Pan-African FS firm Old Mutual uses Wazoku to increase ideas by 150%

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Pan-African financial services (FS) firm Old Mutual is using innovation scale-up Wazoku’s Enterprise Innovation Platform to drive innovation and has seen the number of ideas submitted across the company increase by 150%.

Old Mutual provides investment, savings, insurance, and banking services to 14 million people across 14 countries in Africa, employing almost 30,000 people. Its Mass and Foundation Cluster (MFC) business unit aims to provide accessible financial services to the lower income market.

After the MFC’s annual ‘Siyakhula’ innovation event had been disrupted by the pandemic, there was an urgent need to digitize this innovation program in order to continue the culture of co-creation and collaborative strategy building. Deploying Wazoku’s platform to submit, evaluate, and store ideas, meant Siyakhula became more impactful, and Old Mutual developed an always-on culture of innovation within the business.

“Old Mutual is one of Africa’s biggest FS companies and we are delighted to see it drive such remarkable results from its innovation programme,” said Simon Hill, CEO, Wazoku. “It has a highly impressive approach to innovation, and by using the Wazoku platform for ongoing innovation, it has set itself up for sustainable innovation at scale over the coming years.”

Wazoku’s platform was first implemented by Old Mutual’s personal finance division, where it impressed with its UX, security, scalability, and ease of integration into existing systems. The deployment was then scaled to the Corporate and MFC business units.

An integral part of the success of the MFC unit are its people and inclusive culture. To foster this culture, Old Mutual created the Siyakhula movement, which encourages and challenges employees to solve pressing business challenges together. Every year MFC employees come together to solve business challenges in-person through workshops and information sessions. Physical collaboration was key, but the global pandemic meant that this flagship innovation event was put on hold.

Introducing the Wazoku system into the Siyakhula innovation process was a huge success, creating an ongoing rather than annual event. Compared to the most recent in-person Siyakhula in 2019, they were able to collect 150% more ideas. Managing these ideas and picking the winning one was made easier and more efficient than ever by using the platform, as different teams could filter, evaluate, and pick out the top three ideas.

Other ideas from Siyakhula included a roundtable of ideas of what the younger generation both needs and wants from their financial services.

Wazoku’s Enterprise Innovation Platform includes idea management, open innovation, and innovation consulting services to provide all the components for any enterprise innovation programme. It also serves to store initially unused ideas for Old Mutual, ideas that would otherwise be lost. Across the business, there are a number of problems where these ideas can then be applied, meaning good ideas are never again lost or forgotten.

Following the partnership with Wazoku, the MFC has introduced an ‘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 this, as it allows users to log their ideas easily, access other people’s ideas, and eases the evaluation process.