Making Digital Transformation Part of Your Culture
Every enterprise has creative thinkers among its staff, but how do you spot these ‘intrapreneurs’ and unlock their full potential to grow your business?
Technology is changing rapidly and customers are more aware then ever of their choices with thanks to channels such as social media. In this environment, companies need these ‘practical hacktivists’ to dream up new ways to meet the demands of consumers wanting personalisation on demand.
Practical intrapreneurs also represent a largely untapped opportunity within established enterprises, yet fostering internal innovation requires identifying talented individuals and understanding what makes them tick.
Engage with your ‘intrapreneurs’
The best intrapreneurs are able to imagine new ways to solve old problems as well as new ones. They’re also able to get others excited by their sheer passion and commitment and can demonstrate a clear path from their idea or concept to a practical reality.
Finding and fostering employees who think outside the box is not always easy, especially when rewarding innovative thinking or encouraging idea sharing is not already part of the company culture.
From its inception, Adobe has been committed to revolutionising how the world engages with ideas and information. We have always valued thought leadership and the ability of our employees to influence others.
Kick-starting an innovative mindset
To encourage and foster innovation Adobe launched ‘Kickbox’, an internal program where employees with ideas receive a shiny red box containing instruction cards, a pen, Post-It note pads, two notebooks, a coffee gift card, a bar of chocolate and a $1,000 prepaid credit card which can be used on anything without having to fill out an expense report.
The Kickbox program is open to all employees across the company, with the aim of inspiring employees to look for opportunities around them, follow their instincts and build on their own skills and experiences. Traditionally, companies have asked employees for ideas, then let corporate executives decide the fate of that idea. In this scenario, the idea never has a real opportunity to ferment and evolve through constructive feedback.
Fostering disruptive innovation
At Adobe we made the decision to remove the obstacles stopping people from innovating. We have given our employees the resources they need with as few constraints as possible.
The Kickbox program gives our employees the green light to just go ahead and throw their hat in the inno-vation ring. We have no prerequisites regarding existing skills – all you need is a willingness to learn and sufficient motivation to see your idea through all its various stages. We also offer tutoring from some of our leading innovators and allow people to test their idea with real consumers.
A key part of the process is learning through validation whether the customer likes the idea. Once an idea receives positive consumer feedback the staff member can pitch the idea to any number of executives as often as they like.
Innovation in action
Innovation is not easy – you run into obstacles and have to change what you’re doing and try again. Our employees embrace the opportunity because they are passionate about wanting their idea to succeed.
Kickbox has proven to be a successful way to harvest a huge variety of ideas. A good example of the effect the program has had to date is from our Boston office in the US. An employee named Eddie had an idea where the paper system regarding school homework could be replaced by an all-digital solution with a digital history available to students, teachers, and parents.
Since the initial Kickbox workshop, Eddie has received further support to develop his idea by adding a manager and a team. The experience has helped Eddie improve on a number of skills, from building a business case to acquiring backing from executives and creating an effective marketing pitch.
Eddie says Kickbox gave him a fresh perspective on his career. “If Adobe adopts this solution full-scale, and I can go through the company seeding ideas and creating new products, then that’s pretty awesome.”