Insurance & Technology


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S EAN BELKA MAY CARRY the title of senior VP of Fidelity Center for Applied Technology at Fidelity Investments, but to his col- leagues he's the de facto innovation officer, responsible for push- ing the envelope on technologies years before they go mainstream. The department, more commonly referred to as Fidelity Labs or even internally as FCAT, is the go-to for internal requests. Belka's global staff of 75 technologists spend their days fielding questions about a spectrum of technologies such as big data, social, mobile, and wearable computing. His team is endlessly delivering on re- quests for research and conducting pilot programs that creatively, but sensibly, leverage new technologies to deliver better customer experiences and outcomes. Belka's job is not necessarily to predict the future or push any particu- lar product; that role will be left to customers who vote with their dol- lars and preferences. But by experimenting with a spectrum of technol- ogies, Fidelity hopes to be prepared for whatever comes along. Now, when departments come to him with gamification ideas, for example, his team has already piloted projects and can offer advice, even build October 2014 10 Previous Table of Contents Next Previous Table of Contents Next F I D E L I T Y L A B S SEAN BELKA Senior VP and director of the Fidelity Center for Applied Technology CAREER BIO: Senior VP for the Fidelity Center for Applied Technology since 2008, after holding various positions in Fidelity Investments since 1993. WHAT WORK EXPERIENCE HAD THE MOST LONG-LASTING IMPRESSION ON YOUR CAREER?: "One advantage of having 30 years of work experience is the opportunity to do many different things: startups, turn- arounds, business roles, tech roles, and more. I've learned that they all matter because they provide new challenges and the opportunities to build new skills." WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE HOBBIES? "For fun, I like to take our dogs out on our stand-up paddle boards. I also love working with startups and am on the advisory board of MassChallenge, the world's largest startup competi- tion. It is so great to see the energy and creativity, and it's really inspiring." WHO HAS HAD THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR CAREER? "I would say the customer-first culture of Fidelity has been the big- gest influence on my career. It drives everything we do. The first question is al- ways: What is the best thing to do for the customer? It may seem simple, but it's quite profound. It's a true north that influences everything we do." Fidelity Labs has a long history of investing in technologies ahead of the business case. Sean Belka has taken up the mantle. By Becca Lipman @BeccaLipman Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants DOWNLOAD PDF

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