Culture Change in Practice: How Cambia is Building Intrapreneurship

August 10, 2015

One of the core values at Cambia Health Solutions is innovation.  In practice, this value has led to an organizational focus on developing innovation competencies of employees, under the leadership of SVP and Chief Innovation Officer Mohan Nair and his team, the Innovation Force (IF).  For the Innovation Force, cultural change represents one element of a three-part mandate:  To engage the culture in innovation, but also to accelerate business units from problem to solution and to create new businesses and products.

With a goal of 20% employee engagement in innovation by 2017, IF exceeded its engagement target by mid-2015, reaching over 30% engagement in innovation.

This shift can be traced back to three primary activities over the last year and a half, including leadership development, the design of an organizational idea “pitch day” and a comprehensive marketing communications program.


Growing engagement in innovation
Growing engagement in innovation

Leadership Development and Engagement

In 2014, IF ran a design-thinking workshop for all leadership within Cambia.  The rapid innovation training was paired with an online, crowdsourced challenge in MindJet’s Spigit Platform, Cambia’s Open Innovation Technology Platform.  Leaders were required to submit one idea per two-person team, resulting in 133 ideas submitted.  Those 133 ideas were categorized and then merged where appropriate.  Through evaluating the quality, strategic alignment and popularity of ideas and the engagement of the leaders in executing on their ideas, 9 ideas emerged for further development.  The innovators who submitted those ideas were subsequently coached through development of executive-level pitches for their ideas.  As a result, three ideas were identified for the next stages of development.  One of those ideas will be market-ready by the end of 2015.

An Organizational Challenge: Cambia’s Pitch Day

The spike in participation recently directly correlates to participation in the 2015 Pitch Day.  Advertised as an opportunity for any employee to participate in innovation, September’s Pitch Day is an opportunity for all employees to submit ideas on how to transform healthcare.  For ideas to advance to Pitch Day, employees must garner a minimum number of votes, conversations and views on Cambia’s Open Innovation Technology Platform in addition to passing a quality rating based on factors including strategic alignment and revenue potential.  As a result, record numbers of employees engaged in ideas in the challenge—over four hundred employees who had never engaged in ideas previously either submitted an idea, joined an idea team or engaged with an idea.  Employees have been including their colleagues in their idea teams, asking for votes, and driving unprecedented traffic to the challenge.

Sharing Success Stories

The teams from last year’s Pitch Day have served as visible reminders to employees of what could happen with an idea.   Their stories have been part of employee events, all-company emails and videos, and those individuals have been highlighted as innovators.  In addition to the one key idea will be market-ready in 2015, other, more operational ideas are being pitched for funding through various departments.

Looking Ahead

As part of the Innovation Maturity Model at Cambia, the Innovation program has evolved to a new stage of accountability.  In 2016, IF is working to give leaders more tools to build skills and coach their teams on moving ideas forward.  

About the Innovation Force

Cambia’s Innovation Force is leading the charge to disrupt healthcare.  The diverse team is designed to build values in skills in innovation, accelerate business units and create new products and businesses.  For more information about how the Innovation Force can accelerate your business or culture, contact us at or 888-719-1894.

Topics :