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What is innovation?

Published on: 15 April 2016

What is innovation?

Leon Oosthuizen and Nadine Krakowitzer tell us a little more about MiWayaWaya days - part of the process of how MiWay stays at the forefront of innovation.

"Innovation in insurance? Isn’t that an oxymoron for such a boring industry?"

Nonsense! Innovation is not only about products or new technologies, it is about questions. Questioning the way things are done and looking at alternative ways of doing those things. Innovation is also about chipping away at processes and improving them little by little. Only through finding alternatives, can we innovate processes.

One way MiWay encourages this innovation is by holding 24-hour events, called MiWayaWaya days, every quarter.

The idea stemmed from an Australian software development company, Atlassian, who hold FedEx days (so-called because you have to deliver your “product” overnight, like the parcel delivery company). A MiWayWaya is a fixed time box in which people are not disturbed for regular work.

Sounds like a lot of hard work! What is MiWayaWaya meant to achieve?

The main aim of MiWayaWaya days are to inspire autonomy and innovation, while delivering solutions that add value to MiWay as a business - not forgetting having fun and encouraging teamwork with other people who don’t necessarily work together!

What does the name mean?

Sithembiso Simelane, one of our Oracle Developers, suggested “MiWayaWaya”, which comes from the Zulu slang phrase “waya waya” which is used when something is done non-stop. We liked the fact that the name had both a MiWay and an African feel to it which made it unique and fun. The whole Development team agreed ... and the rest is history!

What happens at a MiWayaWaya?

Originally, only the Development team participated, but word quickly spread, and nowadays, MiWayans from the Actuarial, MIS, and Legal departments are involved. Participants of MiWayaWaya are encouraged to think outside the box and come up with their own fresh ideas that they think can benefit MiWay.

  • Because innovation can come from anywhere in the Business, we introduced the concept of “Speed Dating”. This is open to anyone within MiWay that has a great idea and doesn’t necessarily have the skills or resources to implement it. About 2 weeks before the MiWayaWaya day, everyone with an idea is given 5 minutes to present their ideas to participants of MiWayaWaya day. Participants can choose whether they would like to be part of bringing these ideas to life, or whether they’d prefer to work on their own ideas.
  • On the actual day, we start coding away from 10am and continue till 10am the next day. As it’s a fun team-building event as well, we supply a “Base Camp” with loads of snacks and drinks to keep everyone going! Sleeping under your desk isn’t frowned upon...this time.
  • After the 10am deadline, a demo session is held with Business in order to showcase what participants have come up with. Because the aim is to have a potentially shippable product by the end of the 24 hours, most solutions are quick to implement – therefore, it’s very possible that the 24-hour “product” will become MiWay’s next great feature!

Great ideas come from giving people the freedom to express what that they feel, and this means that MiWay is constantly at the forefront of innovation! If you’ve ever had to submit an online hail claim, you’ve experienced one of our innovative MiWayaWaya products.