Brightidea Talks with Jeff Ferreira-Pro of VSP Global’s Innovation Laboratory

Jeff Ferreira-Pro serves as Idea Curator at leading eye and vision care provider VSP Global’s innovation lab, The SHOP. We caught up with Jeff recently at Brightidea’s annual Birds of a Feather Innovation Leaders meeting, held in June 2014 at Quicken Loans, and discussed his experiences in crafting an innovation program at VSP and how Brightidea has continued to help his organization.

In the months just prior to the 2013 Birds of a Feather meeting, Jeff’s team was just getting started deploying their Brightidea-powered innovation program, Idea Bank. At the 2013 event, the team was overwhelmed with different ideas and strategies from other leading organizations with more mature innovation programs. They took their insights home from the meeting and integrated them to their Idea Bank with Brightidea.

Over the course of the past year, through trial and error, Jeff and his team zeroed-in on a sustainable innovation strategy for VSP and re-launched their Idea Bank. They developed a top down, middle out, bottom up structure that stimulates innovation at all levels of the company and struck a chord with its employees.

Jeff’s team planned their Idea Bank to collect the deluge of great ideas that are generated in such a diverse company. VSP Global is a dynamically changing organization that houses insurance, healthcare, software, manufacturing and fashion branches. With such diversity of contributors, they needed a robust innovation program and created Idea Bank to manage all of the ideas. Jeff enables VSP to redefine the industry with their ideas, rather than let them slip through the cracks and watch someone else do it.

The SHOP has found Brightidea to be invaluable for crowdsourcing innovation across their vast network. Because of the diverse nature of VSP Global, with insurance, fashion and vision components, the Idea Bank serves as a cross-organizational tool to facilitate innovation among their intertwined businesses. Each element of their business structure has ripple effects on the others, which must be taken into account when innovating and growing.

VSP employees have an average tenure of almost ten years, creating the challenge of combating complacency and the assumption that the status quo will always remain. Aware of this tendency, Jeff is vigilant to keep abreast of changes in the industry and listens to customer needs to make sure that VSP doesn’t get surpassed by a startup that’s doing something novel. Customers often don’t know what they want until it is shown to them, which keeps Jeff and his team on their toes, always looking to the future and trying new directions in innovation.