Nelnet Case Study

Empowering Employees with the Tools, Training, and Resources Needed to Test and Validate Their Ideas


Industry - Banking

Company Size - 10,000

Use Cases - Continuous Improvement











The Challenge

Nelnet is a leader in the Ed-Tech industry that focuses on education-related products and services. Since 1978, Nelnet has been living their vision of making dreams possible by providing student loan servicing solutions, tuition payment processing, as well as various educational planning and financing services.

Nelnet wanted to foster a culture of innovation by empowering employees with the tools, training, and resources they needed to effectively test and validate their ideas. They had been working with another innovation management platform who had a great toolset, but they found the system was complex to use based on their use case.

The Solution

The complexity of Nelnet’s current innovation management platform combined with a pricing model that wasn’t flexible enough based on Nelnet’s needs resulted in the organization deciding to make the change over to Ideawake. Ideawake worked closely with The Nelnet Team to quickly transition them to their new platform helping with platform configuration, rollout, and tapping into Ideawake’s pre-built promotion plans. Nelnet took advantage of Ideawake’s customizable workflows to more effectively intake, assign, and track progress on ideas throughout their innovation pipeline. They are also heavy users of Ideawake’s real time chat, mentions, and automated reminders to foster better collaboration between employees across multiple locations and states.

"We made the change from Brightidea to Ideawake because of Ideawake's ease of use, superior strategic support, and their teams flexibility in designing a plan that met Nelnet's specific needs. Ideawake has been a great partner in helping Nelnet expand a culture of innovation in the organization and streamlining our innovation events."

Brian Ardinger, Director of Innovation at Nelnet

The Results

Since going live with Ideawake, Nelnet has launched 10 challenges spanning a variety of topics including improving customer experience and how to best leverage the emerging AI trend. They also host an annual IT Hackathon focused on giving a space for team members to share ideas, build teams, and present opportunities they they otherwise wouldn’t have the time to work on during their day-to-day role at the organization. To date, 463 ideas have been submitted with 17 ideas implemented and another 7 currently in implementation.

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