Old Mutual

Old Mutual: Mass and Foundation Cluster

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Old Mutual is a Pan-African financial services company that operates across 14 countries, 13 of which are in the African continent. Old Mutual employ almost 30,000 people and offer their services to 14 million customers. Their Mass and Foundation Cluster (MFC) business unit aims to provide accessible financial services to the lower income market. Partnering with Wazoku to provide an Enterprise Innovation Platform has allowed MFC to expand its existing collaborative ways of working into an always-on innovation capability.

Innovation Lab

Wazoku’s platform was first implemented for Old Mutual’s Personal Finance division. After evaluating innovation options, Old Mutual were impressed with the platform’s UX, scalability, and ease of integration into their own systems. As a leading financial institution, the security provided by Wazoku’s Enterprise Innovation Platform was also of crucial concern. The use was then scaled to the Corporate unit based on its success, and now the Mass and Foundation Cluster business unit uses it daily to submit, evaluate, and store ideas. With multiple areas of the wider business all running on Wazoku, there can be:

  • Increased engagement with people across departments
  • Less idea duplication between units
  • A unifying Old Mutual collaboration, exemplified by MFC’s 20-year-old Siyakhula event


An integral part of the success of the Mass and Foundation Cluster (MFC) are its people and the family-oriented, inclusive culture. To foster this culture, Old Mutual created ‘Siyakhula’, a movement that encourages and challenges their employees to solve pressing business challenges together. Siyakhula has been a successful driver of innovation for MFC for 20 years. Its aim is bringing together minds across a variety of disciplines and backgrounds to collaborate and put forward ideas to help build their business strategy. Every year MFC employees would come together to solve business challenges in-person through workshops and information sessions. Physical collaboration was a key aspect of the success and buzz around Siyakhula.

Unfortunately, in 2020, the global pandemic meant that this flagship inclusive innovation movement was put on hold. There was an immediate need to digitize this innovation program in order to continue this culture of co-creation and collaborative strategy building.

Siyakhula is a testament to the treasure trove of ideas within the organization.
//MFC employee survey on Siyakhula 2021

Introducing the Wazoku system into the Siyakhula innovation process was a huge success. Compared to the most recent in-person Siyakhula in 2019, they were able to collect 150% more ideas in 2021, showing how much the employee engagement improved. Managing these ideas and picking the winning one was made easier and more efficient than ever before by using the platform, as different teams were able to filter, evaluate, and pick out the top 3 ideas. From this the winning idea was picked, announced, and taken forward into experiments in the MFC Innovation LAB.


more ideas submitted in 2021 compared to 2019


of a living library of innovation

Ongoing event

rather than annual

Other discussions around ideas from Siyakhula included a roundtable of ideas of what the younger generation both needs and wants from their financial services. The members of the Mass and Foundation Cluster also submitted ideas for the regional side of finance – how to make a difference in the provinces and other target markets. These Siyakhula ideas were able to be retained using the Wazoku platform, and can form part of future strategies.

More than this, the remaining ideas – that would otherwise be lost – have given rise to an opportunity for driving innovation at scale, an added benefit of using the Wazoku platform. Across the business, there are a number of problems where these ideas can be applied, promoting an always-on culture of innovation within the business. With an overview of all ideas from employees across the company and organizational structures, the platform also helps to break down siloes and minimize duplication of effort. The platform is also accessed by MFC’s innovation partner who assist with evaluation and feedback on ideas, as well as shaping the Siyakhula process.

From Siyakhula 2019…

to Siyakhula 2021!

Looking Forward

Old Mutual has promoted a culture of innovation for a long time with over 20 years of Siyakhula events. Moving forward, the successful implementation of Wazoku into the business at large and digitizing the Siyakhula movement has sparked a change in the way the organization approaches innovation. MFC hoped to create a culture and process of innovation that runs throughout the year, and using the Idea Management platform enables an always-on approach to manage business ideation at scale.

Wazoku is helping Old Mutual to achieve its goals of elevating the creativity and scalability of ideas to ensure the business’ adoption of innovation as a way of working, not only as a way of thinking. Using a democratic idea management platform also enables idea sharing from every level of the business, especially outside the core.

Old Mutual has also announced a new office for New Growth and Innovation (NGI). Designed to bring long-term value for shareholders, it will work to innovate new business ventures, deliver disruptive innovation, and create or leverage adjacent revenue streams. The aim of the new office is to deliver these outcomes sustainably and repeatably, aligned to strategic goals of the company and to be scaled across its divisions.

Following the partnership with Wazoku, the Mass and Foundation Cluster has introduced the ‘Innovation Lab’ that further develops the innovation capability seen with Siyakhula but on a larger scale. The Innovation Lab aims to foster an ongoing culture of innovation that not only sources ideas from within the business but also from outside, to form an Innovation Ecosystem. The Wazoku platform is integral to the development of the Innovation Lab as it allows users to easily log their ideas, access other people’s ideas, and eases the evaluation process.

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