A company’s success isn’t strictly the result of hiring the best people. Success also comes by giving those people the time and space to flex their creative muscles, build innovative solutions and solve problems.
This mindset is at the heart of CoverMyMeds’ Innovation Days, a bi-annual event designed to foster collaboration and inspire big ideas that improve processes, enhance company culture and result in new solutions to help more patients access their medications.
“Innovation Days is a forum for smart and talented people to be creative in a way they might not be able to in their daily work,” said Payer Network Operations Manager Josh Applebaum, one of the event’s founders. “Our main goal is to give our staff the opportunity to collaborate with people from across the business while building their innovative muscles. The resulting ideas are a bonus.”
A New Approach to a Year Like None Other
Started in 2017 as a two-day hackathon for a software development team, Innovation Days is now a cross-business unit event. It encompasses the entire Prescription Technology Solutions (RxTS) segment, of which CoverMyMeds is included. After introductory presentations, pitchers recruit teams to help execute on their ideas, on which a judging panel votes. Whenever possible, the ideas are implemented within the business and help fuel strategic planning, Applebaum said.
Despite the pandemic, Innovation Days forged ahead in 2020, with a few changes: The whirlwind three-day, in-person event moved to a virtual format for the June and November sessions. To account for screen burnout — and the many responsibilities our employees juggle at home — the event expanded from a few days to a few weeks. The judging panel saw updates, too. Typically made up of senior leadership, the panel now features a mix of senior leaders, past Innovation Day participants and event ambassadors.
We Have Big Ideas — Now What?
Most ideas pitched during Innovation Days involve using technology to solve problems — though recent pitches include a tool for employee recognition and an alternative transportation initiative. And the business impact can be significant.
“If a team pitches a process-improvement idea that results in shaving five minutes off a process, and there are 250 employees completing that process, that’s a huge improvement for the business,” Applebaum said.
“Results matter” is one of CoverMyMeds’ five core values. To that end, judges review all pitches through the lens of real-world application. While there’s no guarantee an idea will come to life during the calendar year, the goal is to implement every pitch when possible, Applebaum said.
The Best Place to Work and Grow — For Every Employee
Since our founding in 2008, CoverMyMeds has grown from a handful of dedicated individuals to more than 1,400 leaders passionate about trying new things, shaking things up and always moving beyond the status quo. We know we’re strongest when we’re all encouraged to pull up a seat at the table and work toward making an impact on our mission to help patients get the medication they need to live healthy lives.
“Our best ideas,” Applebaum said, “come from our people.”
Innovation Days is just one way we make space for our staff to share their voices and express their ideas. For more about our culture, see why Glassdoor recently named us a Best Place to Work.
This article originally appeared in the January issue of Columbus CEO magazine.