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“I knew right away I wanted to realise the idea!”

After over two months of intensive work, discussions and trials, an internal Helvetia Kickbox pitch decides whether Patrick Vogel’s “Ride Pooler” idea goes to the next round. The tension is rising…

13 March 2018, Author: Martin Maas, Photo: Natascha Fabian

Patrick Vogel stands in front of an audience and presents his “Ride Pooler” idea.
Patrick Vogel presents his “Ride Pooler” idea at the internal Helvetia Kickbox pitch

“I am standing in the co-working space of our Corporate Incubation team in St. Gallen with other Helvetia colleagues who, like me, are taking part in the internal pitch and hoping to make the next round. Although the atmosphere is relaxed, as usual, and there is no sense of the teams being ‘against one another’, I am somewhat nervous. But I am also looking forward to the reactions of the audience and the jury. Now it is my turn, and I try to implement what we have practised in our ‘pitch training’. Before I reveal the result, let me start from the beginning…

From design thinking to a business idea

My name is Patrick Vogel. I have worked for Helvetia for three years in the area of fleet motor vehicle insurance. We assess new risks, manage existing contracts and are responsible for the concerns and questions of various stakeholders. The subjects of security, risk management and claims settlement have always interested me, and I am also very open to new topics and like to question existing states of affairs.

I have been able to participate in various internal workshops on the topic of design thinking, in which participants develop new services or products with a focus on customer needs. Through my field of work and design thinking, I ended up considering current mobility trends such as carpooling. Alongside the development of the sharing economy overall, this is a topic that is not really very well known in Europe yet, but is part of everyday life in America and Asia.

The more I looked into the topic of carpooling and discussed it with colleagues from different areas, the more I wanted to develop carpooling as a business model.

‘Less talk and more action’: just try it out!

With the support of my manager, I decided to register the idea as a Helvetia Kickbox project .
I then wanted to find out whether my idea really worked and, in particular, whether it could be developed into a business model. With this in mind, I asked everyone I knew if I could carry out an hour-long interview with them. In addition, I wanted to find a company that liked the idea of its employees travelling to work together – and so not only making a contribution to environmental protection but also to interaction between its staff.

I drew up various hypotheses and tried to confirm them through the interviews and gather insights through this. During the development of my idea, I was supported in both a methodological and technical respect by Helvetia’s Corporate Development team and an external partner from Zurich. Many other employees also spoke to me independently. These discussions also led to new ideas. To test my findings, I carried out a small pilot project in accordance with the motto 'Less talk and more action!'. I convinced three employees to set up a carpool following a chat. The three of them were able to confirm my hypotheses in many respects and will continue the carpool in future.

Perhaps it was this initial small-scale success in practice that ultimately convinced the internal Helvetia jury of my ‘Ride Pooler’ idea. I am incredibly happy to have been awarded the blue Helvetia Kickbox alongside another team of employees. Now it is a matter of conducting further tests, grappling with details and finding a suitable platform. Thankfully, I don’t have to do this alone, but with strong support from the Helvetia Corporate Incubation team and an external partner."

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