Big QuestionsOur work related to complex challenges.

The Challenge

Build a human-centered design capability within Intercorp.


La Victoria Lab, a design and innovation studio staffed by an interdisciplinary Intercorp and IDEO team, tasked with tackling business problems across the conglomerate’s portfolio of 35 companies.

La Victoria Lab is comprised of a group of designers, anthropologists, architects, and entrepreneurs working on improving the lives of the Peruvian middle class. Founded in 2014, it’s part of Intercorp, an economic group of more than 30 companies spanning banks, malls, cinemas, schools, and more. It’s owned by one of Peru’s most successful entrepreneurs, Carlos Rodríguez-Pastor. In total, Intercorp employs 80,000 people and accounts for 3.5% percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Rodríguez-Pastor and Intercorp’s destinies are intertwined with those of Peruvians. Peru is one of South America’s fastest growing economies, with a healthy 6 percent year-on-year growth from 2007 to 2017, on average. That rising economic tide, along with government policy, has created extraordinary social mobility: Between 2005 and 2017, the share of poverty fell from 55% to 22%, of a population of 32 million.

Julisa and Jairo Pineda, a young entrepreneur couple, helped researchers understand Peruvian needs. Jairo has a full-time job during the day and at night he and Julisa sell clothes they bring from China online.

Know The Customer

As Peruvians’ lives have improved, so the new middle class's needs and aspirations have changed: They’re entrepreneurial, expect great services, and want the best for their children. That challenge and opportunity led Rodríguez-Pastor to enlist IDEO to bring our empathic approach to the construction of a new school system, Innova, from the ground up, and to redesign their retail banking at Interbank.

Success there bred an ambition. Intercorp, Rodríguez-Pastor realized, needed to build two capabilities: a deep, bedrock understanding of the new middle class, and an innovation capability with which his companies could create new products, services, and experiences. “I want a little IDEO,” Rodriguez-Pastor said, and the germ of La Victoria Lab took root.

A Lab Takes Shape

In early 2014, as contractors broke ground on the Lab, its founders set about hiring an eclectic team from across the globe and undertook their first project: to deeply understand the needs, desires, hopes, and dreams of the emerging middle class.

Three months of ethnographic research was followed by three months of bringing their insights to life. The Lab team surrounded themselves with mementos of people’s lives: toys, products, ads, as well as video interviews with families, to help Intercorp’s executives literally step into the lives of their prospective customers.

La Victoria Lab reshapes the value proposition of Intercorp’s businesses and, more important, shakes up our leadership’s mindset.

Hernan Carranza, chief innovation officer, Intercorp

Solutions and Skills

Powered by those insights, La Victoria Lab has brought human-centered problem-solving to a variety of Intercorp’s companies, including new retail ventures, and improving the cinema-going and banking experience.

La Victoria Lab’s experiments are catalyzed by Intercorp’s scale, reach, and national ambition. Innova, for example, is now Peru’s biggest private school network with a total of 54 schools to date (read more about Innova here). And Interbank’s new experience is being rolled out to more than 180 branches nationally.

As it matures, its focus is changing, says Hernan Carranza, chief innovation officer, Intercorp. “There's a transition taking place at La Victoria Lab, from a studio undertaking typical design projects, to a platform for impact-led journeys that start at pipeline discovery, defining key performance indicators, all the way to implementation and stewardship."

Keep up to date with the latest projects from La Victoria:

In doing research to understand emerging Peruvian families, we interviewed Bertha Cassinelli, who goes to the market every day to buy the ingredients for that day's meals with the money her husband, Luis, gives her each day from his earnings as a taxi driver.

An Intercorp team celebrates their awards for customer-centricity and employee empowerment during Intercorp’s annual innovation festival.

Just as important as the projects it delivers is the wider intent of the Lab. The aim is for IDEO’s role within La Victoria to wane, as Intercorp’s waxes, and the company’s internal innovation capability and culture strengthen. The Lab's ventures range from mindset-changing initiatives, such as curating Peru's largest innovation festival, to deeply transformative endeavors targeted at reinventing the core value propositions of Intercorp's insurance, drugstores, and medical services. It envisions massive cross-organizational transformation.

“Innovation,” said Rodríguez-Pastor, “is too important to be outsourced.”

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