CreaLab – innovation meets sustainability

Kim Berrendorf
November 13, 2019
Developing innovative approaches to create our shared future – this objective is not unique to Baloise, it’s also the motivation behind CreaLab, a teaching format introduced by the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW). We provided our support for the one-week format, actively involving ourselves in discussions and taking on board important input from students.

Developing feasible ideas for the future

The FHNW’s CreaLab took place in Basel between 4 and 8 November 2019 as part of the innovation lecture in its Business Economics course. In groups, the students worked on questions on the subjects of innovation, sustainability and Smart Region posed to them by Baloise and other companies.

With the assistance of experts from various fields, the students were able to address questions like “How can an insurance company authentically communicate their activities in the area of sustainability?” in in-depth discussions.

Direct contact as a success factor

Halfway through, I had the opportunity to discuss the progress of the ideas with the students, to answer questions and provide input, which helped them to further develop the ideas. This direct contact with the students was hugely beneficial for both sides. On the one hand, I got lots of fresh new ideas, not hampered by thinking in corporate structures. On the other hand, I was able to demonstrate to the students how the ideas could realistically be implemented in a corporate environment.

At the end, the ideas which had been formulated were presented and further steps discussed within a loose framework. The students gave me valuable and detailed ideas; these have been incorporated into sustainability campaigns by our employees on the one hand, and used to demonstrate to our customers our commitment to sustainability on the other.

Education and sustainability – the dream team

As part of our corporate social responsibility activities, we concentrate on projects that support education in a variety of different ways, especially that of the younger generation. Be it political education in Switzerland through our “Change Switzerland” campaign in cooperation with the Association of Youth Parliaments, connecting companies with students through the platform, environmental education for our employees or providing our support to initiatives, as in the case of CreaLab.

But it shouldn’t just stop at promotion. In particular, we want to put the ideas devised by students in the CreaLab into use in specific projects and provide them with feedback on the success of the ideas and, where necessary, implement workshops with them on further issues.