Revitalizing employee engagement has become a central aim for 21st century business management.  It requires bold thinking, committed leadership, and an inspired workforce. But how can an organization recharge its workforce and foster innovation?

The SAP M-Prize “Unlimited Human Potential” Challenge is a global ideas contest, hosted by Management Innovation Exchange (MIX) , to find answers to improving people’s lives at work through emerging technologies and disruptive ideas that produce radically new approaches to unlocking human potential. This is the second in a series of blogs spotlighting the 18 entries under consideration to win (prizes include USD $50,000 in funding from SAP Ventures, plus a Design Thinking Workshop from SAP Labs). The first blog in the series provides background about the contest and introduces four finalists that are using big data for innovation. You can read it at SAP M-Prize Challenge: Finalists Aim to Turn Big Data into Business Gold.

Here are the finalists focused on bringing about industry transformation:

Harness Big Data and Social Technology to drive employee engagement: Digital health agency Klick Health, based in Toronto, Canada, works to educate healthcare providers about lifesaving treatments, as well as to inform patients in managing their health. Powering this mission is Genome, an operating system that uses big data and social technologies to enhance employee engagement, prioritize tasks, and manage projects consistently. Profiled in New York Times bestseller The Decoded Company, Genome has helped Klick Health reduce the number of weekly meetings, enhance social interaction, integrate employee training in daily work, manage tasks and track workflows through its dynamic dashboard. Watch Klick Health’s video about Genome here:

Beat bureaucracy and overcome disaster: Japanese insurance firm Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd. (TMNF), founded in 1879, sought to unleash human potential by breaking down a rules-based culture that mired decision making in unnecessary bureaucracy and complexity as a result of the deregulation of the insurance industry in the 1990s. Through a 10-year comprehensive innovation project called “Bappon Kaikaku” (Japanese for “drastic innovation from scratch”), the company restarted its collaborative and open office culture with a complete redesign of its products and simplification of its business processes.  When the Great East Japan Earthquake struck in March 2011, TMNF was able to mobilize quickly and settle most (87%) of the 160,000 claims submitted by May. As a result of Bappon Kaikaku, today TMNF is an agile, fit, and transparent organization. Here is a picture (courtesy of TMNF staff) of the TMNF Disaster Support Center at work following the earthquake:

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Incubating intrapreneurs to revitalize customer business: IT service provider Cognizant, based in Teaneck, New Jersey, has developed a platform to harness imagination and skill among its employees in its insurance practice. Cognizant asked them to come up with ideas for how its customers in the insurance industry can springboard ahead on key technologies of social, mobile, analytics, and cloud (SMAC) to better serve their customers. As part of the multi-stage project, Cognizant established an internal tournament called the InsuranceNext Premier League (a nod to cricket’s Indian Premier League). Working as an innovation ecosystem, teams created concepts based on a wide range of technologies and incubated their ideas into full-fledged solutions. Cognizant has shared these concepts with over 40 customers so far and received impressive reviews. Cognizant looks forward to making the InsuranceNext Premier League an annual event. Here is a picture (courtesy of Cognizant) of Cognizant’s core team for the event:

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Find out more about the finalists

Winners will be announced by May 30, and will have a feature moment at SAP’s Annual SAPPHIRE NOW event on June 3-5 and at the MIX Mashup on November 18-20. Check back with SCN Business Trends next Tuesday for Susan Galer’s blog introducing the next set of finalists that have set out to reinvent the workplace.

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