My year of innovation
By Sara Yared, Senior Brand Manager, Bupa ANZ.
Since I was young, I have always admired great inventors and visionaries like Albert Einstein, Jim Henson and Steve Jobs. It seemed like they had access to a certain type of magic that we regular people aren’t blessed with.
I always thought of innovation as a limiting term, you’re either innovative or you are not. I knew I was creative, but innovative? But that was before joining Bupa.
My first taste of innovation at Bupa was when I was involved in the beginnings of our digital transformation in 2016 and given the incredible opportunity to learn from and work alongside the likes of pioneering design and innovation companies like Fjord.
That, however, was a rather incubated experience and, like many companies, at the time innovation was in a corner of Bupa that most people didn’t have access to or interact with. But in 2021 Bupa put a call out for people to join eco-Disruptive, a global program that enabled participants to join teams and work with start-ups and social enterprises to find new ways to address environmental issues that focus on restoring and protecting our environment. It opened up this design and innovation stratosphere to all of us at Bupa, and what was a spark in me ignited into a burning passion.
In a relatively short period of time, we all learned about agile working, start-up ecosystems and brainstormed ideas we never knew we were capable of. Best of all, we were given the time, the financial resources and learning opportunities from guest speakers from companies like Amazon to act upon these ideas through partnering with our start up, Airseed.
From that moment I was looking for how I could explore innovation and disruption at every opportunity and was lucky enough to be selected for Bupa’s B Disruptive competition, this year, where teams worked together over a matter of days to develop solutions designed to make a positive difference for our customers. It was fast, it was furious, and altogether, an amazing experience.
Beyond my day job, I am so happy to be part of an organisation that actively fosters and promotes creativity and innovation. Programs such as eco-Disruptive and B Disruptive taught me that innovation is actually a skill with a bunch of tools and processes you can learn and build on like a muscle. Anyone can be innovative if they have the techniques.
There has also been significant flow-on effects from Bupa’s promotion of innovation. With many of our people working from home, these programs have created a network of innovation and sustainability champions who have been able to connect with each other when they otherwise would never have crossed paths - either in real life or virtually.
Personally, I've been able to bring these skills back into my day-to-day work and start applying an innovation mindset to everything I do while encouraging others to do the same.
These programs have opened up a world of possibilities for so many participants and also uncovered latent talents within people that might never have been considered themselves innovative before. It turns out one of our Risk people is also one of our most innovative!
The main thing I have learned from my year of innovation is that it’s not solely about outputs or world-changing inventions, it’s about me too. The simple act of thinking outside the box has done wonders for my skill set, my mental health and my sense of what I am capable of.
Go forth and innovate everyone. The sky is the limit!