Software de Inovação
Nationwide

Employee Feedback and Collaboration Across a Large, Disparate Organization

The Challenge
As #104 on the Fortune 500 list, Nationwide's workforce exceeds 36,000 employees and currently maintains more than 16 million insurance policies. With more than $157 billion in assets, Nationwide is one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the world.

Because Nationwide places a premium on employee collaboration and supports all facets of inclusion and diversity within the workplace, Nationwide upper management firmly believed that establishing an innovation management program was a natural progression as the organization continued to grow and prosper.

However, because of its unique corporate culture and focus on employee involvement, Nationwide wanted a program that would properly reflect the special environment and corporate personality it had worked so intently to create.

Accordingly, upon reviewing the options available, Nationwide approached Brightidea with a very specific set of criteria already in mind: develop and deploy an innovation management solution that would fully engage a small, yet select set of users. And, as utilization of the program increased, and as funds were added to support the program, additional users and departments would be added accordingly.

Furthermore, in addition to the selective pricing and ramp-up structure requested, Nationwide also asked that the solution possess any and all tools necessary for allowing employees to easily collaborate across borders, as the Nationwide family includes numerous and varied companies, divisions, organizations and field offices.

The solution that was to be implemented would also serve as a replacement system for a previously existing idea submission program, which was a simplistic version of an electronic employee suggestion box. Accordingly, for any program to be regarded as successful, the innovation management solution would have to significantly surpass the suggestion box, which already housed over five thousand employee submissions, but with no mechanism for sorting, ranking, managing or implementation.

The Solution
Brightidea answered the Nationwide call with a solution that was custom made and culturally-based. Given the flexible and program-specific nature of Brightidea’s technological capabilities and modules, customer specific programs and flexible customization options are part of the many possibilities available when an organization selects the Brightidea Platform.

Thus, at the onset, the Nationwide management team wanted to tap into that flexibility. Accordingly, a phase-in method of user ship was created to gauge employee usage and actual levels of participation. Working together, the two organizations were able to broker a deal whereby Nationwide had the ability to pay-per-user, but with the caveat that overages would be tacked on as an additional fee at the end of each term.

This unique pricing model allows a mid-size organization with limited funds to participate in the all-important innovation management process. However, it also allows a larger company such as Nationwide to test the waters with respect to employee response and thus experience a true innovation management program without the risk of a full-blown system or extensive up-front costs.

Thus, in working directly with top management to develop a plan that met all scope and budgetary concerns, Brightidea was able to develop and deploy a program for Nationwide known as “The Great Ideas System” which allowed employees to submit, track, comment, and rank all ideas in the system. Furthermore, the solution provided access for all users to collaborate with other participants on ideas in which they may have mutual interests, skills or experience.

The system also provided features for program administrators to draft and distribute emails, newsletters and updates to ensure all users are up-to-speed with the latest upgrades and system capabilities. In addition, the system included advanced functionality such as: promotional programs, top performer(s) information and overall goal measurement. The end-product proved to be a mechanism which not only produced a plethora of ideas, but a system that could rank , manage and implement the best ideas and promote employee collaboration and morale at the same time.

According to Vincent Carbone, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Brightidea:
“The Nationwide program was a great test for us in terms of business flexibility in combination with premium technology and system development. Our challenge was to continue creating best-in-class Innovation Management solutions, but in this case, adhere to a unique pricing model that would both please Nationwide management and provide them with the ability to grow and develop according to need, comfort level and budget.”

The Results
By utilizing advanced, proprietary technology to create the Nationwide Ideas program, Brightidea was able to harness the wisdom of the crowds - in this case, literally the 36,000 Nationwide employees - to help drive innovation, product development, enhanced efficiency, improved processes and updated customer initiatives.

In fact, the system has been so popular, Nationwide has increased its user base each term, as the number of employees utilizing and participating in the program has risen dramatically each period it has been in place.

Furthermore, some of the ideas born as a result of this initiative proved particularly promising and were raised to the attention of the Nationwide executive team. These high-profile, high-potential business ideas became part of a new tool developed by Brightidea which was designed specifically to track ‘High Impact’ ideas. The High Impact Ideas program, which consisted of innovation ideas valued at five million dollars plus, were earmarked for priority implementation and, as of the last program term, accounted for nearly 3.5 billion dollars in potential revenue.

In addition, one of the high-impact ideas proved so promising, the Nationwide Chief Strategy Officer left his position so that he might head the team bringing a particular High-Impact Idea to fruition.

It is with this kind of forward, enlightened thinking that some of the best, most fruitful initiatives are realized. And, without programs to drive, rank and filter these ideas, such potential is likely unrealized. Hence, we are all witness to the wisdom of harnessing the brilliance of the masses and driving innovative thinking within many of today’s leading organizations.

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