The creation of the Innovation network was launched in 2015 with the appointment of Innovation Specialists. These colleagues, identified in each Regional Department, have the task of spreading innovative initiatives and services, facilitating the meeting of supply and demand for technology solutions, and developing local partnerships, acting as “ambassadors” for the Innovation Centre.
The main focus of the Specialists in 2015 was the promotion of the Tech Marketplace platform and the implementation of innovation supply and demand contracts by business customers and start-ups. All in all, 3,000 managers were involved, around 1,500 businesses and 1,700 start-ups were met across the country, and over 5,000 Tech Marketplace contracts were signed. Around 60 start-up-business matches were made, on the platform and offline.
In their meetings and interaction with the main protagonists of the local research and innovation ecosystem, in 2015 the Innovation Specialists contributed to the conclusion of 80 agreements with universities, incubators, accelerators and research centres.
An initiative involving all Intesa Sanpaolo colleagues was launched in 2015 for the development of the Created in Italia portal, known as “Innovation Express”.
Between October and November Group employees were able to propose - via a dedicated portal - quality producers in the food sector and interesting tourism experiences across Italy, which were then voted on by the employees (over 34,000 votes cast). The best teams, accompanied by the entrepreneurs whose product or service they illustrated, presented their ideas to a jury of experts who selected 4 finalists. To finish, the finalist teams prepared multimedia content (videos, web pages, banners etc.) to present their proposals in their best possible light on Created in Italia.
All in all, thanks to the research and promotion activities carried out by over 6,000 participating employees, around 1,600 businesses that can contribute to the further development of the portal were identified.
A series of formats for spreading and promoting the culture of innovation to stakeholders were designed and developed at the Innovation Centre:
- Innovation Coffee: events reserved for internal guests in which issues related to innovation are discussed. Eight events were held in 2015, dealing with issues such as Digital payments, the Sharing economy and Fashion tech;
- Innovation Talk: monthly meetings in which prestigious international guests from the world of innovation (including the country managers of Twitter and Facebook) present their vision of the evolution of the market and business models. Five talks were organised in 2015 with the presence of hundreds of colleagues from various departments of the Bank;
- Events at branches with the New Layout: entrepreneurs, start-ups and figures from the innovation ecosystem, such as universities and accelerators, discuss the trends and the most interesting innovative solutions already available on the market and used by the Bank’s customers.
The events organised at the Innovation Centre included the Fintech Innovation Lab involving 7 start-ups which presented numerous technology projects applied to finance to the audience and the top managers of the Group's Business Units.
Another tool for spreading innovation is the Innovation Intranet, further developed in 2015 in terms of both audience and content.
Partnership for innovation
Key to the development of innovation is the work carried out in partnership with entities active in this area. In 2015 numerous collaborations were launched, including: the agreement with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for the Group’s admission into the “Circular Economy 100”, a programme that seeks to support organisations in the development of opportunities according to the new business model of the circular economy (for more details see “Natural Capital”); new agreements with Startupbootcamp Fintech Singapore and Startupbootcamp Insurance London, start-up accelerators specialising in the Asian fintech and insurance market; “Out of the Box Lab”, a work group dedicated to developing solutions aimed at guaranteeing the competitiveness of the Intesa Sanpaolo Group in the face of its new digital competitors, as part of a partnership with the University of Turin.