Adobe Digital Dialogue

May 29, 2017 /Creative Business /

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.
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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.”

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