Last week I flew to San Antonio, Texas for a scheduled visit to USAA headquarters. I was one of 23 bloggers who accepted an invitation to visit their sprawling campus of 15,000 employees for a behind-the-scenes look at innovation inside USAA.
USAA was founded in 1922 by 25 U.S. Army officers who were denied auto insurance eligibility due to the perception that they were a high-risk group. Although probably not calling it ‘innovation’, they created a valuable self-insured product that disrupted the auto insurance industry at the time.
Today, numerous innovations later, USAA has nine million members worldwide, providing groundbreaking and integrated financial products and services to members and their immediate families.
What was apparent to me during this visit is that USAA is a complex organization where innovation is embedded in its history, mission and core values. USAA provided travel and lodging yet the real value of the invitation was revealed: spending a day and a half inside the space (and behind the curtain) of the innovation lab and community where intense collaboration, trial, error and success is not only evident but passionate.
How fitting, as Managing Editor of Innovation Excellence, to honor Innovation on Veterans Day.
Here are some photos from the USAA 2012 Veterans Day Ceremony:
Stay-tuned for more photos, interviews and insights from USAA Enterprise Innovation.
Author’s note: In honor of Veterans Day 2011, I wrote an Op-Ed that was published in the Albuquerque Journal. It cites two reports from Pew Research Center that are focused on veterans and remain timely.
image credit: usaa.com
Mari Anixter is Managing Editor for Innovation Excellence. She is a communications professional living in New Mexico.