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Posted September 20, 2021

Employee innovation


The best ideas can come from anyone and from anywhere. That’s the inspiration behind WEX’s Innovation Challenge, which is just one annual opportunity any employee in our benefits division has to shape the experience our partners, clients, participants, and consultants have with us. Watch the video below for our complete Benefits Buzz episode on the Innovation Challenge and the importance of giving everyone a voice.

What is the Innovation Challenge’s mission?

The mission: How do we get all employees thinking outside the box to come up with ideas on providing the best benefits experience? It takes imagination. It takes innovation. And it takes everyone. 

“I think we have a lot of smart people in this company,” said Matt Dallahan, senior vice president of strategy and product development for WEX’s benefits division. “The best in the business. How do we reach out to folks to see what they’re thinking about, what their ideas are.”

Dallahan said that while the Innovation Challenge might sound a little like hack-a-thons, he really didn’t want this challenge to be limited to the tech teams.

“I really don’t want this to be just something that is part of the tech team where they write some code,” Dallahan said. “Great ideas are awesome and fun, but if they’re not practical operationally or we’re not able to sell them or we’re not able to market them effectively, what good does it do us?”

How does it work? 

Each year, the Innovation Challenge takes place with three phases:

  • In the first phase, employees are on their own and submit ideas for consideration. From there, a panel considers all of the ideas and narrows it down to 10. 
  • In the second phase, which is the proof-of-concept phase, the employees behind the 10 ideas are challenged to come up with a working prototype of their idea. 
  • In the third and final phase, the individuals behind the 10 ideas form teams with members of different skill sets so they can present the prototypes to the panel. From that, a winner is chosen. 

What’s one solution that came from it?

Anne Jensen, who is a senior product manager for user experience in our benefits division, was suffering from back pain. She was seeing neurologists, physical therapists, and other doctors. In order to file her benefits claims, she needed to submit each Explanation of Benefits (EOB) she was receiving, since EOBs typically contain the information required by the IRS to serve as documentation for medical flexible spending account (FSA) claims. 

From that experience, Jensen came up with the idea for EOB Smart Scan, which lets participants scan an EOB right from their mobile app and auto-fill expense details. 

“When you’re in pain, the last thing you want to do is try to figure out how do I get my money out,” Jensen said. “I just want to take a picture of this and file my claim. And that’s really where that idea came from.” 

Check out our video below to learn more about EOB Smart Scan. 

The information in this blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not legal or tax advice. For legal or tax advice, you should consult your own counsel. 


Hayden Goethe

Hayden is a content marketer for the benefits division of WEX. Hayden joined WEX in 2017 after nearly 15 years in journalism as an editor, writer, and designer. He's focused on providing thought leadership content to help our audiences get the most out of their benefits experience.

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