CSS Kickbox strengthens our culture of innovation

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The in-house innovation programme gives our employees the chance to drive their own ideas forward. The many success stories testify to its widespread acceptance within the company. Innovation Manager Daniel Alzer gives us the low-down on CSS Kickbox in our interview.

Promoting innovation with CSS Kickbox

CSS is a key innovator and driver of digitalisation in the Swiss healthcare system. And our 2,700 or so employees are an important source of good ideas. They question existing concepts and put forward new solutions. With CSS Kickbox, we offer our colleagues the ideal platform for developing their own ideas.

Interview with Daniel Alzer

Innovation Manager and the man in charge of CSS Kickbox, Daniel Alzer, fills us in on everything we need to know.

What is CSS Kickbox?

CSS Kickbox is our in-house innovation programme. It gives our employees the opportunity to get their own meaningful ideas off the ground and thus create innovations themselves. As an employer, we make this possible by giving them a budget, including a time budget.

Kickbox presents a real opportunity to improve on existing ideas or create new products and business models.
Daniel Alzer

How is the programme structured?

The Kickbox programme lets our employees take the reins. The three-step process gives them the chance to develop their idea right through until it is market ready.

  • RedBox: Validation
    The RedBox gives participants seed funding of CHF 1,000, a time budget amounting to 20% of their normal working time and various helpful tools. After two months, a progress report is presented to a body made up of representatives of all areas of the company.
  • BlueBox: Running a pilot
    Acquiring the Blue Box gives employees an additional budget so that they can gain initial market experience. At the end of four months, the results are presented to the members of the Corporate Executive Committee at a pitch event.
  • GoldBox: Implementation
    In the final stage, employees can devote all their working time to their idea. Participants decide for themselves whether they want to realise it as a project within CSS or establish their own start-up as a spin-off. An additional budget of up to CHF 100,000 is made available for market implementation.

Employees share their Kickbox experiences

In our video, Daniel Alzer and four Kickbox participants share their experiences of the in-house innovation programme.

What goals is CSS pursuing with Kickbox?

Our 2,700 or so employees have lots of good ideas. This guided programme is our way of helping them to drive these forward in a structured manner. In this way, we don't just encourage entre­preneurship. We also strengthen our internal culture of innovation. Kickbox presents a real opportunity to improve on existing ideas or create new products and business models. And that helps us develop a more sustainable healthcare system.

Participants in the programme are closely supervised. They're not simply left to their own devices.
Daniel Alzer

What has the response been like?

CSS Kickbox was first launched in May 2019. Progress in the meantime has been quite impressive: almost 50 ideas have been submitted, of which over 30 received the RedBox, around 10 moved on to the pilot phase – the BlueBox – and two ideas even reached the GoldBox phase.

What are the advantages of an innovation programme like this?

Both employees and company benefit from the CSS Kickbox. Participants are involved in different tasks in their day-to-day work and are experts in their particular field – but not necessarily in validating ideas. However, the tools and mindset they acquire and learn through the Kickbox programme can help them to become even better at what they do. It also lets them see things from a different perspective.

What kind of feedback do you get from employees?

The feedback is thoroughly positive. Many employees are enthusiastic about the programme, others remain hesitant because they doubt their ideas or are uncertain for other reasons. We help them to dispel their doubts and allay their fears. Participants in the programme are closely supervised. They're not simply left to their own devices. Knowing this helps them gain confidence. And, according to a survey, everyone who has taken part in the Kickbox programme so far would do it again and recommend it to others.

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