Innovation is one of the most overused words in business today. That doesn’t make what it represents any less imperative though. Innovation could be described as turning an idea into a solution that adds true value from a customer’s perspective.
However, at IFS it means even more than that; it’s about staying relevant!
Innovation at Work
We operate in a world where “the fast fish eats the slow fish” and we need to adapt and evolve faster than our competitors to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers, partners, and other stakeholders.
We already have a world-class go-to-market and product development team in IFS, but to stay relevant and differentiate we simply need to leverage the innovation power of ALL our 4,000 employees! Every IFS employee needs to think of themselves as innovators, as intrapreneurs, who have the responsibility and opportunity to innovate in their day job as well as realize ideas “outside the box”!
To achieve this, we need to put in place simple processes that make it easy (and fun!) to go from idea to realized solution, within our existing organization as well to capture ideas outside our normal roadmaps!
Our target is simply to “democratize” innovation – everyone can be an innovator and a successful intrapreneur.
Therefore, we came up with the IFS Incubator Challenge!
About the IFS Incubator Challenge
We launched the Incubator Challenge in mid-2019 and it didn’t take long for our mailbox to fill up with innovative pitches from employees all over the world.
IFS Incubator is a Shark Tank-like program intended to harvest innovation among all IFS’s talented employees who work every day with our customers. As a complement to or world-class go-to-market teams, product development teams and IFS Labs teams, IFS Incubator looks for business, product and technology ideas outside our normal roadmaps that will help our customers, prospects, partners and other stakeholders become more competitive in any way possible. The objective is to bring ideas to life within 12-18 months, regardless of what type of innovative idea it is.
In order to move at a fast pace, we break the process down into four steps:
- Formulate and document your idea
- Submit your idea in a video and presentation pitch
- Pitch to the ‘Shark Tank’. The jury looks for new ideas for products, services or offerings currently outside of our current scope, but still of interest for our customers. Intrapreneurs who demonstrate ambition, energy and a willingness to work hard to win will have an advantage!
- Start work! Resources and support will be assigned to realizing the idea, and the intrapreneur will have a key role in making it happen.
Keeping the process simple allows for our intrapreneurs to go from pitch to execution to commercialization quickly. Employees compete for the opportunity to bring their ideas to life, along with a cash prize and further remuneration.
We have gone to great lengths to keep the competition as open and caveat-free as possible so that employees from all parts of the business can enter. So, get innovating today!
Our 2019 Winner: Customers at the Center of a Great Idea
It’s been an honor to review all the great submissions and witness firsthand the innovative genius of our own staff. The task to select a winner was not an easy one because of the high quality of all the fantastic submissions we received.
The winner of the Incubator Challenge was IFS Director of Software Development Nuwan Perera, who designed a great concept for giving customers and partners access to a special marketplace. This idea has been combined with other aspirations in the area of “Commerce” and is right now being scoped for specific deliverables.
What’s ahead – More Intrapreneurs!
The incubator program had a great start – we have gone from launch to realization of the first winner’s idea in just 6 months! However, with the innovation power of all IFS employees I am convinced we can bring many more ideas to life. Therefore, I challenge all my IFS colleagues – let’s get more Incubator winners this year!
Watch for more in 2020 as we continue to focus on new ways to deliver the functionality and value our customers have come to expect from us. Innovation is about staying relevant!
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