Have you ever seen spots for a business meeting taken at the speed of ticket sell for a rock concert? No? The 100 guest seats for the Pitch Day of the Intrapreneurs Bootcamp were gone in no time. Just one week later 30 intrapreneurs from ten different countries all over the globe, who had never met in person, pitched six business concepts to a curious audience and top management.
I wish all the 9,500 GBS employees could have been here today and listen to the ideas and energy. It‘s inspiring and impressive to witness what you have developed in just three months.Hannes Apitzsch, CEO of Siemens GBS, live at the Intrapreneurs Bootcamp Pitch Day
Especially right now, in times of a global pandemic, we can see that innovation is the key to success. This holds true for businesses as well. In the past, the „power of the crowd“ was mostly used in companies to detect incremental, process related optimizations while innovation was driven from the headquarters in strategic or R&D departments. Statistically speaking, good ideas are evenly distributed throughout the whole organization and result mostly from teamwork and interaction. This usually leaves 90% of innovation potential in large companies, and thereby additional business, untapped.
Therefore, Siemens Global Business Services and Siemens Technology joined forces to run an Intrapreneurs Bootcamp as part of a newly set up incubation program, NextGBS. The intrapreneurs bootcamp was designed by Siemens Technology to develop employees into intrapreneurs and generate business ideas.
Not only due to the Covid-19 circumstances, but also because of the different time zones of our globally spread participants, we held this three months bootcamp at GBS completely virtually. Our goal: Creating promising business ideas and a crowd of resilient, self-driven intrapreneurs.
A very well-balanced and time boxed mix between providing a tool set for innovation projects was key to develop the participants to leverage the advantages of a vivid corporate innovation ecosystem and developing the people along with their idea in the intrapreneurial journeyVanessa Westphal, NextGBS, Global Business Services
The foundation of the Intrapreneurs Bootcamp consists of three key pillars „people, projects and ecosystem“. Each of them provide an essential puzzle piece to the intrapreneurial journey. This article is the focusing on the first of the three pillars, PEOPLE, is the essence. Because PEOPLE build the basis.
Innovation is the outcome of a willing contribution of creativity fostered by a culture of human centricity in an organizationPhilip Horváth, LUMAN
One of the greatest risks to innovation is the intrapreneur herself. A new project, especially an intrapreneurial project, has multiple areas of risk: Can we turn the project into a viable business? Is there a customer who actually wants this and is willing to pay for it? Does it make sense for our collective future, and does it fit with what is happening in the ecosystem?
For most of these questions, there are tools and methods to decrease risk. We can ensure we build a solid business model, we can test our assumptions with customers, using design thinking and lean startup methodologies, and we can assess the market, utilizing the Siemens innovation ecosystem of experts, market access, vendors, competitors, startups and other stakeholders to ensure a fit.
But will the intrapreneur actually have the resilience and grit required to bring the innovation to fruition? Does she and her team have the personal and interpersonal tools to handle conflict that arises? To use conflict as a tool for creativity rather than a death sentence? Do they know how to set up a proper foundation for the team that allows creating together amidst volatility and uncertainty? Do they know how to self-regulate and engage in appropriate selfcare to ensure they can persist?
Becoming an intrapreneur is more than methods and tools, it implies a mindset shift, full commitment and leveraging a fertile ecosystem.Christoph Krois, Siemens Technology
The Intrapreneurs Bootcamp was founded in 2017 by Siemens Technology in partnership with LUMAN. It focused since its inception, beyond the methods, on the cultural aspects which create the mindset shift that is required to become a successful intrapreneur.
From Employee to Intrapreneur
Most people have been trained to execute. From our schooling to every new job, we are given clear expectations and are then fulfilling on these expectations. Most business is repetitive execution. Employees execute on processes.
For intrapreneurs to succeed, they have to go beyond fulfilling on expectations. They have to become intrinsically motivated to create value.
A clear connection to personal purpose creates a natural basis for intrinsic motivation. Purpose requires both personal meaning – an idea of an aspirational self – and a measurable impact in our environment – we have to create value for someone.
Purpose was the starting point for connecting participants to “what mattered” to them. It provided them with a strong framing around businesses that are not just viable for the company and desirable by a customer, but also a business that creates positive impact, and is first and foremost meaningful to them – providing them with the motivation and resilience to persist in spite of the corporate immune system.
“Meaning” comes from the German “meinen” which translates “to make mine”. The Intrapreneurs Bootcamp encourages participants to make the company theirs by developing ideas addressing customer problems. These ideas have the potential to not just make money as a business, but also create a positive contribution to the future. Thereby intrapreneurs take ownership of innovation within the strategic direction of the company.
In the Bootcamp we focused on ownership culture, connecting the personal purpose to the organizational purpose: Make real what matters.Ilaria Carrara Cagni, Siemens Technology
With that, the Bootcamp became not just about creating yet another business idea, but about taking ownership of creation and the organization as a whole.
Using the vehicle of business building
People learn best while doing. Applying tools for conflict resolution while having a conflict about something that matters will create much more lasting impact than learning about conflict resolution in a seminar, and at best role playing.
The bootcamp includes sections with time compression where participants get stressed, which shows them how they show up in volatile and uncertain environments. Providing them with tools to ensure appropriate selfcare and offer them trainings to build stress resilience, gave participants a deep understanding of what it means, and what it requires, to thrive in a high-performance environment.
A “Zero Regret” Program
Business ideas come and go and most of them fail. Transforming employees to become (serial) intrapreneurs has permanent benefits. Learning about authenticity, psychological safety, agreements and commitment, providing value to a customer, and about how to activate their personal genius, provides them with insight into who employees need to become in a world when technology is taking care of executing on business models.
Feedback to the Intrapreneurs Bootcamps shows that participants benefit greatly as individuals especially about their capacity to contribute value to the organization. Several participants advance in their careers, especially also taking roles in innovation. Applying their learnings in their respective home departments supports the cultural shift toward becoming more innovative as a company.
When we put our hearts and minds into transforming a reality, the biggest transformation is ourselves.Intrapreneur, Siemens Global Business Services
Video of an Intrapreneurs Bootcamp – Munich – AI edition – 2018
“Proof points” – Alumni successes
We surveyed part participants of the Intrapreneurs Bootcamp, results reveal:
- 95% increased focus on innovation to create corporate and social impact
- 88% inspired to seize new opportunities
- 90% identify as intrapreneurs after the bootcamp
- 84% increased resilience/capacity to overcome failure
- 90% report increased ability to collaborate across hierarchies and silos
- 96% increased sense of loyalty toward the company
Given the success of the first virtual bootcamp, we plan to repeat it as an annual program within our Global Business Services, hosted by the newly set up Incubator. Knowing that a mindset of intrapreneurship and transformation cannot be reached by one single annual program we plan to develop further offerings and set structures that enable intrapreneurship in place. Demand exists and is growing as many areas are in the process of digitalization and are forced to innovate in a changing ecosystem.
Now the question will be how we can scale the bootcamp to achieve an organic cultural transformation throughout the organization. Any suggestions? We are curious to hear your thoughts!
Feel free to comment below or connect with us via the Siemens Innovation Ecosystem: https://ecosystem.siemens.com/