R+V Versicherung AG > Motion+ team – a corporate innovation lab:
Lost in Transformation? Three pragmatic
and evidence-based leadership lessons

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Follow a real-time case series about the design thinking-based transformation of an innovation process in the German insurance company R+V Versicherung AG - one step at a time!


Getting started: Use your culture as a compass and participation as fuel for transformation.

This transformation journey is told in real-time, as it evolves. We want to share the different steps that are being taken by the Motion+ team – a corporate innovation lab within the motor insurance division of the R+V Versicherung AG. We are telling their story without “reverse engineering” it. Why? We believe that making the different steps transparent as they happen will enhance our own learning – the successes and the failures alike. Furthermore, this approach ensures the transfer capacity and adaptability of the “lessons learned” for other pioneers of change and transformation.

To make this transfer more accessible, our story is backed up with the design thinking strategies that served as structuring and accelerating helpers.

LESSON I Getting started- Use your culture as a compass and participation as fuel for transformation_Illustration- @ Juliana Toro

Illustration- @ Juliana Toro


R+V is a German insurance company that was founded in 1922 as the “Raiffeisen Allgemeine Versicherungsgesellschaft a.G.”. The organization’s core purpose had been set by Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen and Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch, both pioneers of the cooperative business model and the customer-owned banking concept. “What one alone cannot achieve, is achievable by many” and “assist people to help themselves” are the core beliefs that are deeply anchored in the cultural history.

Later, in the fifties, the economic growth in Germany was largely driven by the expanding mobility market. R+V has been an early adopter of digital technologies for data processing from the 1960s on. The cooperative idea translated into a business model focusing on productive cooperation with market partners, banks, and agents. Consequently, the necessity of internal collaboration is being considered a high-priority topic. R+V’s history has led to a very distinctive social entrepreneur culture. This is definitive to how the people in the organization work as well as how the business model functions: “We want to be the voice of social cohesion and mutual responsibility” is the key narrative of R+V. The claim “you are not alone” further communicates the organization’s message.


The corporate incubator Motion+ started with single innovation projects to explore new business opportunities.

The motor insurance market is facing significant disruption due to numerous societal and technological trends. Thus, the interfaces between automobile manufacturers, mobility service providers, customers, and insurers are changing rapidly. Knowing that the pressure on the classic core activity of the insurance business will increase, R+V decided set up an independent, diverse team using a customer- and needs-centric approach. 

Initially, an innovation lab was founded as an external unit of R+V. The overall goal was to find innovations across mobility that would drive the transformation of R&V. Within a year, the team pursued two promising projects and implemented one: An app for truck drivers that made the search for parking lots easier, a digital service called “Kravag Truck Parking. Encouraged by the success, the R+V leads decided to integrate the lab back into the organizational structures to further facilitate the transition of innovations into the portfolio. ”The challenge in the integration process from the beginning was to preserve the innovative lab culture that had just emerged. And on the other hand, to incorporate it into the established structures of the organization,” according to the head of motor insurance at R+V, Jan-Dirk Dallmer.

Today, the corporate innovation lab Motion+ is driven by a team of ten colleagues that handle around 5 -7 projects simultaneously. The projects are selected according to their assumed impact on the evolution of the motor insurance sector/division product portfolio as well as on the general business model.

What was the driving motivation to transform the already well-working innovation process of Motion+? Three goals were defined: 

The first goal, on the corporate system level, was to clearly position the role and function of the lab within the company’s flow of value creation.

The second goal, on the lab entity level, was to institutionalize the innovation approach in order to make it transparent and replicable.

The third goal, on the leadership level, was to fuel the motivation of the Motion+ team members continuously in order to keep the overall performance quality. 


Werner, R., Streubel, H., Lovich, D. & Halverson, J. (2021, December 07). When Leaders Say They Are Aligned—But Aren’t. BCG Consulting)


To kick off, R+V leaders evaluated the organization’s status quo of the key transformation maturity factors as well as their own core values.

The analysis of the distinct driving and challenging forces was clear and represented a strong stepping stone: “The spirit of community is deeply anchored within our culture. It translates into our leadership guidelines, hierarchy structure, and guidelines for individual development paths. For instance, with a long-term view on lifelong success instead of a short-term view on individual success”, states one of the R+V leaders. “The downside is apparent in decision processes, due to the fact that democratic decision-making takes more time to finalize. We have to be aware that our big advantage – a culture of consensus – can represent a challenge to our speed. Also, we have to find ways to give space for creativity and to encourage trying out new ways of doing things. We need a dedicated and protected space so that our team can evolve without the need for collective evaluation.  

In a strategy workshop where the Motion+ team mapped their innovation projects against the design thinking-based transformation framework, different fields of opportunity became visible: Earlier collaboration with different users in the stakeholder system, more consistent co-creation in different innovation phases, structured involvement of actors in the overall corporate value creation process. And: A binding process and common understanding of “innovation”. 

Members of the Motion+ team

Members of the Motion+ team: Matthias Jung, Anna Kuzynin, Vladimir Lazerus, David Gradilone, Sebastian Wilkens, Lars Michels, Tim Baumeister, Melanie Mettner (not in the picture).

The modular ∏-Process of Digital Transformation with its diverging and converging rhythm represented a suitable skeleton to be brought to life, matching the specific culture and needs of the lab.

The ∏-Process Framework for flexible ambidextrous navigation of digital transformation

The ∏-Process Framework for flexible ambidextrous navigation of digital transformation


The company’s purpose and ambition “What one alone cannot achieve, is achievable by many” set the frame for the cascaded purpose and vision of the Motion+ innovation lab.

With human centricity, fairness and responsibility being the driving values for collaborative achievement and sustainable success, the Motion+ team derived their purpose as an entity for innovation. 

The Motion+ purpose:
We exist to challenge the status quo in the insurance services ecosystem in order to leverage our cooperative core idea for a better tomorrow for our clients.

The Motion+ purpose

For an innovation lab, finding the balance between self-directive exploration on the one side and following a defined structure to reach delivery expectations on the other side is a complex endeavor. The leadership mindset and strategy mirrored the tension on the system level: A clear commitment to no limitation or restriction on the team’s creative thinking on the one side – but in order to be able to lead performance, a binding approach was needed with clear parameters on the other side. On the corporate level, this dichotomy translates into the ever-discussed ambidexterity tension between exploration and exploitation. 

The Motion+ innovation lab defined a clear vision for their transformation project:
Establishing an innovation process that would help to manage the contrasting needs coming from three different transformation perspectives and levels until 2024: 

  • On the team level: Continuously fueling motivation and enabling freedom of exploration.
  • On the management level: To control the results without controlling the people. 
  • On the organizational governance level: Integrating the innovation lab with a clearly defined role in the organizational value creation flow.

The team decided to work collaboratively and started out by crafting their design challenge: The step from the overall challenge topic to a specific user perspective. This was done by stepping into the shoes of different stakeholders in the system and their assumed problems and needs regarding the current innovation approach. The goal: To describe a specific and relevant user experience. 

The design challenge:
RE-DESIGN THE INNOVATION EXPERIENCE for the Motion+  team – in a world where innovation needs free exploration but also requires a common understanding and framework for sustainable value creation.

Laddering- From company purpose to department purpose, vision and design challenge

Laddering: From company purpose to department purpose, vision and design challenge

The evolution of the innovation process is now defined as a design challenge that the team decided to invest time in for three months. Two Motion+ members joined the HPI Professional Track to work on their project and to apply design thinking as a strategy to engage in their human-centered, collaborative and flexible innovation process. In the first step, the needs of the main stakeholders in the innovation process will be explored. The team will involve their colleagues when deep-diving into topics like the understanding of innovation, innovation process hurdles and drivers. Also, the application of innovation and collaboration methods, as well as critical questions of measurability are interesting exploration fields. And finally, the hot topic “transparency and justification” as well as the experienced conflict between innovation projects and business projects will be important questions in their interviews. 

The next steps

The next phase will focus on a first synthesis of the user need findings that the team will transform into an inspirational springboard for solution finding.

We will keep you posted about the evolution’s process, and we are happy to receive your comments and questions along the way.


The ∏-Process of Digital Transformation is one of the outcomes of a comprehensive research, co-creation and organizational practice that took place over the last years in the Hasso Plattner Institute’s ecosystem. It is a modular system that enables the crafting of tailored digital transformation strategies and respective agile operational roadmaps. Just like the mathematical constant ∏, which helps calculating a circle’s circumference on basis of its diameter, the ∏-Process helps to plan the circumference of any digital transformation on the basis of understanding the starting point and the desirable vision. It is inspired by the concepts of the American social psychologist David A. Kolb, and of the German economist, researcher and politician Uwe Schneidewind. and follows the high-impact design thinking rhythm of diverging and converging working modes. The foundation of the ∏-Process of Digital Transformation is built on the research insights of the Hasso Plattner Design Thinking Research Program (HPDTRP) in the past 13 years. For further details, click here

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The Authors

Annie Kerguenne is an expert in Strategic Design Thinking. She works as transformation- & leadership-coach at the Hasso Plattner Institute.

Melanie Mettner and David Gradilone are Business Developers in the corporate innovation lab Motion+ at the R+V Insurance

Matthias Jung is a Business Developer and Head of the Corporate innovation lab Motion+ at the R&V Insurance 

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