Innovation by Example. (The Creativity Suite. Episode 2.)

Interview with Gustav Gorecki , Chief Innovation Officer at Storebrand.


How do you drive innovation in a big corporate organisation? That is one of the challenges for Gustav Gorecki , Chief Innovation Officer at Storebrand.

The Storebrand Group is a leading player in the Nordic market for long-term savings, banking and insurance. They have been a part of people’s lives for more than 250 years, and are Norway’s largest private asset manager, with NOK 800 billion invested in more than 3000 companies around the world. Ranked top ten within corporate sustainability worldwide several times. One of the leading players within incumbent/fintech-partnership in the world, where they are the first to launch a new service that they have developed together with the partner.

With the financial sector in the midst of disruption from a surge in FinTech start-ups it became even more important for Storebrand to adapt a mindset of innovation and change. Gustav, who has previous experience of innovation both from the management consultant’s perspective as well as from running his own FinTech start-up wanted to push for a better understanding of the innovative mindset within Storebrand.

Gustav, who has been with Storebrand for 5 years, says he has seen big changes in how people in big, corporate organisation look at innovation. From something that was often ignored and perhaps even frowned upon to something that people now understand is both important and urgent.

“Many people in big, successful companies are still blinded by the Status Quo. They fail to see the need to change because things have been going so well for the organisation,” he told me.

The trick, Gustav shared with me, is to get people to understand that what got the company to where it is was most likely innovation. As the saying goes: “What got us here will not get us there” but it also often true that: “the mindset that got us here, is the mindset we need to get us there.” People need to be reminded of the importance of that innovative mindset that got the company to where it is.

But Gustav also realised that just “talking about innovation and about having an agile mindset” will not be enough. Gustav and his team introduced “Storebrand Sandbox” the summer internship project run according to the principles of lean-start-up. In just six weeks the students in the program where able to show some amazing product developments. At the end of the program, when they introduced the result to the people within the organisation, they got a standing ovation.

“Instead of showing that we (in Storebrand) are sometimes slow, we instead could show how fast an organisation can move.”, said Gustav. The students way of working became a showcase for how Storebrand as a whole could work.

And that is “Innovation by example” – showing the power of agile and fast development to encourage the rest of the organisation to adapt a similar mindset.

What innovation project could you start as a role model for the rest of the organisation in order to “innovate by example”?




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