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Alte Leipziger

Using an innovation management platform to run Challenges to staff helps to power a culture of innovation. Leading German insurance company ALH Gruppe uses Wazoku to ask for employees’ opinions on everything: from creative choices to product improvements and project plans.

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Alte Leipziger (ALH Gruppe) is a German insurance company, offering customers all products relating to insurance and finance. Its teams in offices across Europe place particular emphasis on areas of personal insurance: particularly in life and health insurance. Working with Wazoku, Alte Leipziger have managed to build and scale a successful innovation program.

Across all industries, organizations that find new ways to leverage the knowledge of their employees find greater success than their competitors who stay the course. Alte Leipziger previously had an idea suggestion scheme, but it did not truly succeed or serve its purpose. This old scheme was paper-based, handed to those involved in the program and each insurance division had its own scheme. This meant that the program had issues as it was siloed, lacked transparency, and – due to it being physically-tracked – was disconnected from the actual impact of these ideas.

Following a successful pilot with Wazoku in 2018, Alte Leipziger revisited the idea suggestion schemes’ set-up and utilized the Wazoku platform to power this new culture of innovation.

The innovation program at Alte Leipziger consists of an ‘Idea Management Platform’ with private team rooms, an employee suggestion system, and a cooperation and service provider database. ALH Gruppe have taken a disconnected system of ideas and turned it into an always-on platform: one that not only rewards the best employee ideas, but also harnesses technology to find new ways of working towards the group’s goals

Principles behind the Idea Management Platform

Alte Leipziger wanted to take the spirit of the old program and refine it, making it more modern and effective from a business perspective. The principles inform how the platform is used, with important considerations around funding, fairness, and rewards. Private team rooms and the cooperation database are separated from monetary rewards and gamification, but the Challenges have these as key features.

Every month there is a new ‘Normal Challenge’, that is tied to a specific topic through the Challenge Approach. This could be feedback for a new product, suggestion for its features, or other topics related to business performance. The CEO wanted the Challenge Approach to specifically link employee ideas with success – it also means that every Challenge can be fully financed from

conception to implementation. With every Challenge, there is a new evaluation panel that consists of individuals from across the business who can rate the submissions most aptly with their experience.

Preparing in this way means that the ideas are set up for success: they have a team, project, and the resources behind it to successfully change something. Ideas that win these Challenges are used every time: employees know from the start that their ideas will make a real difference.

Principles behind the Idea Management Platform

 

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2000+

2000+ employees on the platform

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More

ALH Staff use the Wazoku Platform than Yammer

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60%+

of employees are contributors

‘Normal’ versus ‘Creative’ Challenges 

German law also states that for Challenges like these, the ‘Normal’ Challenges can have a monetary reward (as they are linked to business success) – but the ‘Creative Challenges’ must have a different award to still encourage participation.

Creative Challenges are about design, areas of marketing, and ideas with less-tangible benefits attached to them. Winners are often invited to participate in ALH Group events, to talk about their designs or success and receive recognition from their peers and leadership.

Rewards for these are clear from the start in two different prize amounts depending on the importance of the Challenge to the company’s strategic goals. The transparency of this element of their innovation program allows Alte Leipziger to set clear expectations for both Challenge solvers and setters.

“Participation and recognition are just as strong motivators for our employees on the platform as financial rewards – we had more ideas submitted to our first Creative Challenge than the first one with a fixed monetary award.”

Klaudia Soroka
Innovation Management Consultant, Alte Leipziger

Some organizations with similar schemes only pay out to idea creators when an idea is fully implemented and successful. Alte Leipziger wanted to show trust and faith in its employees, so if an idea is accepted as the winner of the Challenge, the award amount is paid in the following month direct to employee winners.

Gamification

A key way of maintaining employee engagement and interest in innovation is through gamifying actions that users take. Encouraging actions taken on the platform is managed through a point scheme. Likes are worth 1 point, Comments 2 points, Submitted ideas 100 points, Accepted ideas 200 points, and Implemented ideas receive 500 points. 

These points add up to real results, badges, and titles for the users.  

When employees reach Master Innovator for the first time, or every 3,000 points they collect, they can choose between a range of benefits: 

  • Gain an extra day off 
  • Travel to Berlin or Cologne at the company’s cost to visit and learn from start-ups 
  • Donate money to an organization of your choice 

The Cooperation and Service Provider Database 

While the program began as an idea suggestion scheme, Alte Leipziger realized that the Wazoku Platform could be used for more innovation activities. 

Across the divisions of the group, different partnerships allow for better products and services – but before this database, there was no easily-accessible and transparent view on who was working with who. The goal is for a transparent, intuitive, and clear information platform on all the strategic cooperation and partnerships for group-wide communication. 

 

 

On this database, employees do not submit ideas but they input corporations/start-ups that they are working with in their department. The platform allows them to upload the length of the cooperation, start date, and whether they spoke with an organization and then did not end up working with them.  

This clear and transparent look is consistent on whether a partnership did or did not work out. That way, the platform becomes a smart library of current and potential partners with documented learnings from other divisions across the group. 

“You can’t guarantee a $1m idea every month, but we optimize process and catalyse the cultural change to a more open and innovative mindset.”

// Philipp Koehler
Strategic Innovation Manager, Alte Leipziger

Success of the program

The board is keen to see and monitor the program’s success – but are aware that innovation in this way takes time to settle into employee’s ways of working. The board is updated regularly with engagement figures and the success of the ideas, receiving both quantitative and qualitative reports from the Group’s innovation team. 

Alte Leipziger’s program is pioneering in the way that every Challenge is fully-funded and resourced before it is even launched. By innovating in this way, the team and wider business can see the true value of every winning idea generated by employees.  

Another measure of the success is the program’s own evolution: with more and more employees joining the platform, a constant development of its features, and more use cases for the platform such as the Cooperation and Service Providers database. 

The innovation program at Alte Leipziger enables innovation, underpins cultural change, creates transparency, and support growth and strategy targets of the group. 

 

 The innovation team sees the platform as a cultural instrument for collaboration and ideation: enabling connections, idea gathering, and optimization of processes across the business. 

How does ALH Gruppe use Challenge Driven Innovation® to innovate? 


Want to learn more? Watch the full webinar with Klaudia Soroka and Philipp Koehler to learn more about Alte Leipziger’s innovation program! 


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