USAA`s Century Old Culture of Customer-Focused Innovation

USAA`s Century Old Culture of Customer-Focused Innovation
Case Code: HROB233
Case Length: 9 Pages
Period: 2009-2022
Pub Date: 2022
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.400
Organization: United Services Automobile Association
Industry: Financial Services
Countries: United States
Themes: Innovation, Organizational Culture, Cross-functional Management,Technology in Financial Services
USAA`s Century Old Culture of Customer-Focused Innovation
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


The case ‘USAA’s Century Old Culture of Customer-Focused Innovation’ describes how USAA, a Fortune 500 diversified financial services group established a customer-centric culture that led to ninety-six percent customer retention and the highest Net Promoter Scores (NPS) in home insurance, auto insurance, and banking for 11 consecutive years in the US.

The case touches upon the various initiatives taken at USAA that helped the financial service provider build a spirit and culture of innovation among its employees. Since USAA primarily served military personnel, it organized mock boot camps to help employees understand the military backgrounds and the mindset of this segment of customers. Next, the case describes the ‘employee innovation program’ (EIP) that helped generate and evaluate ideas through ideation challenges, competitions, and hackathons. This was supported by USAA Innovation Labs. USAA recognized employees through its Patent Tree that displayed the names of contributors and offered monetary and non-monetary rewards to the winners This helped USAA generate over 10,000 ideas and file 900 patents by 2020.

The case ends with how USAA planned to continue its legacy of serving military personnel and always putting its customers first as it completed 100 years of operations in 2022.


The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:

  • Explain the importance of creating a culture of innovation.
  • Recognize the importance of cross functional teams in innovation.
  • Assess the need to involve customers in the innovation process.
  • Design the various steps involved in the Ideation process.
  • Create systematic processes to convert ideas into actual products and services.



Work Culture; Employee Benefits; Innovation; Ideation Process; Cross-Functional Teams; Innovation training; Product Innovation; Process Innovation; Employee Recognition;

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