Innovation

The Generali Group believes innovation is a driver for sustaining the competitive advantage of its brand over time; therefore, it has always made innovation central to all its development efforts and is committed to creating and promoting a genuine culture of innovation internally.

The Central Innovation Team (CIT) has been given an active role in carrying out this task. The CIT is a group of internal consultants dedicated to innovation and who provide tools to support a customer-centric structure, in order to make it easier to share knowledge throughout the Group, and manage a portfolio of strategic, global and long-term innovation projects, which allow the Group to constantly enhance its competitive position.

Innovation is therefore managed through the sharing of knowledge on innovative products, business models, services and processes already present on the market or in Group companies, and customer centricity, targeted at recognising expressed or latent customer needs and, through their stimuli, at the development of ideas for insurance and financial solutions that meet these needs in a new way and therefore differentiate the Group on the market. These activities are carried out prior to the feasibility analysis and before the actual implementation of the concepts created, which will first translate to a pilot project, then to operating projects that can be rolled out in the different environments in which the Generali Group operates. In fact, the approach to innovation involves an initial phase in which the most innovative and promising ideas are tested. This work method has a dual effect: on one hand, investments can be reduced considerably, limiting them to the prototype in the event the test is unsuccessful and, on the other hand, it is possible to develop and simultaneously test a balanced portfolio of low investment and quickly realisable solutions compared to the most sophisticated, innovative and medium/ long-term ideas, in this way increasing the chances of success.

The development and implementation of innovative ideas involves several Group employees. The employees are arranged into teams and follow an on-the-job training programme which sees them work on real cases to be launched on the market and not on simulations.
Their skills and expertise and, sometimes, their origin and cultural background differ: diversification represents a strength, given it contrasts different approaches and views and, at the same time, requires a structured process, which allows participants to interact with a common language and a shared way of working and allows ideas to be created and developed naturally and effectively.

The Group has used various channels over the years to disseminate and promote innovation internally: themebased meetings and focus groups support the recent networking initiatives - consisting of the setting up of a team site and a quarterly e-zine (digital magazine) devoted entirely to innovation and usable by all Group employees - in which the level of knowledge sharing and collaboration is much higher. In fact, everyone can actively contribute with articles that recount their personal experiences and detail the results obtained, hence also stimulating the creation of new ideas.

The actions implemented to reach said objective involve examining the market to identify the needs and expectations of some customer segments interested in environmental and social issues, and make reference to specific projects described in the chapter Clients, section Customer centricity initiatives of this document.

In order to make innovation an integral part of the production system of the business, some sections dedicated to innovation projects identified on the basis of criteria defined and agreed at Head Office level have recently been introduced to the business plans of the individual countries and respective companies. This has encouraged the creation and development of a large portfolio of innovative projects which, starting from 2013, will permit effective and diversified management of the risk generated by investments in this innovation.