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#CardifCall4Ideas16, a customer-oriented workshop

The Re-boot was the occasion for an appraisal of the open innovation project launched three years ago by the insurance company and to explore the issue of 2016: the customer experience. «The increase of the proposals tells us we are on the high road», says the CEO Isabella Fumagalli

16 Sep 2016

Open innovation, insurance carriers, startup, customer experience: these are the issues addressed during the Re-Boot workshop of BNP Paribas Cardif held yesterday in Milan at Spazio Edit that served as ground for debate regarding the revitalization of the Open-F@b Call4Ideas 2016, open innovation initiative of BNP Paribas Cardif in partnership with InsuranceUp and Polihub, open since last July and expiring the next October 17.

Yesterday’s meeting, September 13, led by the Director of EconomyUp and InsuranceUp Giovanni Iozzia, was held ahead a large audience, by the CEO of  BNP Paribas Cardif, Isabella Fumagalli, who three years after the launch of the first call4ideas, take stock of the path undertaken, confirming the success of open innovation plan chosen.

“The rise of the proposals we receive year after year tells us that we are on the high road. We must move away from the former model of insurance carriers, always too self-concerned. We pretend to know what people need, but it is not so – she said – We realized it three years ago: we couldn’t better understand our customers and their needs, alone. This has given rise to the need to open innovation, through various projects by the Group, including at the international level; thus it was born our call4ideas, to receive ideas and suggestions from the outside of the company: this call is functional to identify future services and products, to investigate an insurance offer in the context of some mega-trends such as the explosion of the Internet of Things and the growing importance of Millennials. After two years, we have already collected more than a hundred projects and we started to cooperate with the startup, over a dozen initiatives, in particular in the field of family protection and home. This year we have chose the topic of the customer experience as we can’t undervalue the new trends in habits and consumption of digital customers which will necessarily lead to have a different relation with the end customer.”

Call4ideas (along with hackathon, observers, lab, M&A, startup scouting) is one of open innovation methods used today by many large companies, often unsure in addressing the digital transformation and innovation, to bring into the organization new products, new solutions, ideas, projects, innovative culture and creativity, tapping into sources from outside the same company.

The subject has been addressed by Andrea Rangone, CEO of Digital360 Group, proving, through the data, why culture of digital open innovation, today is crucial and how it is spreading. A not easy nor painless process for the company, stressed Rangone. “When a company decides to deal with the digital transformation and innovation must above all try to do it by involving the whole business organization, acting on the company culture, making sure that the process will be shared. The fact that these processes of renewal are also painful, rose from setbacks and failures that must be overcome, cannot and must not be kept silent. And this is possible only through a strong and shared company culture”.

The discussion panel that followed immediately after the first two interventions have specifically addressed the issues of the relationship between big companies and startups, with a focus on the evolution of the customer experience.

Thibaut Schlaeppi, Head of Startup relations & Internet-of-Things at BNP Paribas Cardif, emphasized that the Group, which chose him to lead the international “startup” operations, is very confident and invests a lot in value that startups can bring, imperative to accelerate the process of innovation in complex organizations such as insurance carriers. Schlaeppi also reported how Europe (although the gap with the US is wide), is gaining grounds: investment in startups in Europe, are increasing, while in the United States are diminishing. “Events such as this year’s Viva Technology in Paris,” he recalled, “have shown that even the ecosystem as a whole is getting stronger”.

Also Andrea di Camillo, P101, focused on growth (step by step) of the Italian startup ecosystem and on the role of companies and Venture Capital investors, pointing out that “the great value of Silicon Valley is the culture of failure. The real value is not represented by Google, but by the thousands of small startup that have a go and create the conditions for a company like Google”.

Claudia Pingue, COO of Polihub has focused on the role of the incubator in the relationship between companies and startups, two sectors speaking different languages. “The value resulting from the ratio between startups and companies, is already confirmed. It’s a win-win relationship, but it is not easy since the methods of reasoning are different, especially in governance, decision-making processes: the startup is very informal and fast, the company is more structured and therefore slower. The incubator’s role is also to align these two entities to make them work well together”

What is the actual value of the customer experience, for a big company and then for an insurance carrier? Which elements should be kept in mind when a startup wants to cooperate in this area, with an organization like BNP Paribas Cardif (this is the topic of the Call4ideas 2016). Two expert of customer experience have given some responses: Leda Riva, Head of customer Strategies Italy, Kantar TNS; and Laura Licari, Creative Director, Frog design.

The first explained the 4 Pillar of customer experience (the product must work; there must be differentiation; it must produce a feeling; uniformity or consistency of service are needed), and the importance for financial companies to create a customer journey that does not represent “silos” organizational structures. «It will be ever more necessary to increase digital touchpoints, and then the interaction with the customer compared to those traditionally known and used».

The issue of touchpoint in the design of the customer experience in the insurance sector has been taken over by the Creative Director at Frog, Laura Licari who reaffirmed: Digital creates new opportunities for interaction that can solve the negative perception of insurance carriers, by customer. Strategic design has just this function: understand the needs of customers to create an integrated service system. “Digital is a sort of processing engine not so much from the IT point of view, but rather from the customer’s one”, she said.

After these considerations on strategies of custormer experience, is the time of presentation of the Open-F@b Call4Ideas 2016, analyzed by Simone Macelloni, Marketing R&D of BNP Paribas Cardif, who wanted to emphasize how the scouting activities produced effects within the organization. “We have learned a lot over these three years of experience with call4ideas – he said – we have learned to interact differently, even at home”.  Such an experience has been important, even for those who participated in the call, as confirmed by the testimonies of the two previous editions winners, who are working with the management of Cardif to develop new products and services to be included in the company’s offering: Marco Gubbiotti, Sales Manager at Sinapsi (StartUp winner of the 2014 edition) and Gorjan Agacevic, CTO at Amodo (StartUp winner of the 2015 edition).

Macelloni reminded that this year the call is open throughout Europe. The choice of the topic, the customer experience, stems from the desire “to create simple innovation to be closer to our customers, to learn to «see» through the eyes of consumers”. What are the expectations of Cardif? Ideas, projects, apps, software capable of improving the customer experience contextualized for B2B insurance industry, particular of BNP Paribas Cardif. “The jury this year will involve, in addition to the internal management of the company, industry experts and three observers: Massimo Sideri, innovation editor of Corriere della Sera; Tommaso Di Vico, student-journalist for the newspaper of Bocconi University; Luca Viscardi, blogger, radio host and expert on technology (aka MisterGadget)”.

Registrations to Call4Ideas Open-F@b2016 are open until October 17, 2016. Simply fill out the online form to join the pan-European contest that will reward the three most innovative ideas on the topic of customer experience in the insurance industry. The three winners, with the support of managers and internal R&D of the Company, will be able to produce a prototype and market it in Italy or abroad.

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