In preparation for the Intrapreneurship – Get Up To Speed event at NUMA Paris on April 14th, where I will present the Rapid Innovation model in relationship with Intrapreneurship, I had a short chat with Hans Balmaekers, the event organizer, about intrapreneurship.
1) Hans: It seems Intrapreneurship is taking off in France. Why is that?
Nicolas: Large and medium size companies realize that innovation shall not be the monopoly of Silicon Valley startups, and that they have an obligation, and many opportunities, to sparkle innovation from the inside. Examples include corporate fab labs, participative innovation, innovation centers, innovation studios. These tools shall be combined wisely with corporate historical assets: customer base, international footprint, technological know-how, and brand value.
A recent association which I’m part of, The Hacktivateurs, illustrates this vivid and holistic entrepreneurial wave.
To complement innovation from the inside with innovation from the outside, open innovation offers a wide range of possibilities. Orange has activated a good number of these tools: learning expeditions (with the help of Orange Silicon Valley), crowd-innovation / open innovation with users (Imagine with Orange, Lab Orange), cocreation on common platforms (Orange Datavenue, and Orange Partner), corporate accelerators for startups (Orange Fab network), corporate capital venture (Orange Digital venture), …
2) Hans: On stage in Paris you will share your case study. As a taster, can you share what was your biggest challenge since you started?
Nicolas: I belong To Orange Vallée, a small entity within Orange Innovation division, to address untapped innovation opportunities in fast-track mode. One of the biggest challenge is the adoption of innovation. The change that innovation brings has to be perceived as a solution, not a problem. Therefore, I have developed a model called ‘Rapid Innovation’ which builds on 4 principles to help innovation to find its market: autonomy, creative tension, strategic alignment, and modular design. Come to Paris event, and you will discover what ‘Rapid Innovation’ holds in store!
3) Hans: What’s the next step for your intrapreneurial project/program?
One of Orange big asset is its international footprint and culture encompassing over 30 countries in Europe and Africa. In these countries we have very close relationship with our users. Imagine with Orange is our crowd-innovation platform that let users circulate their creative idea across the Internet, and get support from the community and from Orange experts.
It’s also a free-way to let Orange employees express their ideas for digital innovation. With Imagine with Orange, by mixing internal ideas with external feedbacks, and reversely, we get the best of both worlds. After one year and a half, we have reached 7,850 members, from 56 countries, having shared +1350 ideas. Share your ideas, Orange is helping you to give them life!
We are also opening an Intrapreneurs Studio to incubate Orange employees who gave an innovation idea, and help them turn it into a business for Orange.
4) Hans:What’s next for intrapreneurship in France?
Nicolas: Intrapreneurship is not only about collecting ideas, and rewarding best pitches. It’s about transforming ideas into projects, and projects into innovations with a tangible market. I believe that several projects have to be selected and concurrent tools implemented (idea owner coaching, multidisciplinary and collocated innovation team, outcubation, innovation committee / not roadmap committee, …) to bring ideas to market. Innovation is a game of number: you have to roll-out parallel initiatives to let intrapreneurship thrive.