NATS has today launched its new free online drone training course, aimed at new drone owners and hobbyists.
Steve Graham, head of business engagement at NATS, said: “We hope new and existing drone users will find our new online hobbyist course useful as a fun-to-use tool with a serious message. NATS strongly supports fair and equal access for all types of aircraft, manned and unmanned, in integrated airspace – and it is important that all users of airspace do so safely, responsibly, and with due regard for the needs of others.”
Adding: “By designing an animated video with clear and accessible voice over narration and multiple-choice quiz questions, our aim is to provide accurate and practical information as a reference guide that will be helpful for all drone operators, especially new drone owners and hobbyists.”
My boyhood, and manhood, hero is Captain James Cook – explorer, pioneer, adventurer, leader and role model. How brave He and his crew must have been to head off into unknown places to see unknown things, with a limited prospect of coming back to see loved ones again.
postal system at sea, no internet or satellite TV to know what’s going on
anywhere, no supermarkets to buy favourite foods as needed, and no Google Translate
to help communicate with new found tribes, they lived an isolated, exciting and
no doubt fearful existence.
Just 250 years ago Captain Cook was risking his life discovering and charting new parts of the world. In 1769 he was off the tip of South America far from what then would have been called civilisation, no doubt regularly going through ye olde worlde version of risk management planning to keep his crew safe and his Exploring Project on track.
in Civilisation’s hub in London, other experts in managing risk formed a “new”
Lloyds, taking over from Edwards Lloyds Coffee Houses which had dated back to
1688. That “new” Lloyds is accepted as the formation of “modern” insurance we
know now. How surprised those experts would
be now to see plenty of their policy wordings still in play to this day!
I have been thinking
about our “modern” insurance that started way back when, at the same time as Captain Cook’s exploits, and
how little insurance has evolved in comparison to so much else in the world. The
insurance industry has badly missed out on its own great pioneers. From Louis
Le Prince making the first films in 1886, through to modern day Mark Zuckerberg
creating Facebook in 2004 (yes just 15 years ago), and the Apple iPad being
launched in 2010 (not even 10 years ago and now with 350 million sales
worldwide). Truly remarkable things have been happening around us!
Meantime in insurance the admirable Peter Wood’s creation of Direct Line in 1985, with the less remarkable use of a telephone rather than paper to transact insurance, remains the most commonly recalled insurance innovation in modern times. Hmmmm .
insurance the admirable Peter Wood’s creation of Direct Line
in 1985, with the less remarkable use of a telephone rather than
paper to transact insurance, remains the most commonly recalled
insurance innovation in modern times. Hmmmm . . . . as a life-long
insurance guy that leaves me feeling somewhat ….underwhelmed!
So as I am now
in that magical nirvana where I really do live the dream of choosing who I want
to work with, doing what I want to do, when I want to do it and making a decent
enough crust to keep the wolves from the door, (incidentally, the last wolf in
England was killed in 1680, the same decade as Edward Lloyd set up his Lloyds
Coffee Houses, but I’m a life-long insurance guy so I am not resting easy just
yet!), I’ve been working on how we can bring Captain Cook’s lasting spirit into
the Insurance Industry and kick ourselves forward at some pace to catch up with
the rest of civilisation’s rapid progress.
After all we
do have lots of pioneers and entrepreneurial adventurers out there trying to
help the insurance world already. “Pioneer” has a few defined meanings, one of
which is “someone trying to develop or apply a new method of area of knowledge
There’s lots of Insurtech and other innovations that
certainly fit that definition, and so many of these can genuinely help us go
faster, be better, and save insurers and customers money – but only if as an
industry we truly want to explore and embrace the pursuits of those modern day
pioneering adventurers and do something about it. Alas much of the evidence
shows our industry is too busy fighting the fires of today to genuinely explore
a new world for tomorrow.
And it’s not
like we don’t have great leaders and role models in our industry to show us the
way forward either. We have loads. It’s easy to create a top 50 list of “really
impressive people” in insurance who can make a significant difference to the
industry and its’ future.
On top of
that, most of those “really impressive people” have been very bullish indeed
about innovation in insurance. Exciting announcements have been made to
shareholders, brokers and staff, and vast sums of money have been injected. Armies
of people have descended on countless conferences and start up accelerator
groups . . . so what’s happened? Why aren’t we firing out transformational new
game changing approaches every year that push the insurance industries boundaries
and trust ratings up from relegation zone contenders to at least mid table
Somehow all of
the “top brass” bravado gets lost in the morass of corporate
treacle that for hosts of reasons becomes the protector of
the status quo, and all-too-often makes UK insurance pioneers feel
like Captain Cook approaching a new hostile territory whilst being
put through a simultaneous resilience and tenacity test.
Sadly in some
notable cases the insurance pioneers strategically de-select the UK as a target
market because other parts of the world are more open to change . . . and to be
fair, the Insurtechs doing this have generally been proven to be good judges
reaping good rewards.
came across this excellent article by Torben Rick and make no apologies for
sharing it again a few years after its publication. Originally written to help
people overcome objections to change, it reads as the common check list thrown
out by the “insurance treacle” as reasons for retaining the status quo and
de-railing the aspirations of “the really impressive leaders” and insurance Pioneers.
Think hard . . . and be honest . . . how many of these
have you used in the last 12 months as a justification for inaction?
And how many of these did those magnificent early
explorers encounter do you think?
So here’s the rub – if Captain Cook could overcome these 12
things 250 years ago, how come it’s so hard for us to do just that in our “modern”
As I reach
the twilight of my insurance career (where I find that perversely my wisdom and
experience is undoubtedly at its peak) I’ve come to recognise that there are (controversially),
three insurance tribes for “Cookesque” insurance pioneers to master; “really impressive leaders”; “corporate
treacle”; and, “phenomenally good front line people held back by corporate
treacle”. Each face different challenges and have roles to play in radically
accelerating the pace of change within the insurance sector.
The “really impressive leaders” of our industry’s challenge is to sail Captain Cooks aptly named ships of “Resolution”, “Adventure”, “Discovery” and “Endeavour” into the sea of corporate treacle to start making things truly accelerate innovation wise. Making those bold innovation statements become real, rather than hollow words deflected by over-burdened middle men, is what will truly mark these big personalities out as great leaders with lasting legacies.
To those who are the corporate treacle themselves, and no
doubt hundreds of people reading this will be in denial about their role being
inclusive in that category, the challenge is to man up, make things happen, be
noticed, and be a bold pioneer inside their own organisations.
to deliver something new which makes a real difference to customers, efficiency
and cost is there to be grasped, if they are bold enough to go for it and stand
out from the crowd. It is such moments of career defining success that builds a
strong future cv as the prize that awaits. I know this, I once was corporate
treacle myself and waded through the sea to the idyllic shores and promised
The “phenomenally good front line
people held back by corporate treacle”,
have a part to play too. Now, more than at any other time in our modern social
history, has the momentum from the masses, especially
latter millennials and Generation Z groups, had the ability to
create monumental change around us! That will on the grandest
stage hopefully bring our planet back from the brink.
though increasingly their voices are heard by employers and retailers alike, and
if not heard then its easy for the masses to vote with their feet and move on
to forward thinking companies.
If this all
seems a distant dream in the slow-moving insurance world, well . . . it took Captain Cook less than 2 years to
leave Plymouth and discover Australia, (after a sun stop in Tahiti and a
mountain break in New Zealand en route). That’s less time than the duration of countless
mid-complexity projects in modern day insurance corporates! Crikey!!!
modern times a 5p charge on plastic bags saw an 86% reduction in UK plastic bag
use almost overnight. Wow!!!
Great things really
can be achieved in short time frames – especially if we use the lessons of
history well. Maybe the Insurance Industry can make a substantial shift forward
too – if there is a real, cumulative will to advance and shed its lethargy from
All too often
we see the Insurance sector caught in Albert Einstein’s insightful text “insanity is doing the same things over and
over again and expecting different results”. To break out we can be guided
by Captain James Cook’s brave thoughts: “The
man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd”, which
seems to have worked well for our most recent pioneer hero, Peter Wood.
whether you’re inspired to go pioneering or just want to re-think your role in being
part of the corporate treacle, good luck recalibrating your own change
propensity and in being, or supporting, a more adventurous explorer tomorrow.
Footnote: If you
are a “really impressive” senior insurance figure, or aiming to be one sometime
soon, and want to find out about becoming faster, better, cheaper and more then
feel free to get in touch!