How can a large company like Swisscom remain agile and use the countless ideas in the heads of its employees to develop new products and services? Allow me to introduce Swisscom Kickbox!
Text: Michael Hunkeler,
Friday shortly before 9 a.m. at Konradstrasse 12 in Zurich: it's no ordinary morning at the Pirates Hub, Swisscom's innovation hub. Representatives from all Swisscom business areas - B2B, B2C, INI, and many more - are standing in the brightly coloured event space. What brought them here?
While many companies have now realised that innovation is rarely successful without external partners and start-ups in particular, there are often internal obstacles: creating a culture of innovation and empowering one's own employees to produce innovation is a major challenge, especially in terms of corporate culture. Swisscom was able to solve this problem with the Kickbox programme. The participants are Kickboxers who work on an innovative idea themselves, support it as experts or are involved as investors. Today, we are participating in a Kickbox Community Event.
The Swisscom Intrapreneurship Team, which has successfully established the "Kickbox" programme, welcomes the participants. Michael Hunkeler, Head of Swisscom Kickbox, gets straight to the point: "Intrapreneurship is not something you can establish in a company from one day to the next - we have to commit to an innovative culture every day and simply try things out! " The introduction is short, to the point and the Kickbox Community Event starts directly with pitches from the Kickboxers - true to the motto: No Blah, just do!
The concept of Kickbox originally came from Adobe. The software company created an internal innovation programme. The aim was to encourage employees to develop and test new ideas. Since 2016, Swisscom has further developed the concept and created an automated programme that gives every employee the opportunity to become the CEO of their own idea for Swisscom. An innovator starts her idea online with a few clicks and receives the Kickbox a few days later. The physical box contains a starting credit, a time budget, a manual on the innovation process and contact to her personal coach. In a multi-stage process, the idea is pushed forward, pitched to juries and, in the best case, approved for the next stage. The intrapreneur cannot hide behind hundreds of PowerPoint slides, but must - in line with the Lean Startup approach - quickly gather real customer feedback and push her idea forward iteratively.
After the coffee break, it's time to get to work: How do I test my kickbox idea efficiently? How do I manage to convince possible stakeholders? To what extent do corporate hierarchies and decision-making processes conflict with my idea, and how should I deal with this? These are just a few of the questions that the Swisscom Kickbox team and the Kickboxers are tackling with sticky-notes and heated discussions.
After the lunch break, we continue with a topic that can cause difficulties: How do I bring it all together in a few minutes? The teams get feedback on their pitches and refine them with the help of experts and other kickboxers. It is noticeable that the trick is often to leave out information and focus on the essentials. The kickboxers have lively discussions. The ideas are their babies and they are desperate to get the pitch right. Presentation skills and taking responsibility are just two of the many skills that the employees will take away from the Kickbox programme.
At the end of the workshop, everyone comes together to reflect on the day and share the next steps. The kickboxers are all in the same boat and such community events motivate immensely to pursue the visions further and hopefully make them reality. Afterwards, a relaxed exchange with beer and pizza is a must...
Swisscom employees can easily start and grow their innovative idea at any time with Kickbox. The physical box contains
In the multi-stage process, you will be accompanied by a coach to drive your idea forward, learn a lot and, in the best case, make your idea really big!
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