innovative partnership project

“They left an enhanced innovative culture in the division – a crucial part of increasing our brand presence.”

The unique challenge

Our partner – a ‘health’ division of a global insurance firm, had a 3-year strategic vision to move from being a ‘Health Payer ’ to a ‘Health Partner’.

Aiming to offer more than just an insurance coverage solution, they wanted to create more customer touch points to engage more authentically with their audience.

For the first time, they launched a pilot with a start-up company to offer a new kind of mobile app service, which would give users access to 24/7 health coaches.

This agile pilot would gauge the readiness of the market for this new offer, before assessing its impact on their strategic objectives.

Both organisations would encounter brand new working models (large corp vs. start-up), multiple vendors and high internal exposure.

Our role was to be the ‘oil’ of the initiative and to help the start-up company understand the culture of the larger company.

The initiative saw the global firm become one of the first of the main insurers in Hong Kong to partner with such a small start-up.

Tools & thinking

There was initially some resistance and apprehension in embracing the changes ahead.

United Outcomes supported the roll out of the pilot, assessed the feasibility of the new app and prepared for a large scale launch of this new service.

We also managed the external parties involved (start-up, advertising company, online acquisition company), and coordinated the change and communication streams.

There were to be some challenges for our partner in terms of being used to the pace of delivery and this new kind of client-facing service.

Driving internal awareness and buy in was key to the success of the programme.

As well as working on the governance of the initiative, we helped to engage key stakeholders in order to obtain their buy in.

We helped to improve the relationships between teams and talk to the right people to convince them of the value of the new service. 

The key to all this? Open, honest communication. 

Success is never a straight line

Anyone who’s collaborated with other teams or organisations can attest to the difficulties of two companies and cultures working together. 

Smaller companies typically have smaller structures and they’re agile and speedy at responding to things, while larger companies tend to be much more traditional, relying on internal processes and roles and responsibilities.

It was our role to try and find a middle ground between the two cultures.

The cultural differences between the two could have potentially risked delaying the project, losing the advantages of collaborating with the start up or – worst case scenario – it could have been a failure.

There was also an additional challenge because although the pilot was a success, there was a level of uncertainty in knowing how to best use the new service.

This could scupper the opportunity for others to understand or invest in the initiative and to roll it out to more customers in the future.


We brought very strong industry knowledge, business understanding and the capability of thinking of new business models to the table.

There was a level of open-mindedness which enabled us to be the ideal party in the middle, a little more objective and able to progress things more smoothly than might have been possible without our involvement.

We left an enhanced innovative culture in the division and they were able to communicate extensively on their achievement – a crucial part of changing their customers’ perceptions and increasing their brand presence.

Thanks to the involvement of our team of change experts, the initiative obtained strong local, and then global, buy in – and the large scale roll out approach was approved.

The innovative service was also recognised by industry peers, winning the ‘Innovative Technology of the Year’ award for our client.