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Spotlight on… Gary Burke

Gary Burke, an expert in Business & Digital Transformation, is a very active member of The Camelot Network – Leader of our Business Transformation Think Tank, and key speaker at our first ever Camelot Live event on Innovation.

Gary’s broad ranging industry expertise and his engagement in The Camelot Network are both widely appreciated. Read on to learn more about the man who rings in the changes…

  1. So, in a nutshell: what do you do, and enable your customers to do?

I help companies operating in the insurance sector design and manage business and digital transformation programmes i.e. transformational change that impacts an organisation’s business and operating models. 

Transformational change is a complex mix of strategy, organisational design, governance frameworks, people, culture, process, data and technology change. There are many inter-connected components and understanding how they work and interact with each other, and their impact on customers, is essential for business and digital transformation success.

However, the challenges and complexities associated with transformational change and the impact on all aspects of an organisation are often under-estimated, and this can easily lead to costly failures, both financially and reputationally. 

So, through my company, Rabbits From Hats, I work with executive leadership teams, programme directors and sponsors (from insurers, MGA and brokers) to help them:

The challenges and complexities associated with transformational change and the impact on all aspects of an organisation are often under-estimated.
Gary Burke
  • Understand the full extent of transformational change and its impact on the organisation
  • Define a sound approach and foundation for change so that programmes are designed and structured to succeed
  • Keep transformation programmes on track by providing expert management, direction and oversight.

I also work with solution providers and Insurtechs to help them better understand how their products impact their clients’ business operation – not just their IT.

  1. What are some recent projects you’ve worked on?

I’ve recently worked with a technology provider to help them better understand the transformational impact their products have on their clients, a Financial Services SME, helping them define their approach for creating a Target Operating Model and understanding their Current Operating Model and a start-up to clarify their business model.

  1. What is your unique selling point? What makes your business approach unique?

It’s a combination of my insurance and transformation/change experience (30 and 25 years respectively), the ability to keep the big picture in view whilst also appreciating the detail, an innate curiosity, a pragmatic common-sense approach, and the confidence to ask the stupid questions and challenge the status quo, coupled with a desire to establish clarity and ‘make things work better’!

  1. What is, or what should be, hot on the industry’s lips in your view?

We need to talk about… getting the ‘transformation programme basics’ right.

Ok, it’s not sexy BUT companies really need to be better at “doing change” and this starts with ensuring the basics are in place. With over 70% of business and digital transformation programmes failing to deliver anticipated benefits, this should be something that every company, large or small, should be looking to address given the focus on costs and the need for greater agility. 

So, when setting up any transformation programme at least make sure that there is/are:

  • Clear objectives and outcomes
  • Agreed and realistic benefits 
  • Alignment of your appetite for change with the understanding of what’s involved 
  • Suitably experienced change capability with agreed roles and responsibilities
  • Fit-for-purpose programme and governance structures.
Remember to pause, step back and “keep it simple” – complexity arises quite naturally all too easily, so there’s no point in unnecessarily creating complications.
Gary Burke
  1. So, what’s one workplace challenges have you overcome?

Programme recoveries are always interesting as in my experience a major factor is that the fundamental things just haven’t been done – akin to building a house without putting in the foundations, and then wondering why it falls down!  With the recoveries I’ve managed I’ve always taken a pragmatic approach to reset and refocus the programme – re-engaging stakeholders, getting control over costs, re-clarifying objectives, benefits and scope, and ensuring that activity is aligned to appetite and capability.

  1. What should everyone be reading/listening to? (work/life related)

Nothing work related here but two entertaining and informative reads!

I’ve recently re-read “Alex’s Adventures in Numberland” by Alex Bellos, and am currently re-reading “Humans – a brief history of how we f***** it all up” by Tom Phillips.

  1. Do you have any words of wisdom for us or a short phrase that sums up your ethos?

It’s very easy to get drawn into the detail and lose sight of the big picture so always be mindful of that possibility.

Remember to pause, step back and “keep it simple” – complexity arises quite naturally all too easily, so there’s no point in unnecessarily creating complications.

Oh, and there’s no obligation to jump on bandwagons just because they are there!

“Being a member of Camelot has given me the chance to get to know some truly competent and talented people working within the insurance sector, and beyond.”

Gary Burke
  1. Do you have a Favourite quote?

“One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar” – Helen Keller

“I won’t be the one to be bound by the sound of “if only” – Hazel O’Connor (okay, it’s a lyric rather than a quote but I like it!) from “If Only” from the Breaking Glass soundtrack.

  1. Any professional goals for the upcoming year?

I’m currently in discussion with a leading university about doing some guest lectures on “business & digital transformation”, so watch this space…

  1. And… Last but not least, how does being a member of The Camelot Network help you/or add value to your business?

Being a member of Camelot has given me the chance to get to know some truly competent and talented people working within the insurance sector, and beyond.  

Also, leading Camelot’s Business Transformation Think Tank, and being a member of other think tanks, has provided me with multiple opportunities to collaborate with other members on some exciting initiatives.

To find out more about our members and how we can create your perfect solution, contact David Clamp: