Five years ago, as he took over the role of CEO, Paul Hopkins threw out a challenge to Chief Strategy Officer Mark Smith and his fellow executives at Farmers Insurance: Find a repeatable, structured approach that will enable the insurance carrier to quickly research and develop ideas, and turn them into products that will drive growth through 2010 and beyond.

Smith knew that successful companies in other industries, such as General Electric and Procter & Gamble, had developed processes for quickly developing new products and he set about taking the best practices of those models to create an innovation framework for Farmers. The end result: IdeaPoint.

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