"5x5x5" sounds like a mathematical equation or a piece of lumber. But for more than 100 Prudential Individual Life Insurance employees, “5x5x5” represents something much more interesting—and inventive.

Why all the fives? The group pioneered a new framework in which diverse teams of five people have five days to develop portfolios of five business-related experiments that cost no more than $5,000 each and take up to five weeks to implement. “The goal is to develop concepts with projected values that can be validated with experiments,” says Chip Cavallo, a director in Systems Development in Individual Life Insurance.

“5x5x5” is a process designed to help businesses conceive of simple, fast and inexpensive experiments to help generate ideas and drive innovation, according to Bob Bastian, Individual Life Insurance's chief information officer. Bastian was introduced to this unconventional, rapid-fire framework when he read the book, "The Innovator’s Hypothesis." “I was intrigued by its premise of having small teams collaborate on various business experiments and have them compete against one another,” Bastian says.

Bastian decided to test the concept within the Life Technology area and engaged others in Individual Life Insurance. In fact, he says, the exercise was in itself an experiment. “It’s one that enabled us to gain several clever ideas that have potential," he says. "Our next step is to more closely evaluate the leading ones and see if we can put them into action.”


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