Officials celebrate grand opening of innovation center

Appearing at the opening of the Independence Blue Cross Center for Innovation are, from left, Greg Deavens, chief financial officer of Independence Blue Cross; Rob Wonderling, president and CEO, Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia; Claire Greenwood, executive director, CEO Council for Growth; Michelle Histand, director of innovation at Independence; Deborah Diamond, president of Campus Philly; Daniel Hilferty, CEO of Independence; and Charlie Pizzi, chairman of the Independence Health Group board. — PHOTO BY AYANA JONES

Health insurance provider Independence Blue Cross has opened the Center for Innovation — a physical space geared toward engaging its employees and the public.

The two-story, 30,000-square-foot facility in Independence’s Center City headquarters features large meeting rooms, open lounge areas, a café, a pitch room, a lending library area and a game room.

“This incredible new space is really a reflection of our company’s mission to enhance the health and well-being of the people and communities that we serve,” Gregory E. Deavens, executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer of Independence Blue Cross said during the center’s grand opening.

Officials said the newly designed space will support the company’s external and internal innovation efforts.

“Today’s opening of this center is another example of the commitment that Independence has always made and continues to make that helps put our region on the map — that is really part of a broader effort to make Greater Philadelphia the global hub of talent, research, capital, entrepreneurship in selling gene therapy and connective health,” said Claire Greenwood, executive director and CEO of the Council for Growth, Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia.

The center was designed with two objectives in mind, including providing spaces for quiet reflection and group collaboration and creativity.

“Our new Center for Innovation is a home for the work we do with organizations across the region to find solutions to critical challenges in health care and beyond,” said Independence CEO Daniel J. Hilferty in a news statement. “Just as importantly though, it is a space that serves as a catalyst for building meaningful connections between people doing innovative work across the region and inspiring and igniting new ideas.”

The new space on the 13th and 14th floors of 1901 Market St. is the last piece of the company’s seven-year renovation and campus project on the West Market corridor.

The 13th floor is focused on Independence’s work for external partners, including customers, health care professionals and community leaders. The company’s Innovation team will use the space to run brainstorming and planning sessions, host events and develop solutions to meet everyday challenges.

The 14th floor is for internal use. It will be used to help foster innovation and creativity among employees.

Deborah Diamond, president of Campus Philly, said the Innovation Center was instrumental in helping the organization’s team re-imagine how they could better communicate to the region’s college students.

“For Campus Philly it will help us continue to have an impact in this region, but for organizations like ours it will really guarantee that Philadelphia becomes and will continue to be the center of innovation for the world,” Diamond said.

ajones@phillytrib.com (215) 893-5747

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