SAN ANTONIO – In a first-of-its-kind alliance of academia and business in the state, the University of Texas at Austin and financial services association USAA have created a unique Innovator Certification Program to drive employee development of game-changing advances in consumer products and services that make USAA members’ lives easier. The collaboration demonstrates how a creative relationship between Texas-based businesses and universities can improve innovative thinking, productivity and competition.
The IC² Institute conducted a customized pilot program with 25 USAA employees who used the Institute’s Marketlook™ methodology to quickly assess the viability of new technology-based financial solutions. By applying the entrepreneurial knowledge and skills learned to USAA’s marketing and business planning efforts, the teams of employees were able to demonstrate the commercial and customer value of several USAA products and services.
“At USAA, we strive to anticipate the future needs of our members and continually develop innovative solutions to meet them,” said Mick Simonelli, assistant vice president of USAA innovation. “Working with The University of Texas at Austin and the knowledge gained through our new Innovator Certification Program helps us more quickly assess those innovations that will create the greatest benefit for our members.”
“The IC² Institute at The University of Texas at Austin is excited to work with USAA, known as a leader in bringing forward new financial services technologies, to expand that knowledge and know-how of technology transfer and the creation of new product centers,” said Dr. John Butler, director of the Institute.
Cliff Zintgraff, the IC² Institute’s program manager, said, “Our work with USAA has improved our understanding and models of how the university’s research and knowledge base can be applied to help other Texas businesses and organizations. We are actively incorporating these ideas into similar programs that serve other organizations around the state.”
USAA plans to offer the program to additional employees as well as its executive management within the next year.