“That organisations, regardless of their field, must keep innovating is now well-established fact. The Covid -19 pandemic certainly unveiled even more how important innovation is for businesses to survive and thrive even in the direst circumstances,’ said Old Mutual Group CEO, Sam Matsekete. Trends in the development and use of technology are accelerating change more than could have been imagined before. Yet they are only a part of the demand and need for innovation as a way of life.
Old Mutual, Zimbabwe’s leading integrated financial services provider, believes that innovation begins with a mindset that is cultivated and enabled by individuals. The organisation recently held their internal Innovation Awards- the climax of a 6-month innovation competition for internal team members.
This saw all colleagues from across its business units and operating centres across the country being invited to bring forward their creative ideas. The range of initiatives to be considered was broad. Through an iterative and competitive process, the contestants were screened down to the five leading entries. The top five ideas were taken to the next stages to be prototyped. ‘This contest was really exciting for us. We learnt a lot. It is amazing how much more we could achieve when people with similar ideas collaborated to produce the final prototype,’ said one of the contestants that made it to the top five.
The top five initiatives were subjected to further scrutiny by a panel of judges drawn from different areas of the business. They were also exhibited to the generality of staff in a process to come up with the top three final winners. This internal contest on innovation was in a way, a version of what Old Mutual has been promoting in its social investment and responsible business initiatives in the community. The group remains steadfast in its quest to nurture the culture of innovation among its employees and the awards provided a platform to recognise and reward innovation internally. The group CEO Sam Matsekete stated that, “Old Mutual is committed to doing the best it can to motivate more innovators to enable them to solve problems for our valuable customers and the communities we serve”.
Old Mutual believes that innovations can come from everywhere and from everyone. There is no innovation that is too small to make an impact. This belief underpins their mantra: Do Great Things Every Day. Every day is a new opportunity to drive the wheel of innovation forward, and to take the small steps that lead to the biggest wins. The business has launched exciting innovations over the past year, in spite of the challenging and extraordinary circumstances facing businesses. These include enhancing its digital channels and product offering for the benefit of customers. Within the organisation more processes got automated, and information systems continued to be upgraded to support growth targeted across its business units. The official launch of the Eight2Five innovation hub, which is now open to the public was to try, in a way, to inspire the same mindset of innovation amongst the young and upcoming businesses.
Innovation comes down to individuals with a driven mindset and a willingness to use their creativity. The group believes that the transformation of the business will continue not only- be because of external demands, but also because the internal capacity amongst its teams continues to embrace innovation as one of its values. By motivating more innovators, Old Mutual is enabling people to create solutions for customers and within communities.