be curious

Growth happens beyond the comfort zone

Disrupt yourself!

I have left my employer of 38 years because I am curious, ever convinced that what is and what we do with culture, strategy, leadership and innovation can always be done better. I have put on my discoverer hat and stepped out of the comfort zone, again. This website is meant as a journal for my journey of learning, research, exploration and discovery as I follow ideas and theory, looking for conversations and critical dissent to combine them for new solutions by connecting the dots especially, but not exclusively, for the insurance industry.

Continuously leaving my comfort zone has always been an integral part of my life story. As a transgender woman, it took many cycles of extending my comfort zone to finally make the big step and transition. At the same time, in an effort to suppress my identity, I pursued a professional career that gave constant opportunities to learn and develop. Once you get infected by the growth- and learn-bug you cannot shake it off anymore. Grateful for all the growth- and learning opportunities my previous employer gave me, it was time to leave that comfort behind as well and follow my heart. "Every day is an opportunity to do whatever you want" ("The Why Are You Here Café", John P. Strelecky). I am interested in change, technology and innovation, I went to Silicon Valley and became fascinated with their can-do attitude and fearlessness, when it came to failure. I returned to Palo Alto a year later to get training as a Foresight Practitioner at the Institute for the Future and started reading more about culture, strategy, disruption, behavioral economics, diversity and the future of leadership.

«Learn to love the questions themselves, because therein are the seeds of all curiosity and wonder.»

Neill degrasse Tyson


I started this website with the intention to begin with a MVP (Minimum Viable PAGE) and then, the more I wrote, the more I had to tell. The page is always going to be work-in-progress. As it is intended to be my journal, it will grow and change over time as I learn and grow. Chapters will added, some will disappear.

I look forward to share my journey with you.

- Angela Matthes

To start with, here are some topics and previous learnings that trigger and energize me:


Roots for Purpose in 1666 and 1861

In 2012, I organized a Guest Lecture in Basel for my MBA Alma Mater, the Rochester-Bern Executive Programs. In the lecture, Prof. Filip Caeldries drew a direct line from Purpose to Performance and that it's all about leadership. Purpose was defined as "a definitive statement about the difference that you're trying to make." In my introduction of the topic, I told the story of the big fire of Glarus in 1861 that incited the creating of several insurance companies and Swiss Re in Switzerland, just as the big fire of London in 1666 incited fire insurance companies in the UK. They all share the purpose to organize larger risk communities in order to cover such catastrophes. After the lecture, I asked my then CEO about our Purpose and his reaction was: "I cannot talk about the big fire of Glarus with my management team."

Why not?


Competing Against Luck

The book of the same name by the late Clayton M. Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon and David S. Duncan was my gateway to the field of Behavioral Economics. The authors of the book come to the conclusion that innovation can be more than a game of chance. The long held maxim - that the crux of innovation is knowing more about the customer - is wrong. Customers don't just buy products and services; they "hire" them to do a job.

When it comes to insurance, I have to think back to one of my former bosses who stated in the 1990s: "There hasn't been any real innovation in insurance in the last 100 years."

Is this still true today?

The insurance industry is still creating products, selling it through their sales organisation, brokers or online. True, big data, AI and computing power makes it feel different, more modern, but at it's core it is still the fire insurance from 1861.

Diversity & Inclusion

Invitation to dance like no one's watching

Diversity is being asked to the party. Inclusion is being invited to dance. Belonging is dancing like no one is watching.

Diversity & Inclusion has become a topic organizations are embracing.

Some, because they see the true value of combining the experience and ways to look at things of a diverse workforce that is encouraged to bring all their facets, their best, authentic self to the workplace.

Others, because analysts and institutional investors have started to ask uncomfortable questions about their all male top management or their inability to give some key information on the diversity of their workforce.

To me, Diversity & Inclusion is something very personal because I have experienced firsthand how much joy and energy was unleashed when I was able to bring my whole, authentic self to work.

If these are topics that move you as well, then don't hesitate to contact me to find out, how we can learn and make progress together.

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