Nationwide to Expand Innovation Space and Add New Jobs in Columbus

Big ideas need lots of space to roam. That’s why Nationwide has big plans to expand its innovation footprint in Columbus.

To continue meeting the evolving needs of our members, we will open a new 31,000-square-foot innovation center in the Arena District next year.

We already own the building at 175 W. Nationwide Blvd. along with our partner, Capital Square Ltd., so we’ll use space within that building to help drive new innovation for the benefit of our members. We will also be hiring several dozen new people to support innovation programs.

Nationwide’s heritage as a mutual insurance company inspires our approach to innovation. The expansion of our innovation facilities reflects our commitment to developing new ways to help members protect what’s most important and plan for a secure future. By repurposing a space we already own, we will cost effectively meet our growing business needs. It’s a win-win for both Nationwide and the Arena District.

Furthering Nationwide’s commitment to Columbus, the innovation center’s location in the middle of the Arena District will create additional opportunities for collaboration with companies and organizations throughout the city.

Nationwide continues to ramp up its innovation programs, and it expects to run out of space in its existing innovation center, Refinery 191, by the end of this year. Nationwide will eventually move all the work from Refinery 191 to the highly collaborative new innovation center, which is scheduled to open in 2019.

A space to enable customer-focused innovation

Nationwide is focused on establishing a repeatable approach to create a pipeline of innovation now and for years to come. A critical part of that structure is the physical space in which the team operates. Expanding our space will ensure that associates have the right environment and resources they need to support collaboration and create new opportunities to delight our members in ways they can’t even imagine.

Last August, we announced our commitment to drive more innovation that helps members:

  • Live comfortably in retirement
  • Meet their insurance and financial needs in novel and digital ways
  • Protect their data and digital assets
  • Protect them in the evolving area of mobility

Innovation is a team sport, and we need spaces that enable our associates to do the rigorous and collaborative work they need to do; that’s exactly what the new innovation center will provide.

Building the innovation team

Along with the space expansion, Nationwide plans to hire several dozen highly skilled workers for innovation roles in Columbus over the next year.

Nationwide will also move our user-experience (UX) team to the new center. Co-locating the UX team, which has been focused on creating user-centered customer solutions for over a decade, with the Innovation team allows for greater collaboration to help round out the team sport of innovation, Sanchez said. The move also establishes one unified space for user-centered design activities to create efficiencies for Nationwide and an optimal workspace for all user-centered designers within the organization.

In addition to housing these workers, the new center will help Nationwide attract talent.

Bringing together diverse perspectives is critical to any team’s success. This new space will be another great selling point as we continue to recruit top talent from right here in Columbus and from other innovation hubs across the country.

Nationwide is also investing more than $100M of venture capital in startups. Nationwide has already made investments in startups like blooom, Nexar, Sure, Matic and Betterview—all of which focus on evolving the insurance and financial planning process for members. And Nationwide continues to look for partnerships with big and small companies, where it can collaborate across organization boundaries and drive innovation together. This innovation center will further support this mission.