Nov 16, 2018 · 4 min read

A.K.A. How to spread innovation inside corporates through an informal lunchtime event.

Where are you going for lunch?

Today I stay in the office, I’m going to eat innovation.

The idea to activate an informal-lunch-time event, aimed at addressing innovation topics and at inspiring employees, has raised of course during a lunch break meeting.

Particularly it happened in April 2017, around that table there were people from TOP-IX and from Reale Group — an insurance company with almost 2 hundred years of history, which has seen among its Members/Policyholders personalities such as Gabriele D’Annunzio and Guglielmo Marconi. “Being innovative” for them, in a super-competitive Fintech World, is something more than a simple “Need”.

The “brief” was super-straightforward: to bring innovation stories inside a big heavy-structured company, in order to inspire employees, to keep them updated with the most recent technology achievements and also, to push the generation of new ideas to improve company’s services and process. Finally, the “format” was supposed to be a periodic appointment and it had to be organized during the lunch break time window.

The goals are to inspire employees, to keep them updated with the most recent technology achievements and also, to push the generation of new ideas to improve company’s services and process.

Easy to explain… not so easy to implement. At the end “lunch time” is a kind of holy moment where employees can have a break from work routine, recharge their batteries or simply breathe some fresh air or manage some personal issues.

Key features to have success are the following:

  • A quick and compact format (20 minutes talk)
  • A nice venue
  • Being open to ALL employees
  • A stand-up configuration
  • Space for interaction
  • Inspiring stories and great speakers

Here at TOP-IX we took up the challenge. After a couple of months we were able to deliver the first “Innovation Bites” episode. Let’s say that we (but also the Reale Group people in charge of the projects) adopted a Lean Approach, from the idea to customer validation in the fastest way possible, taking some risks.

Part of the design work was to give a name and a visual identity to the format. “Giving a bite” to innovation means to taste it, as you can taste a new dish… If you like it, it is up to you to find how, where, when to deep and to study it.

Innovation Bites number 1 (the prototype, or if you prefer a Minimum Viable Product) was held in May 2017: then 6 new episodes followed. Great participation, great speakers and great feedbacks from participants.

Innovation Bites #1 — Sander van der Blonk, Partner at Rockstart.

Furthermore, the format evolved and several changes were made:

  • Live streaming was introduced, so that people from different offices (or from other headquarters) could see it.
  • A web tool to make questions and to manage online polling was introduced to facilitate interaction and to stimulate the interest before and during the event.
  • A sound logo was also introduced.

At the same time some initial ideas were modified:

  • A multi-camera video recording has been replaced by a dynamic mono-camera
  • The initial plan to bring “the format” over different cities is, right now, un unfulfilled project.

In the end, if on-field validation means to measure the people participation, the result has been awesome. The internal registration web platform used to track attendance goes every time “sold-out” in a few hours after the event announce and about 100 people join each event (plus other 150–200, on average, that watch the video streaming).

Innovation Bites #6 — Davide Gomba, Managing Director at Officine Innesto.

People in the audience ask questions and, if they are not physically at the event use the streaming channel and the mobile app to interact with the speaker.

Are we close to the finishing line? Not at all.

Spreading Innovation is just the first step for companies that want to keep the pace with the current technological “tsunami”, then you need to push employees to be innovative and to be intrapreneurs. We will probably explore these steps in the next Innovation Bites “software releases”.

Meanwhile, a big “thank you” goes to Reale Group Team (particularly the Reale Mutua Academy unit) for the successful collaboration.

Innovation Bites 2017–2018 “Best of” video.


Written by

Design Engineer in TOP-IX. Father of one. President at PLUG Association. Author of CREARE VALORE CON I BIG DATA. Runner in the free time.



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