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How The World’s Largest Insurance Company Is Transforming Itself For The 21st Century

“We needed a way to spark innovation rather than celebrating something that already existed.”

Laurent Benichou

Director of Innovation & Foresight


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The Challenge

With over 103 million customers in 59 countries, AXA is a worldwide leader in financial protection strategies and wealth management with the mission to help customers live their lives with more peace of mind.

Prior to AXA’s innovation program ‘Start-in’, using Brightidea, AXA had run a previous innovation program focused more on reusing and sharing existing ideas from other countries. This method never gained momentum and Laurent Benichou, Director of Innovation & Foresight, realized AXA needed to be more agile to get employees engaged in innovation.

“We needed a way to spark innovation rather than celebrating something that already existed,” Benichou says.

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“The Brightidea platform has everything I need to make innovation initiatives successful. The front-end for users is great. The front-end for evaluators, with the Scorecarding tools, is excellent and essential to scale the contest and make it a success.”

The Solution

AXA’s executive team met and determined that they needed a rich and flexible collaborative innovation platform from a company with strong credentials, working with multinational corporations. They ultimately chose Brightidea’s innovative software and implemented their new innovation program, “Start-in”.

Using the Brightidea platform, Benichou’s team runs two innovation initiatives per year. Idea gathering, voting and commenting phases run for five weeks, followed by a four-month, highly structured process for selecting the best ideas. In the most recent innovation initiative, the top 60 ideas out of 815 were selected to move forward.

Ultimately, AXA country CEOs choose the winners and invite them to Paris to prototype their ideas and present back to them after one week. In the end, four winning prototypes are selected per group.

“When you put a project in the hands of Brightidea, you know what it takes to make it successful. Brightidea helps make the program a success. Leverage their Professional Services – it is a great investment.”

The Results

In 2014, innovation initiatives engaged 11,000 participants with a focus on Big Data and Mobile. The most successful prototype winner was ‘ARE YOU OK?’, a Mobile app that monitors elderly people via their phone and triggers an alert when there’s no movement detected.

In 2015, innovation initiatives doubled participation to 22,000 and engaged 45 countries. The focus was on reinventing the customer experience and supporting the self-employed/micro-companies. These challenges sparked the creation of AXA Drones and Assistandroïd, an AXA robot for dependent people.

Starting this year, the team will begin using external accelerators regularly to further develop and bring the prototypes to market within 1 year of idea creation.