May 2018


By Chris Greig and Carlos Fuentes

We are pleased to offer seven articles that entrepreneurs at heart and businesspeople will find valuable. They range from innovative considerations on how to improve communication (in this case through data visualization), to adaptation (a strategic capability stressed in The Art of War, itself the object of an article), to the idea that it is better to compete when you have no rivals (a concept advanced in Blue Ocean Strategy, also relevant to one of the articles). There are programming considerations, too, for those interested in IT. To be explicit:

  1. Examples of Visualizing and Using Data in Innovative Ways. Information and data overload are conspicuous. When presented carelessly or with the intent to mislead they can convey almost any message. But if the intention is to go into the heart of the matter in a way that is understandable to the discerning reader, we must rely on effective writing skills. But what about using visualization tools? After all, a picture can be worth a thousand words. In this excellent piece, Mark Spong approaches the subject of effective communication in a truly innovative way.

  2. Timeless Thinking—The Art of War, by Sun Tzu. One of the classics in strategy, Sun Tzu’s work has been carefully studied in history programs, military academies and business schools. In his brief article, Nick Ortner summarizes this influential and usually misunderstood masterpiece.

  3. A Change Will Do You Good. In this article, Mitchell Stephenson reflects on the human inclination to resist change, which is unfortunate given the fact that we live in a world that is constantly evolving. Such inclination is not only conspicuous in individuals but also in the institutions we have created. But we can prepare for change using four recommendations discussed in the article.

  4. How Python (and Networking) Saved My Company. In this article entrepreneur Andrew Webster explains how, through a personal journey, he discovered the advantages of programming in Python.

  5. Is There a Digital Blue Ocean? Patrick T. Leary points out that selling insurance through the internet has resulted in a crowded market. He further makes the obvious but often ignored observation that supply (in this space) has not created demand. But according to the authors of Blue Ocean Strategy (a revolutionary idea to some, fluff to others), sometimes it is possible to plan an escape from competed markets and create uncontested spaces. To do so, Leary argues, we must pose four fundamental questions.

  6. The Future of Canadian Group Benefits. Group benefits are not what they used to be. The composition of the workforce has changed, customers’ needs are evolving, prices continue to escalate, technology keeps promising operational efficiencies, and competition has intensified. In this article, Melisa Carruthers discusses key considerations for those who operate in the group benefits market.

  7. Human Nature and the U.S. Health Care System, Part IV. This is the fourth and last installment in a series of articles that were summarized in “A Rigged Game,” published in the July/August 2017 issue of Contingencies, itself a follow up to “Winning or Losing the Game?” (Contingencies, July/August 2016). The purpose of this series of articles is to illustrate the “soft” approach of Game Theory using Thucydides’ master work, The History of the Peloponnesian War, and then apply it to analyze the strategic interactions of those who participate in the U.S. health care system.

We are interested in your feedback and ideas. We are looking for entrepreneurs and innovators who want to share with our readers the knowledge they have acquired by doing. We welcome good ideas, old and new. Please contact us with your thoughts and tell us what you think about these articles.

Chris Greig, ASA, CERA, ACIA, is the president of TPX Technologies Inc., an actuarial technology company. He can be reached at

Carlos Fuentes, FSA, MAAA, is president at Axiom Actuarial Consulting. He can be reached at