Crowdsourcing solutions in healthcare

By Torben Nielsen
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Big Thinkers Welcome


After the holiday weekend, Premera employees arrived to a campus covered in sticky notes and inspirational signage. On one of these signs, a challenge is posed:

As we make healthcare work better, how might we provide positive surprises to our customers and delight them?

This question is the foundation of the Premera Test Kitchen's latest initiative: to crowdsource solutions in healthcare from our biggest asset—our employees.

The Test Kitchen—Premera's innovation team—is doing this through the Test Kitchen Innovation Platform—powered by Spigit—a site where our 3,200 employees can submit ideas around a challenge question.

In the last week, the phenomenal engagement across the entire company has been invigorating. Premera employees are busy cooking up their ideas around the notion of surprising and delighting our customers.

After only two days of the platform going live, our employees submitted over 80 unique ideas from all levels of the company.

Today, after one full week with the Innovation Platform, we have over 200 ideas being voted and commented on, with over 3,000 votes and 700 comments by our employees. This kind of engagement is unprecedented compared to similar crowdsourcing campaigns at other companies.

We’re blown away by the creativity of our employees but not surprised by the excitement. Premera employees demonstrate passion for our customers daily, and this campaign allows us to capture ideas from the people who are closest to our customers.

This platform is also one of the ways we are driving a culture of innovation here at Premera. It isn’t about who has the most ideas but how we can build on the ideas to make them even better at helping our customers.

And we’re already seeing some innovative ideas coming through. Ideas range from Premera pop-up shops to supplying rural Alaskan communities with newborn baby supplies, and adding a feature to Premera’s mobile app that would allow customers to track their claims status the same way they can track the progress of their pizza delivery.

We’ve got another week of employees contributing ideas, before we move into a phase of voting and commenting only. Then, all employees will get a chance to prioritize the ideas in pairs. The highest-rated ideas will move on to the Expert Review phase, where Premera leaders and subject matter experts choose which ideas will move on to the final selection.

In the meantime, our Test Kitchen team has been hosting Idea Parties where employees can put their heads together to brainstorm and build off of one another’s ideas. Hear from a couple of our employees at an Idea Party on how this challenge will make a difference for Premera's customers, as we look to implement these solutions.


Torben portraitTorben Nielsen is the vice president of Innovation & Strategic Investments at Premera. Follow him on Twitter at @TorbenSNielsen.

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