FHNW students and Baloise tinker together on sustainable business ideas

Nadia Baumberger & Laura Seiler
April 13, 2022
During two full-day workshops, students from the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland put their creativity and imagination to work for Baloise and tinkered with the development of sustainable business ideas. The workshops took place as part of the pilot project "TT-BMI - Think Tank Business Model Innovation". This initiative is designed to enable companies and students to jointly design and innovate sustainability-oriented business models.
Sustainable business model

First pilot project

As part of the project "TT-BMI - Think Tank-Business Model Innovation", Baloise as host, together with the initiators of TT-BMI, held pilot workshops over two days with students from the Bachelor's degree program "International Entrepreneurship" at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland. TT-BMI aims to bring together students from different faculties and universities in the Upper Rhine region to design sustainability-oriented business models together with SMEs - now for the first time as a pilot project in cooperation with Baloise. 

Starting signal at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland

On December 2, 2021, the first workshop was held at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland in Brugg. "Understand the problem": The students were given the task of thinking about how Baloise could adapt or expand its current business models - insurance, banking, asset management - taking into account the changing requirements for renewable energies. In addition, they were asked to consider whether Baloise could build a new business model - for example, in financial services, housing, mobility, or a completely new area - to address changing customer needs related to renewable energy. 

Continuation at Baloise headquarters

The second workshop took place under the motto "Solution Generation" on March 10, 2022 at the Baloise headquarters in Basel. The goal was to continue the joint learning journey and to design innovative as well as sustainable business models for Baloise. The students had to develop concrete ideas, which they finally transformed into a value proposition and a sustainable business model, which was presented to representatives of the Baloise innovation team at the end of the day. 

Post-its of TT-BMI

What does Baloise actually have to do with sustainability?

Two different ideas

In two groups, the students dealt with various ideas right from the start, whereby one group directly asked itself to what extent Baloise can be connected with the topic of sustainability at all. The group focused on raising people's awareness of sustainability in connection with Baloise, with the goal of being able to offer customers an all-in-one package. This included building closer partnerships with Baloise customers and energy suppliers and offering consulting services to help customers find sustainable energy options. In addition, financial assistance or insurance services should be offered to those who want to invest in green energy

The second group developed an idea that envisions Baloise as a platform provider for building an ecosystem that connects families with other local actors in the transition to renewable energy. This will result in new insurance products and service offerings that will enable joint financing, liability and knowledge sharing between different actors. Ultimately, this will reduce the risk faced by individual actors. 

I was thrilled with the diverse results of the teams.

Longstanding cooperation

"The collaboration with the students of the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, with whom we have a long-standing partnership, was extremely enriching. The impartiality and creativity of the students enables us to take new perspectives together, to look differently at existing challenges and to create solutions that meet the needs of the younger generation. The ideas will now be further reviewed internally at Baloise. Where appropriate, they will be linked to existing ventures, such as ESG Product Community projects, or validated individually", says Laura Seiler, Innovation Manager at Baloise.

Summary | A program with added value for students and companies

With TT-BMI, students benefit from basic skills training, coaching and new career options, while companies face their challenges and receive innovative ideas to make their business models viable and sustainable.