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For a complete transformation that allows an organization to face and adapt to the challenges of the future, it seems reasonable to think that such challenges will not only be shared by employees, but among all the different collectives related to a company.

Zurich Insurance took center stage on Tuesday at its Madrid headquarters, for a new edition of the ideas4all Innovation Innovation Breakfasts, exposing the general outlines of its corporate innovation program “From employees to customers”, which proposes that several stakeholders join in the race towards transformation through innovation.

Silvia Heras of Zurich Insurance Spain (left) and Pilar Roch, CEO of ideas4all Innovation.

A “journey to innovation”, according to Silvia Heras, Director of Communication and Strategic Marketing at Zurich Insurance; that requires a well-calculated road map with careful prior consideration. In the present case, Zurich Insurance’s management has highlighted how it understood that, to open to the different collectives related to the company, it should first do the same with its own employees, listening actively to what they had to say.

The result was the creation of ‘Imagina’, a community where employees of Zurich Insurance Spain can share and co-create ideas related to the challenges the organization faces. The project, created with the company’s global support, has chosen Spain as its pilot experience and is the first step in a more ambitious program that aims to extend innovation to other collectives.

Transformation that begins within and continues without.

Heras recounted how in its first month, Imagina managed to involve almost 90% of the 1,600 employees the company has in Spain, serving as endorsement for employee engagement thanks to a 34-point rise in the ENPS shortly after its launch.

Since then, Imagina has made it possible for all types of employees–from those in call centers to middle and higher management–to participate with their proposals in decision-making hubs that previously had limited access.

This decision has also allowed the company to multiply and accelerate its internal innovation muscle, by allowing it to “manage large volumes of ideas, something impossible using other, more traditional, resources like workshops” or in companies with strong geographic fragmentation.

The success of the initiative has caused the company to broaden the scope of the program, in second place, to the agents of its distribution network, thanks to the launch of a second community that joins its innovative ecosystem.

Employees and agents participate by solving challenges, connect their ideas and co-create solutions jointly or separately, as if they were one unique piece or two separate entities, each providing knowledge in their specialty area.

Initiatives of this kind, stresses Pilar Roch, CEO of ideas4all Innovation and participant at the event, highlight how “ideas generation by an organization’s various stakeholders” entails a great accelerator for innovation, based on finding valuable insights and laying down a common way of confronting short and medium-term transformation.

Based on ideas4all Innovation’s experience as an agent for change in large companies and all sectors, Roch explained how “cultural change, people management, transparency or establishing a governance model” are all touchstones that guarantee the success of corporate innovation programs.