Northwestern Mutual Opens Cream City Labs Innovation Center

The new center is designed to advance innovation, ideation and experimentation for employees and community partners, including local startups.

(Interior, Cream City Labs. Image source: Northwestern Mutual.)

Northwestern Mutual has announced the grand opening of its innovation lab, Cream City Labs, occupying 17,000 square feet at the company’s downtown Milwaukee headquarters. The lab is designed to advance innovation, ideation and experimentation for employees and community partners, including local startups.

Karl Gouverneur, VP of Digital Workplace, Corporate Solutions and Head of Digital Innovation, Northwestern Mutual.

The new center provides collaborative and creative space designed to encourage new ways of thinking to deliver a leading digital experience for the company’s clients and financial advisors, according to a Northwestern Mutual statement. In addition to physical space, Northwestern Mutual says that it has a dedicated digital innovation program, which includes initiatives such as an internal venture fund, hackathons and ideation campaigns, that has generated more than $100 million in business value since its inception nearly a decade ago.

Cream City Labs also includes a dedicated space for mentoring, design thinking and innovation focused events such as hackathons, meetups, STEM programming and training workshops to help advance innovation and technology in southeastern Wisconsin, the insurer reports.

“Cream City Labs demonstrates our commitment to providing our employees with skills, opportunities and space to innovate and embrace an entrepreneurial mindset as we work to transform how people experience financial security,” comments Karl Gouverneur, VP of digital workplace, corporate solutions and head of digital innovation, Northwestern Mutual. “The lab enables our employees to connect with digital innovators and creative thinkers both within and outside of the organization, driving innovation forward both in our company and our community.”

The innovation lab is open to all Northwestern Mutual employees and provides workspace for students and faculty in the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute. It also houses Cream City Venture Capital portfolio companies to provide access to Northwestern Mutual mentors, technologists and business resources as they grow their startups, the company reports

“Cream City Labs represents the next step in our company’s innovation journey as we continue to accelerate our creative planning and experimentation to secure a competitive advantage in a rapidly changing industry,” adds Gouverneur.

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Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at or (503) 936-2803.

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