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Ageas Insure, design and implementation of the Open Innovation Program

Ventures, products, and services


Grupo Ageas Portugal



Design an innovation program that has a tangible impact on the company’s business through collaboration with international startups.


A 12-month open innovation program involving business units to address key innovation issues and work on concrete POCs with international startups.


We collected over 200 applications from startups from 35 countries and carried out a Proof of Concept with 5. Among them, the company is continuing a collaboration with a digital mental health startup. In the process, we involved more than 40 people from the company to evaluate and help select the startups.

We designed an innovation program allowing Grupo Ageas Portugal to address long and medium-term innovation challenges through collaboration with startups. The program aimed to involve people from the company from the early stages to identify the most relevant challenges. These challenges represented the starting point for defining the scope of the program.

Brief look at what’s ahead for the industry

We interviewed C-level executives of the company to understand their point of view on the future of insurance. The insights from the interviews, combined with a trends research, helped define the relevant challenges. These were enriched and validated by a broad group of Grupo Ageas Portugal team members in a two-day workshop. Finally, H-FARM Innovation and the Ageas Innovation team worked together to formulate the three challenges at the core of the Business Accelerator.

Three contemporary challenges

The focus area of the call for startups was related to Ageas’ core business and its future. The first challenge was “Tech for Insurance,” meaning startups that could help Ageas to test new technologies and ways to optimize its core business. The second was “Future of Healthcare”: startups working to improve patients’ healthcare. Finally, we looked at technologies and services that could boost the well-being and welfare of each individual in the pursuit of happiness.


Call for Startups

MAIZE designed a communication campaign to promote the call for startups in interesting markets. In parallel, we leveraged our network and databases to actively reach out to potentially interesting startups in the target area of the challenges. These activities resulted in more than 200 applications from companies in 35 countries.

A selection process that involved key stakeholders in the company

Selecting startups for POCs is the most important phase of any Open Innovation program. After an initial internal selection, we worked closely with Ageas’ innovation team to engage with key professionals and present them with a selection of startups. This feedback helped the core team to identify a short list of potential companies that pitched their proposal for collaboration to the Executive Committee. Finally, we identified 5 international startups that participated in the Business Accelerator and signed a contract for the test.

Test startups’ solutions with Proof of Concepts

We designed a collaboration path with the startups and people from Ageas’ business units to test a collaboration rather than a technology. Maize helped to identify the scope of the test and the assumptions to be verified and to design a realistic roadmap that would allow the startups to demonstrate the benefits, competitive advantages, and highlights of their solution.

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The decision paper

Once all the PoCs were completed, MAIZE worked with the Ageas’ innovation team on a document (called the “Decision Paper”) with suggestions on whether and how to continue the collaboration with the startups.

Innovation excerpt

For Grupo Ageas Portugal, the program represented the beginning of a structured path toward Open Innovation. We combined our expertise in working with startups and finding the formula for a collaborative approach with companies with Ageas’s willingness to involve the business and test concrete solutions. The program is now in its second year.


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