Unveiling INside: Grupo Ageas Portugal’s path to innovation excellence

08/07/2024 Interview
profile picture of Nuno Horta

Nuno Horta

Grupo Ageas Portugal

Innovation Manager

Grupo Ageas Portugal won bronze in the Workforce Transformation category at the Qorus Innovation in Insurance Awards 2024. Having already won an award a few months earlier at the European level, Grupo Ageas Portugal confirms its status as a leading innovator in the insurance sector. Nuno Horta, Innovation Head at Grupo Ageas Portugal, tells Qorus’ Boris Plantier about this new victory and their new winning project, INside (read the full case study).

Can you introduce yourself and tell us more about your role at Grupo Ageas Portugal?

I’m Nuno Horta, Innovation Head at Grupo Ageas Portugal. The Innovation area is a transversal unit that works in collaboration with all internal units at Ageas and with external partners in order to tackle opportunities and support the creation of new or improved products, services, processes and experiences.

Our area carries several activities and initiatives, including the mapping and deep dive on market trends and client needs, the link with core business areas through innovation ambassadors (the Innov8tors), the creation and validation of innovative ideas (via our internal innovation program with employees, INside, and our hackathons with universities), the testing of innovative technologies and business models (in our open innovation program with startups, INsure), and the development of scale-up projects (both from a business perspective via business cases and scale-up planning and from a testing perspective through prototypes, pilots and minimum viable products).

What made you most proud of the INside project? What was your greatest achievement in making it happen?

The elements that made us prouder of INside were the warm reception of Ageas employees, the high satisfaction levels manifested by the participants and the amazing evolution of the participant ideas, leading to two successful pilots.

Although INside has a strong component of idea development and we have seen the impact of such ideas and projects, we are proud to say that the Program has also been a source of networking opportunities and a key enabler for us to foster an innovation mindset and to train Grupo Ageas Portugal’s employees in innovation methodologies.

In the first two editions of INside, more than 120 employees participated in the program, with more than 80 ideas. Overall, INside delivered more than 300 hours of training in innovation and entrepreneurship.

What’s the most important thing you would tell someone considering embarking on a similar project?

The main advice I would give to a participant starting the INside Program would be to go with an open mind, to enjoy it and have fun. In addition, there are some tips that may be important:  understand the problem you are solving before moving forward with a proposed solution, work on networking and internal alignment with the company as sources of information and support, be optimistic and resilient and understand that ideas evolve throughout the Program, and be dynamic and clear when presenting ideas, seeking to promote the project and celebrate small discoveries and victories. All in all, be bold to speak up and we will help your idea come to life.

What's coming next for the INside project?

The third edition of INside is already live! We are now reaching the end of the application period and we are getting ourselves ready for a new edition. Like every edition, we came up with a new image, a new concept and challenges to help the participants. Maintaining the concept of internal innovation, we broadened the participation pool and challenged our Exclusive Agents to bring their ideas and work together with rest of the organization. The first phase of this new edition will start in September and will have its conclusion in April. As is customary, we will close the third edition with a broadcasted event where the finalists present their projects to members of the Executive Committee and the whole company can discover the winner of the edition.

What would you say to companies that might consider entering the 2025 Insurance Innovation Awards?

The 2025 Insurance Innovation Awards are the perfect opportunity to showcase the innovation initiatives each company is making and to observe and get in touch with the leading insurance groups around the world, see what is being done out there and, who knows, create new partnerships and continue to make innovation that contributes to the sustainable growth of organizations.

What does this award mean to you and your innovation team?

Receiving the third place in Workforce Transformation was an important recognition of the work we have been doing with this program. INside is not only about having a program for idea development and implementation, but also and essentially about fostering an innovation culture, striving to create networking and learning opportunities for all the participants. Even more, it is a place where employees can have the spotlight and show their work and potential. This award recognizes the value of the program as a whole, and we are very grateful for this distinction.

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