustmark Launched a Renaissance


This article caught my eye for two reasons.  First, it mentions that the focus of the story, Trustmark, was looking to Apple and American Girl (two organizations we have discussed), for its future plans.  Second, the article discusses ways to encourage a culture of innovation, something else we have discussed extensively in this course.


Trustmark is a health and life insurer and benefits administrator that was facing a difficult situation in 2006.  They had been working to their finances in order for years, but had consequently paid little attention to the outside market. David McDonough, the CEO, knew that they needed to innovate to stay afloat in a changing marketplace.  He hired an innovation consultancy firm, Play, and together they worked to create a culture of innovation.  They took employees of Trustmark on a tour of CompUSA, Apple, and American Girl stores, and a museum.  This exercise opened employees’ eyes to the fact that they could be more like Apple.


The company had faced barriers to innovation because of their weak financial situation, and the conservative culture among their employees.  Insurance companies are not generally as innovative and liberal as, say, designers.  It is in situations like Trustmark’s that organizations see stalled growth, and often the cure for this is outside knowledge and perspective, which Play offers.


Although this story takes place in 2006, it is applicable to many organizations today.  Right now, there is definitely a market for innovation consultancy firms.  So many companies are trying only to stay afloat and cut costs in today’s economic climate.  They are missing out on opportunities to use the changing marketplace to their advantage.  Those who take innovation seriously, like innovation consultancy firms, can help businesses see outside their current situation to what could happen in the future.


  1. I think that this article really speaks to the importance of structured innovation. Without the structure that Play allowed Trustmark would not have been able to make the changes that McDonough knew were so important. This article also speaks to another important point we have talked about in class; the importance of having support from the top to develop an innovative culture.

  2. Hey nice article... I love the way you presented whole article, Thanks for sharing such a useful information with us Engineering Consulting Firms in Bangalore | Innovation Consultancy Bangalore