Columbus, OH - As innovation becomes more of a focus for businesses all across the country, the need for creative spaces to foster the collaboration needed to identify customer needs and develop solutions to address them is growing.
For that reason, Nationwide has opened a new innovation center, The CoOperative, at the site of the former Arena Grand theater in Columbus, Ohio’s, Arena District. The CoOperative’s unique architectural features pay homage to Nationwide’s farming community roots while also setting up Nationwide for its next 100 years. While The CoOperative will initially be used by Nationwide associates, the goal is for the space to engage the community as well as host events that attract innovators from all over the country and the world to Columbus.
“Innovation has always been a part of Nationwide’s culture,” said Scott Sanchez, Nationwide’s chief innovation officer. “The CoOperative is part of our strategy to rapidly evolve to meet the needs of our customers as we work to find innovations that truly delight and surprise them…and to enable the innovators across Nationwide that make it happen. The CoOperative won’t be just a building…it will be a member of the team!”
The CoOperative is a purpose-built space, designed to accelerate the human-centered collaborative work Nationwide’s teams need to do every day. Nationwide used the same approach the company uses to create innovations for its customers in the design of its space, “design thinking”, to create a space that is ideal for experimenting, talking to customers, creating prototypes, and other work crucial to the innovative process.
The CoOperative was built to be flexible so that it can change as needed for the work to be done. A key design principle was having the space evolve to the way individuals and teams need to work every hour and every day instead of the other way around.
“Our teams collaborated closely throughout the development of the CoOperative, bringing together our respective expertise to create the best environment to innovate,” said Kieran Sherry, senior vice president for Nationwide Corporate Real Estate. “We’re excited about this unique space and how it will accelerate innovation across Nationwide.”
The CoOperative’s many unique and interesting features include:
• Town Square – The center of the space is modeled after a Town Square where teams and individuals come in from their working “neighborhoods” in surrounding areas to grab a drink or a snack, enabling “productive collisions” of different people and thus unexpected outcomes as new ideas or new ways of thinking.
• Tree Sculpture – This sculpture in the Sun Room serves as a beacon that draws people into the building and reminds everyone that the CoOperative is a place for growth and a creative greenhouse. Just as seeds grow into trees, this is a space where people and ideas grow into innovators and innovations.
• Farm-themed free-standing team rooms – Sitting in the center of many of the “Neighborhoods”, celebrating the most important skill of collaboration, these rooms were designed as a modern-day farmhouse, a nod to Nationwide’s agricultural roots. The ceiling of the team space is reminiscent of a farmhouse roof, yet inverted, to make it unique and modern for the future. The overhang along the wall is reminiscent of the roof of a front sunporch, inviting the team room to expand their workspace beyond the four walls.
• Green and Green Carpeting – The CoOperative carpet comes from a zero-emissions carpet manufacturer. The pattern looks like grass or moss, once again reminding us of the organic nature of Nationwide’s work and roots.
• Sound-absorbing art – Many of the art pieces featured in the CoOperative are designed to inspire, but not overshadow the work being done. They also serve a practical purpose - to absorb sound to help promote a creative and productive working environment.
• Cinema conference room – Located on the second floor, this room has been largely untouched from its days as a former theater from the original Arena Grand theater. The room is equipped with video conference capabilities with two cameras so remote participants can feel like they are in the room. This will be a place to share stories about customers, pitches on new ideas, and programs to build our people.
More details about The CoOperative can be found here.
Nationwide’s innovation journey
The CoOperative is just one example of the actions happening across Nationwide to reimagine how we provide protection, peace of mind and delight to our customers.
Nationwide has implemented several other new solutions, including:
• In September, Nationwide announced the launch of SPIRE- a simple, easy-to-understand digital auto insurance platform, built on fair and straightforward principles and designed to be convenient and accessible from your phone.
• Nationwide announced a partnership with Slice Labs to develop on-demand rideshare insurance solutions for drivers who work for transportation network companies (TNC), such as Uber and Lyft.
Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States. Nationwide is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. An industry leader in driving customer-focused innovation, Nationwide provides a full range of insurance and financial services products including auto, business, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.