Fleury’s idea market recognised for game-based approach to innovation

Exago’s client Fleury, the largest group of clinical analysis services in Latin America, reached the top five shortlist for large companies in the International IMP³rove Award 2015. Fleury was selected for its innovation drive and practices using a gamified platform that gathers and processes innovative ideas, based on Exago’s idea management software.

Fleury is one of the most respected medical and health organisations in Brazil. To meet its high standards and promote idea creation, a corporate innovation programme was launched in 2007. Four years later, the group introduced the ‘Central de Ideias’ (Idea Market), built on Exago’s innovation software, to engage workers and leverage the company’s collective intelligence more efficiently by using social and gamification mechanisms.

‘Central de Ideias’ is a tailored, democratic tool with which all employees can submit incremental innovation suggestions to improve services, practices and processes. Staff are then rewarded with prizes and recognition for their added value creation. The Idea Market not only collects and harnesses everyone’s contributions but also collaboratively evaluates them, spreading Fleury’s strong culture of innovation throughout the company. The platform is also open to innovative proposals from 55 suppliers. In 2014, 761 ideas were collected, 182 of which have been implemented.

The IMP³rove – European Innovation Management Academy Award nominated the Idea Market initiative for its contribution to Fleury’s sustainable growth based on systematic innovation management. In this third edition of the awards, the jury received more than 100 nominations from 2,000 applicants worldwide. The finalists were celebrated in a ceremony during Turkish Innovation Week 2015 in Istanbul, in December.

Social innovation, a world of challenges and opportunities

Incremental innovation, we’ve seen, promotes not only trust and collaboration but also calculated risk-taking. Yet innovation also takes shape in radical, disruptive, social frameworks, and by building the adequate organisational competencies. Let’s have a look at two examples.

Social innovation is an area full of endless challenges and opportunities. The concept is relatively recent, but, throughout history, examples of social innovation abound, from hospices through to the cooperative movement.

One more recent and celebrated example is that of microcredit. Through small loans and low interest rates for poverty-hampered individuals, this revolutionary social innovation model helps turn talent and ideas into businesses. Muhammad Yunus,the ‘father of microcredit’, and the Grameen Bank he founded in 1983, were jointly awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize ‘for their efforts through microcredit to create economic and social development from below’.

For this paper’s purposes, I use the definition of the Open Book of Social Innovation (Murray, Caulier-Grice and Mulgan, March 2010). Social innovations are ‘new ideas (products, services and models) that simultaneously meet social needs (more effectively than alternatives) and create new social relationships or collaborations’.

Whirlpool – building innovation competencies
In the late 90s, faced with stagnation in revenues and market share, Whirlpool decided to make a bold long-term investment: fostering a new corporate innovation mindset. With the help of Strategos, the company launched a global initiative to instil innovation as a core competency.

Thousands of employees were trained (as I-mentors and I-consultants). Whirlpool redesigned business processes and put together a new system of innovation management, changing the company’s culture.

Since then, the firm’s employees around the world have been contributing to innovation efforts. They participate, share their ideas for products and services and get involved in the process. In 2013, Whirlpool reported $19 billion of sales. It’s also the world’s leading global manufacturer of home appliances.

From Intel and Fleury to Whirlpool, each of these organisations has put innovation to work to address very diverse challenges:

  • Developing new business models
  • Increasing the number of their patents
  • Improving operational efficiency
  • Improving customers’ experience
  • Developing a culture of innovation
  • Engaging their companies’ talent
  • Building new capabilities
  • Creating a new marketing strategy
  • Having a true social impact

Without results, every one of these efforts would be useless and irrelevant. We need results, but we also need to assess them, taking into consideration the resources invested and the processes’ efficiency.

To measure outcomes, we will most likely have to adopt different metrics or different combinations of metrics, according to the goals we want to achieve. Next, I will identify and discuss some of the most relevant metrics we can use to do this.

Measuring innovation: the human factor

How can you measure innovation management?

Pedro do Carmo Costa, Exago’s director and co-founder

Incremental innovation, the nonstop evolution

iPhone at Apple, Gmail at Google: these are the results of incremental innovation – of structures, features and processes improvement – typically involving larger numbers of people in these efforts. Thomas Edison, though usually considered an inventor, was in truth amazingly brilliant at refining products so that these reached their optimal condition for use and commercialisation. Here are two more examples of incremental innovation at work.

a) Fleury – collective intelligence worth millions
The Brazilian company Fleury – a leader in clinical analyses in Latin America – has more than 10,000 employees. They have been included in Fleury’s innovation efforts. In 2007, the company initiated a programme to encourage suggestions for how to improve its operations, allowing all employees to submit ideas on paper. These were then evaluated by an innovation committee.

To optimise the process, in 2011, the group adopted the Central de Ideias or Idea Market. Created by Exago, this innovation management solution is a software platform where all stakeholders can participate – not only collecting and harnessing everyone’s ideas but also evaluating them.

Within a year, the results overtook even the most ambitious targets:

  • Ideas submitted: escalating from 1,809, in 2011, to 7,269, in 2012, when the new model was implemented (an increase of more than 400%)
  • Ideas approved: more than doubling, from 443 to 946
  • Ideas implemented: increasing from 225 to 300
  • Participation: growing from 712 to 3,309 people (15 months after implementing the platform, more than 70% of Fleury’s staff had actively joined in)

Fleury’s innovations have generated millions of dollars in value. They have reduced operating costs and introduced more efficient, sustainable and environmentally friendly processes. In early 2015, almost 8,000 participants were still interconnected and actively participating. More than 11,800 ideas had been submitted and over 500 implemented.

b) Renova – black toilet paper, really?
‘Why not?’ was the slogan the paper consumption goods Renova used in 2005 when launching this new product. Something as unpretentious as changing toilet paper’s colour to black transformed this small Portuguese company.

Soon, newspapers and magazines across the globe rated Renova’s black toilet tissue as a top luxury good. The New York Times described it as a ‘must-have’, and its enthusiasts grew in number – including famous artists and personalities.

Renova next adopted different colours. Beyoncé, reportedly, is said to be a fan of the red toilet paper. In just two years, Renova’s tissues and toilet paper could be found in 50 international markets and in the best hotels and restaurants in Japan, France, the UK, the United States, Belgium and Spain. Since then, the company has continued to multiply its trade channels, also opening pop-up stores and new concept boutiques. Clearly, incremental innovation promotes not only trust and collaboration but also calculated risk-taking.

However, innovation also takes shape in radical, disruptive, incremental and social frameworks. We’ll have a look at some more examples next.

Social innovation, a world of challenges and opportunities

How can you measure innovation management?

Pedro do Carmo Costa, Exago’s director and co-founder

The challenge is on: ‘People@Liberty’ launched on Innovation Open Day

Liberty Seguros Portugal, awarded several times for being ‘a great place to work’ and promoting ‘excellence at work’, wants to take its employees’ creativity and engagement to a new level. The insurance company has set in motion the ‘People@Liberty’ programme, based on Exago’s innovation management platform, inviting all the staff to build the company’s future together.

To kick-start – and create awareness about – the initiative, all the company’s teams were invited to join in Innovation Open Day: a full-day event giving them the chance to get to know the programme and use the platform, encouraged by fun game dynamics.

Innovating to grow together
Everyone can now access the platform anytime to submit ideas and insights easily, as well as to evaluate and comment on the ideas employees believe will bring more value to the company. Liberty Seguros’s collective intelligence is thus being activated and focused on key challenges, while each participant receives rewards and recognition for his or her contributions.

Innovation has long been part of Liberty Seguros DNA. With this new programme, ‘we want to efficiently engage our teams, mobilising skills and knowledge, to take the best of each employee in terms of ideas, to seek innovative solutions and identify the best opportunities to grow and to achieve better results and returns. Through participation, sharing and common construction, we are looking to inspire our people with our shared mission and values, as we work together to draw closer to our clients and their real needs, delivering the best service ever,’ says Rui Barata, Liberty Seguros Project Leader.

Innovation-driven and marked by a strong social responsibility culture, Liberty Seguros is part of the Liberty Mutual Group and has been operating in Portugal since May 2003. Backed by the dedication of each of its 511 employees, the company constantly seeks the best solutions to protect Portuguese families, individuals and micro, small and medium enterprises.