Humana manages the end-to-end crowdsourcing cycle of innovation leading to strategic outcomes via the Brightidea platform

Rationale / Objectives

Humana’s Insights Integration team initially started with a wiki for collaboration and crowdsourcing. Low rates of adoption led to the development of a custom site for idea gathering and management. It lacked core innovation capabilities and was slow and tedious to manage high volumes of ideas through the vetting process. The organization required an idea management platform to efficiently manage the end-to-end crowdsourcing cycle and get to decisions as quickly as possible.

Project/Program Description & Major Achievements

In 2011 Humana selected Brightidea as the platform for its branded idea management program called 1DEA. (Note that Colleaga has partnered with BrightIdea, Inc. to deliver an enhanced, secure experience to our Enterprise customers). At the end of 2012 and into early 2013 Humana researched open innovation best practice models and applied learnings to current process gaps. This has allowed its associates to break through functional business silos to solve problems and network. The powerful crowdsourcing capabilities allow associates to collaborate, co-create and build upon ideas across competencies to solve problems. The Brightidea platform then allows the team to filter and vet ideas with subject matter experts, measure them against one another, and move them through the idea pipeline to actionable outcomes. Humana aggressively beta tests new functionality as it’s developed by Brightidea. The team applies a continuous improvement approach to its model, utilizing new functionality for each challenge executed to enhance and improve the process. Humana’s 1DEA program has been hugely successful, with over 20,000 registered users and 4,200 ideas created from 20 challenges since its program’s inception. Humana realized $6.2 million in cost savings from a single innovation challenge campaign.

Lessons Learned

  • The key to successful idea challenges is to build mutually beneficial partnerships that are equally invested.
  • Continuous experimentation to try new Brightidea functionality and processes – Teams, voting phases, coin voting.
  • Constantly sell and market the brand of 1DEA.
  • Regular review and enhancement of process and best practices.
  • Listen to the customer – Survey the users to enhance the experience of crowdsourcing.

People / Organizations Involved

Further Description

Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) is a leading health care company that offers a wide range of insurance products and health and wellness services that incorporate an integrated approach to lifelong well-being. The company has a 50+ year history of innovation. While innovation has always been core to Humana, the advent of healthcare reform has accelerated the need to drive more innovation faster, particularly around healthcare cost savings. The program is managed by 6 FTE resources who utilize a consultative approach and influential connections with other shared services teams, such as Communications, Analytics, PMO, etc. to solve business challenges. 

Major Achievements

Using Brightidea and the shared-services approach Humana has been able to create a repeatable crowdsourcing process that scales across its 35,000 employees. Humana’s 1DEA program has been hugely successful, with over 20,000 registered users and 4,200 ideas created from 20 challenges since its program’s inception. Challenges aligned to strategic opportunities continue to drive a very engaged audience. Over the last 18 months, 56% of Humana has logged in as a registered user. Of those, 94% have received rewards (points) for idea participation. And of those, 34% have come back to participate in two or more challenges. The table below highlights some example outcomes from 2 challenges:

Metric Result Additional Detail
Participation rate 64% for challenge objective to reduce cycle time for benefits team processes
73% for challenge objective to increase efficiency & effectiveness & improve quality within IT
Idea generation 43 ideas for benefits team challenge
158 ideas for IT challenge
Idea votes 273 votes for benefits team challenge
2900 votes for IT challenge
Idea comments 171 comments for benefits team challenge
638 comments for IT challenge

Added benefits of these challenges included gaining client advocates and repeat business in addition to millions of dollars in cost saving opportunities relating to the IT challenge.