Innovations in Allstate Insurance Company by annafoster2012

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Allstate discovered that the innovative power of its organization was even greater than it had thought. An early innovation challenge resulted in finding out that three employees, separately, came up with the idea for a Facebook video contest around life insurance.

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									                                     Allstate Insurance Company   2012



  Innovations in Allstate Insurance Company




Allstate has always had certain organizational strengths. But for too
long, Linda Lampe, innovation manager for Allstate Financial said at
the ACORD/LOMA forum in Orlando this week, innovation was not
one of them.

"Let's face it — we're really good with data, for example, but we need
to put that muscle into innovating every day," she said.

Lampe and Nick Suizzo, lead management consultant for enterprise
innovation, detailed how Allstate decided it needed to become a
more innovative organization, and how its methods for encouraging
creativity have evolved. In 2007, the company opened its Innovation
Lab, which allowed any employee to come in and submit an idea.

"A person would come in, sit with an innovation expert, write the idea
on a sticky note and put it on the window. Others could come in and
comment, and move them into the business areas where they were
applicable," Suizzo explained.

[Read more Car Insurance in www.car-insures.com ]

The problem? It worked too well. "Employees came and dropped off
tons of ideas," he added. "It became too cumbersome of a process
for a six-person team, and the business units weren't ready to absorb
these ideas at the rate we were bringing them."




Innovations in Allstate Insurance Company                         Page 1
                                     Allstate Insurance Company   2012

Social media offered a way to keep the community feel of the
initiative live while making it easier to organize ideas, Suizzo said.
Allstate worked with Spigit (Pleasanton, Calif.) to build the Innovation
Engine, a social platform on which ideas can be submitted and
receive feedback from across the enterprise — even at the highest
levels.

"Understanding that executives don't have time to look at hundreds
of ideas, the tool can stratify and the community can stratify and get
the top ideas," Suizzo said. "Subject matter experts contribute in
helping the ideas move up and down in the tool. There's a number of
metrics that go along with that — how may page views an idea has
gotten, for example."

Allstate discovered that the innovative power of its organization was
even greater than it had thought. An early innovation challenge
resulted in finding out that three employees, separately, came up
with the idea for a Facebook video contest around life insurance.

"We've learned as we've gone through this process that as a large
organization there area a lot of areas that are trying to tackle the
same thing," Suizzo says. "We can achieve economies of scale in
problem solving."

The insurer rewards employees whose ideas make it through the
process to implementation with a private screening of the innovation-
focused TED conference, with the goal of encouraging those
employees to continue down their path of innovative thinking.

"By getting this deluge of ideas you haven't heard before from
various sectors, you approach your job differently," Lampe says. "If
you're looking at customer service, why not see what Zappos or
Disney are doing?"




Innovations in Allstate Insurance Company                         Page 2
                                     Allstate Insurance Company   2012

But encouraging employees to put themselves out there for a
potential let down isn't easy — in fact, Suizzo says it's one of the
biggest challenges the innovation group has. Transparency about
the process is key to solving this problem, he adds.

[Read more Insurance News in www.ourinvesting.com ]

"We try to frame the conversation with the employees who have
ideas that we aren't moving forward with in terms of options," he
says. "Good ideas that are outside the scope of the exercise will
persist in this [social] space. You may have to wait until the business
unit is solving the problem this solution answers."




Innovations in Allstate Insurance Company                         Page 3

								
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