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STRAIGHTFORWARD SOLUTIONS CAN ONLY BE CREATED IN A STRAIGHTFORWARD ENVIRONMENT

As CEO, Andreas Krümmel puts the focus firmly on innovation. This means fostering an open, creative work environment and empowering employees to take the initiative.

ANDI, YOU’VE BEEN CEO OF GENERALI SWITZERLAND SINCE 2016. WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU SET IN MOTION DURING THAT TIME?

Right from the start, my focus has been on innovation. And by that I don’t just mean digitalisation – innovation within a company goes far beyond digital transformation alone. When I became CEO, all of the employees here were still using the formal ‘Sie’ form when addressing one another. But it was clear to me that this type of culture creates barriers between people and prevents creative thinking. That’s why one of my first actions as CEO was to introduce the more personal ‘Du’ form. Over and above that, I made it my goal to get the company to embrace digitalisation. Design thinking sprints in the Innovation Garage are just one of many measures that have already been introduced or are in the process of being implemented.

 

 

IN OTHER WORDS, GENERALI SWITZERLAND IS IN THE MIDDLE OF A TRANSFORMATION PHASE. DOES THAT MAKE THE COMPANY PARTICULARLY INTERESTING FOR EMPLOYEES?

At Generali, everyone has the chance to make a proactive contribution and to realise ideas by taking charge of projects. If you want to see your actions have an impact on day-to-day working life, then you've come to the right place. In addition, we promote smart working models such as hot-desking and home office, provide our staff with an extensive range of continuing professional development opportunities, and give them six weeks’ annual leave per year.

 

 

DEVELOPING NEW PRODUCTS AND SERVICES IS IMPORTANT FOR GENERALI SWITZERLAND. HOW DO YOU DRIVE INNOVATION?

Our Innovation Garage opened in 2018. We wanted to establish a completely different set-up, because we can onlycreate straightforward solutions for our customers in a straightforward environment. It has been a complete success. Not only thanks to the interesting projects we’ve launched together with the start-ups, but because we use the site for lots of other things too. For example, we held our management development programme in the Innovation Garage – and we noticed that the open, creative environment encourages our managers to also behave in a very open and creative manner. At present, the Garage is home to our very own start-up LINGS and is used as an office by our Strategy and Innovation team. They work closely with the external start-ups and build a bridge to the corporate world.

 

 

WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU IN TERMS OF LEADERSHIP?

Managers have to be able to translate strategic goals into inspiring visions for their teams. It’s essential for them to create a workplace environment in which everyone can apply their strengths to best effect. In addition, we focus on the topic of diversity and inclusion. Like any company, we are a mirror of society: we see diversity as an opportunity and believe in treating one another with respect.