There isn’t a business in the world that doesn’t aspire to be a community for innovation, and they all have different approaches for it: be that from making innovation a strategic priority, working with external agencies to forge new ideas, setting specific goals for R&D or making a broader effort to make idea generation and innovation part of the corporate culture.
One route we take every year with the ambition of making innovation very much part of the DNA of our business: we organize an internal idea generation contest tailored around key areas for our company. Employees submit their business ideas online, get feedback, discuss and work with colleagues from all around the world to develop them further. The best business ideas are selected and employees behind these ideas get to explore them to eventually become “Intrapreneurs.”.
The intrapreneurs are awarded a 5 day bootcamp workshop experience which gives them the opportunity to learn more about innovation, leadership and creativity. This year, the winners of the idea contest got a chance to meet different experts to work on their projects and to exchange with leaders of different companies to discover creative business ideas. This year we gave our thanks to Step-In: a mobile app startup. Their service rewards users every time they enter into a store, in the fast-moving world of retail technology (a topic that is close to our hearts, and which we have written on recently from a payments perspective). The startup already raised 600,000 euros from experienced Venture Capitalists in France, including Xavier Niel, CEO from Free.
Olivier Serfaty, founder of Step-In, met our future intrapreneurs and our innovation team to explain the journey from initial idea to successful business: proving the market, getting the pilot customers, learning from bad experiences and failures and so on. Olivier was also able to relate to previous startups he built to share his knowledge on leading a startup and on how to successfully bring an idea to market.
It was a fantastic session that gave us plenty of inspiration for bringing new technology innovations to the market, and one our intrapreneurs will be drawing on in the future. Watching and meeting startups has proved to be a great way for us to stay connected to the practicalities of new product or service innovation from concept to reality.