The Challenge

Build a human-centered design capability within Intercorp.


La Victoria Lab (LVL) is now a team of 30+ designers and entrepreneurs who work side by side with IDEO in cross-disciplinary teams to tackle business problems across Intercorp’s 35 companies.

La Victoria Lab (LVL) is a group of designers, anthropologists, architects, and entrepreneurs working on improving the lives of the Peruvian middle class. Founded in 2014, LVL is the Innovation Lab of Intercorp, an economic group of 35 companies spanning banks, malls, cinemas, schools, health care clinics, and more. Intercorp was founded by Carlos Rodríguez-Pastor, one of Peru’s most successful entrepreneurs, employs more than 90,000 people, and accounts for almost 4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

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, 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 Innova Schools, a new school system, and to redesign Interbank's customer experience"

Success in these two projects bred 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 LVL 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. LVL’s 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 importantly, shakes up our leadership’s mindset.

Hernan Carranza, CIO of Intercorp

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.

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.

In 2015, the Lab began scaling its efforts to build innovation capabilities across all of the portfolio companies by using IDEO’s innovation readiness assessment, Creative Difference. Each company received a report of their strengths and improvement areas, and as a result, LVL facilitated workshops and community groups focused on building essential capabilities.

"Creative Difference is the first tool that has allowed my team and the organization to have a precise picture of where we are in the spectrum of doing truly innovative work. Now, we can identify our strengths and areas of improvement, we can develop work plans and actions based on data, and can start to really dig deep into innovation,” says Aurelia Alvarado, Director of Innovation, Innova Schools.

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

As LVL 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."

An Intercorp team celebrates their awards for two of the six essential creative qualities that are measured and tracked in Creative Difference, customer-centricity and employee empowerment, during Intercorp’s annual innovation festival.

Just as important as the projects it delivers is the wider intent of LVL. The aim is for IDEO’s role within La Victoria Lab to wane, as Intercorp’s waxes, and the company’s internal Innovation capability and culture strengthen. LVL’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.”

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

"For the latest developments on our work with Intercorp, head to "The Possibilities Business: An Oral History of Organization Transformation"