The fourth edition of the Ageas Innovation Hackathon will take place at Nova SBE on 13 and 14 April. Nuno Horta, Group Innovation Manager at Ageas, explains to us why the insurer continues to value investment in innovation and working alongside students.

What is the Ageas Innovation Hackathon?

The Ageas Innovation Hackathon is a 24-hour challenge where we challenge students to try and bring new solutions to problems that we haven't experienced or current issues. We take that approach because, when you're in an established company, it's very easy to get stuck in your own ideas and quite biased. And it's always good to have students, a younger generation, especially extremely competent young people, like the students at Nova SBE, to combine strategic excellence with the creativity of their age. It's a way for us to challenge ourselves, for them to challenge us, and for us to stay relevant.

Beyond this, if we want to design products for the consumers of the future, there is nothing better than having the consumers themselves design them.

Why is it important for the Ageas Portugal group to invest in this area of innovation and work side by side with young students?

These are two different issues. It is always important to invest in innovation. The Ageas Portugal group does not just have an innovation team, but tries to innovate in all core businesses. We have to be constantly renewing ourselves, because the insurance market is extremely competitive. Currently, without even considering the possible entry of companies like the GAFA companies, such as Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook, which may happen, I think it is always important to be able to access new business approaches which excel in innovation per se or efficiency. It is always important to pass on these gains, whether in terms of savings or in terms of experience, to customers. Innovation exists, without a doubt, from A to Z in the company's value chain.

As for the students, it is always interesting to have this new perspective here, of a generation that is a challenger, and we also have the capacity to be challenged.

This is already the 4th edition of the programme. What is the balance of the previous editions?

Extremely positive. All of them, since the first one. It's an evolving process, and this is where we also excel in our partnership with Nova, because with each edition we come up with ideas to improve, to make the Ageas Innovation Hackathon more complete. This challenge started as just a submission of ideas and today we are already creating start-ups and products with the students. This also arises from the desire to want to evolve with our partner - Nova SBE - and create an increasingly better final product.

What are the prizes for the winning teams?

Money is obviously an important thing [winning teams receive a ÔéČ2,500 prize], but above all we give students the chance to co-create a start-up from scratch with Ageas. This is an experience that I find extremely rewarding and that students can take away from here, not only to enrich their curriculum, but also for their personal life.

Why should students participate in this programme? What would you say to a student to get them interested in this challenge?

Students should take part in this programme for personal experience - I think it's a fun programme. It brings an extremely positive trade-off: it's 24 hours you lose, but you gain an experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life. On top of that, the students get the opportunity to interact with company directors, frontline directors, company professionals and they get a sense of what it's like to work in an insurance company, and at Ageas specifically, which is interesting because it's a little bit bolder than a traditional insurance company. Finally, if they win, they have the chance to participate in the process of creating a product from Scratch.

Finally, I think students should join because it is always a unique experience and something people talk about for a long time. This way, they can come to participate in a project that is really unique for their career and their academic training.

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Find out more about the Ageas Innovation Hackathon and register here: https://bit.ly/3iTmzp9.

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Do you know our
Nova Innovation Ecosystem?
Published in 
1/4/2022
 in the area of 
Innovation & Change

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