Tandi LeFranc is the Director of Business Strategy Acceleration at Pacific Life, where she is in the process of building out a new innovation team. Pacific Life is a California-based insurance company that is over 150 years old. We spoke with Tandi as part of our IL Member Spotlight series, which profiles our members. 

Tandi-LeFranc

Is there a recent success or achievement by your company or your team specifically that you’d want to spotlight?

We are actually part of a brand new division, and part of what we are doing inside of our division is defining what innovation is going to look like as we support the growth of the business. One of the really cool things that’s happened over the last eight months since I started in this role is that we’ve actually built out a program for innovation within our division that is focused on leveraging the ideas of those that were brought in to start the division, and helping to jumpstart their visions for growth.

Are there any books, podcasts, or resources that you would recommend to peers?

One of the best books is Radical Candor by Kim Scott, because I think it helps people break the mold of how to have good conversations, and how to have successful conversations. It teaches you about getting things out and really elevating different perspectives, and creating a space where people feel comfortable just to share and talk about anything with no judgement.

Are there any pieces of advice or like general learnings from your time in innovation that you would be able to share with other corporate and innovators? 

Hitting on a common definition of innovation is really important. One of the things that I’ve noticed is that there are a couple of different thoughts around innovation. So, it is really important for me to define our scope of innovation in this division. If people saw it as this pie in the sky, “We’re going to create this amazing thing that no one’s ever thought of in the world…” That’s not necessarily the level or style of innovation that we were going for right now.

We were really looking at innovating our thought processes and innovating our approach to how we put things to market, how we foster and grow ideas — rather than being a think tank that generates ideas for the business lines. Our intention was literally: “How do we take the most amazing things that our teams are already coming up with based on their day-to-day experiences, and help them move through the design sprint, design-thinking process at a faster pace — in order to give life to some of those ideas.”

When you’re not at work, what are three things that you like to spend time doing?

I love spending time at the beach paddleboarding, I love reading, and I love just spending time with my six year old son and my husband.