Manifest Boston Stories

HUBweek Change Maker: Deeksha Joshi

Written by Zoe Dobuler | Oct 24, 2018 4:39:53 PM

Deeksha Joshi is a Managing Director in Corporate Strategy and Research at Liberty Mutual Insurance. Being an Innovation Strategist in transformational technologies, Deeksha spends her time researching disruptive trends and trying to understand the future of risk. She has over 16 years of experience working with multiple companies around the technology and innovation space. At Liberty Mutual, she helps thinks through and solve various strategic and operational challenges as the insurance industry experiences new trends and opportunities. Previously at Liberty Mutual, she led the Property Innovation team in US consumer markets. She has also authored two books on data & innovation: Data Driven Innovation and The Big Analytics. Before joining Liberty, she was an Executive in the Strategy and Transformation group within Accenture’s management consulting organization and led large transformation projects. She also created and ran her own IT consulting firm in India. When not wearing the futurist hat, Deeksha loves to hike and learn what nature has to teach. She has received an MBA from Darden School of Business, Virginia and her Bachelors in Engineering from NSIT, Delhi. She also has a passion for sharing her thoughts via blog and supporting local Boston startups and girls in STEAM initiatives.

Zoe Dobuler: What is your background, and how did you find your way to this line of work?

Deeksha Joshi: I have always been fascinated with data and what all it could do. My love for data got me closer to stats and its relevance. But when I started the real world, I was amazed to see the gap between stats/data and reality. That peaked my interest and I decided to dedicate my professional life to understanding the convergence of business (art) and analytics (science). My life as an engineer and business graduate gave me ample opportunity to see both worlds converge. Once I landed my post MBA job, I have invested considerable time researching and helping businesses make sense of their data, insights, and business outcomes. Currently, I am living that dream in Liberty Mutual by helping build a robust and futuristic direction for the group. After joining Liberty Mutual I realized that insurance is where all the data, science, and business come together to understand the risk that scares us all. So, I am loving and living the dream with Liberty Mutual.

ZD: Much of your work looks at innovation through this data-focused lens. How can data be useful in fostering innovation, and how are you using it toward that end at LMI?

DJ: Data certainly provides an interesting lens to identifying innovation. Innovation comes in two most identifiable versions, incremental and disruptive. On one hand, data is fantastic in the case of incremental innovation opportunities by cutting out the bureaucracy and using hard numbers for direction. On the other hand, data has been playing a limited role in identifying those “black swan” disruptions. A good data strategy is not either/or but a whole that helps identify both. Data, if done right, is amazing at warning you if you are being disrupted and helping you identify those incremental opportunities to innovate. Being in the insurance industry, that helps people during tough times; we are at the forefront of using data to identify risks that help us and our clients sleep easy as they cruise through life. We use data as a core differentiator to educate and empower clients to understand and secure themselves in the face of risks. Data also helps us create innovative products and services that benefits our customers.

ZD: I read that one of your primary objectives is "understanding the future of risk." Can you tell us more about what that means? 

DJ: As we are going through technological S-curve disruption, we are seeing remarkable growth in cloud and computing capabilities that has radically expanded our imagination around how we could use data to better understand risk. From autonomous mobility to IoT sensor-led life, we are living in the age of data. In the presence of data and computing capabilities today, we are getting smarter about understanding risk as we have a lot more visibility into process, product, and people to help measure risks. On the other hand, the data revolution is also accessible to bad actors that have changed the risk landscape for all of us. From cyber threats to expensive autonomous mobility events, risks are evolving as well. So, at Liberty Mutual Insurance, we are also evolving in our capability to cope with the evolution and help minimize the risks for our clients as we all enjoy such disruptive times.

ZD: What does the "future of risk" look like? How can we be better prepared to face it?

DJ: As we pass through the data and technology revolution, we all enjoy amazing technologies all around us. From smart homes to autonomous cars, data and technology have impacted us all in ways we could not have imagined before. In 2017, 68.4% of the U.S. population used a smartphone, and the smart wearable market is also seeing double-digit year-over-year growth. While our risks are dependent on our surroundings, current times have evolved our surroundings and hence the risks associated with it. Our love for apps and gadgets has given our data to lots of sources that we have limited control over. Our increased consumption of social media has also opened us to risks about identify theft and cyber security fraud in ways we have not seen before. We are also now driving with more distraction than our 10 years younger self.

Besides enjoying these amazing technological marvels around us, we should properly evaluate the reliability and safety of the platforms we work with. While the age-old saying “Think of the worst and hope for the best” has been tested through time as a safe measure to keep us in check, we should safeguard ourselves from any new risk exposures.

ZD: You recently shared LMI's experience collaborating with the design firm Gensler on our blog, and I know this is just one of the many partnerships that LMI has engaged in to help create this safer future. Are there any others you can share? 

DJ: If we take clues from what is happening around us, it’s all about collaboration and partnership. While I cannot speak about Liberty Mutual Insurance's strategy as a whole, in general the insurance industry is a lot more collaborative than people think. We constantly work with our partners to ensure we have a better grasp on measuring the security of people and property. We are working closely with regulators, businesses, educational institutions, and technology providers to help us gain insights that help us understand the risks better. In fact, our success is very much attributed to our working partners that helps us understand the changing risk landscape and ways to mitigate it.

ZD: You are also very passionate about encouraging girls to enter STEM fields. Why is this work so important to you? What do you see as the path forward for better supporting girls in STEM?

DJ: Although I was born in a conservative family, I was blessed to have parents who have put so much emphasis on education and STEM. While it was a norm in my family for girls to take STEM [courses], I realize the ecosystem was not girl-friendly and the stats seems to agree. The STEM girl/boy ratio needs fixing, and it could be fixed if it is addressed at the root level, so it is really important that girls choose these subjects in their formative school years. I am a mother of a seven-year-old girl and I want to see her thrive in the field and feel well respected and appreciated. In our culture, it is a bigger challenge and every bit anyone could do will hopefully increase diversity in the STEM/STEAM community.


The HUBweek Change Maker series showcases the most innovative minds in art, science, and technology making an impact in Boston and around the world.