Anticipating Industry Change – How to Identify Trends


“Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and, therefore, the foundation of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.”

― J.K. Rowling



Only one month after the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange launched on Oct 1, 2013, supporting the Affordable care Act, we envisioned a better customer experience. This experience would engage customers, change how information was accessed and revolutionize the experience of buying health insurance. Six months later we released our mobile application, the first application to allow consumers to fully enroll in healthcare from a mobile device.  It was a national first within both the public and private exchanged. This was the first step toward digitizing healthcare.  Honored as a 2015 CIO100 winner, the heart of digital leadership is consumerism – don’t think like a customer be the customer. This brief article will highlight my mindset and how my team accepted the challenge to tilt healthcare, change thinking and empower consumers for a healthier tomorrow.


Evidence of Change

Is there evidence?  When, we started discussions on how to change the consumer experience, we were open to anything: new technology, new business process and new things. There was no limit and our minds were open.


As we look over time and find transformative industry changes, are there patterns? Could they have been predicted? Almost always you find not that they could have been predicted, but in fact they were predicted. Someone knew and shouted from their small journal or spot in the world, that change was going to happen; often no one listens.    Remember when we didn’t know that increased population growth was directly linked to energy consumption and global energy shortages? Today this is common knowledge and generally accepted.  Remember when using global resources was risky, and only ‘those risky people’ did that? Today, if you don’t source globally for technology skills, you can’t be competitive.  It takes pioneers, new thinking, boundary pushers and reaching for the edge and looking for what’s beyond to grow industry.


Youth Exploration

My mother told me a story last week, about my explorative nature.  When I was 5 years-old, kids were playing by a small stream (about a foot deep).  She said when she looked up, I had crossed the stream.  She shouted to come back over, and apparently I replied, “What’s past the grass over here?” I continued to explore.  It’s funny that same curious kid, later in years rode motorcycles to explore across the country, became a master wreck diver to explore under the ocean, a commercial pilot to explore the sky and a yachtsman to explore the sea.  Curiosity is contagious, and it’s born in you.


Curiosity causes pioneers to explore, to wonder what’s beyond, and take the steps to go there. This my friend – is how innovation happens.  It’s how change occurs, and how consumer experiences transform to refresh industries.


Stay Aware

The condition of change is critical.  Timing is everything.


Rene Descartes in 1632, envisioned a new lens for corrective vision. This ‘corrective lens’ would be a glass tubes filled with liquid, placed in direct contact with the cornea. However, it wouldn’t be until 1959 when the Czech chemists Otto Wichterle and Drahoslav Lím published their work “Hydrophilic gels for biological use” in the journal Nature in 1959, making the principal breakthrough of soft lens. It wasn’t until 1998, when the discovery of the first silicone hydrogels was made, that dramatically increased adoption. Timing matters.

Look at your organization, physically step outside comfortable and bring your team with you.  Evaluate your environmental conditions. Ask your self are the conditions ‘just right’ for change?


Thank you to everyone that made the 2015 CIO100 possible.  You all know who you are, and you’re amazing. It was a privilege to digitize healthcare and transform the consumer experience and learn from you all. 


Here are two additional links to the full story of the digitization and launch of the Connecticut Mobile application: Part 1 and Part 2.




Burrus, D. (2015). Anticipating Digital Disruption (Online Image). Retrieved August 7, 2015, from