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May 26, 2011

The Humana Story: Reframing the Organization for Innovation

by aliciaarnold
Humana headquarters in Louisville, KY

Image via Wikipedia

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend IIR’s 2011 Front End of Innovation conference. There were many great speakers and topics. Here is an excerpt from Humana.

When it comes to innovation in the health care space, Humana stands head and shoulders above the competition. Tony Tomazic, Director of Innovation, at Humana shared learning from the company’s 11 year history in the innovation business. Here are a few of Tony’s insights:

  • To innovate, you need to rethink what value means to your target audience. The core business doesn’t want to change. The core business has figured out the right products, the right services…and the company doing great. Why rock the boat? Success can be your greatest enemy.
  • To reinvent, you need to start from within. Tony calls this “genetic manipulation.” Internal teams need to think differently about the products they offer. For example, people didn’t know what the boutique coffee shop experience was before Starbucks. By starting from within, Starbucks was able to redefine the coffee experience.
  • Humana’s innovation team expects and plans for attrition. As innovative services mature, whole teams from the innovation group become part of the core business. This makes room for new teams to come on board.
  • To make billions of dollars in innovation, you can’t pursue “incremental innovation.”
  • Humana’s quest became “the quest for well-being”
  • The key unlocking Humana’s quest was to “meet consumers where they are” – the BJ Fogg Model.

Happy innovating!

This article was originally posted as Live from FEI11: Reframing the Organizational Mindset for Innovation


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