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10 Game-Changing Examples of Intrapreneurship Programs Driving Innovation in Leading Organizations

Gmail, Google News, and Google Adsense exist thanks to Google’s 20% intrapreneurship program. Employees got the time and resources to make these apps a reality. Without this freedom, these innovations wouldn’t be in our lives today.

Like Google, other top companies get it. They’re boosting innovation by nurturing intrapreneurs. These trailblazers get dedicated programs to flex their entrepreneurial muscles.

Why should you care? Research shows intrapreneurship ramps up innovation, agility, and profits. This article dives into 10 programs changing the game for employees and companies alike.

UQBATE by Deutsche Telekom

UQBATE is a 3-month intrapreneurship accelerator program by Deutsche Telekom, focusing on transforming employee ideas into viable projects.

Intrapreneurship Programs #1 - UQBATE by Deutsche Telekom

Source – Telekom

The journey kicks off with the Initial Design Phase. Here, participants think freely about their ideas, join meetups to get feedback and learn the art of pitching their innovations. Once they have a solid idea, they can apply for the next big step: the Acceleration Scholarship.

If their idea is chosen, they move to the Scholarship stage. This phase includes rigorous lean startup training, bootcamps, and regular coaching sessions. Additionally, participants engage in weekly team reviews and attend insightful lectures on various aspects of business growth. 

At the end of the journey, teams showcase their work at UQBATE DEMODAY, held at Telekom’s headquarters. 

The program is structured but flexible. Each year sees two batches, with 6-9 teams each, all equipped with a suite of tools like business model canvases, idea development guides, and market research tools. 

Importantly, Telekom champions entrepreneurial freedom; any startup born from UQBATE allows the entrepreneur to hold 100% of the shares initially. Telekom may choose to invest later if there’s mutual synergy.

With 400 ideas tested and standout projects like the Zuqi platform and MyComoda virtual wardrobe, UQBATE has not only generated revenue but has also spotlighted the deep well of entrepreneurial talent within Telekom.

Also read – How Can You Increase Engagement with Innovators in the Enterprise?

Bizlab by Airbus

Airbus BizLab stands as a beacon for both budding entrepreneurs and intrapreneurial projects within Airbus. 

Intrapreneurship Programs #1 - Bizlab by Airbus

Source – Airbus

Under this program, startups are ushered into a rigorous six-month acceleration journey. Within this phase, they are mentored by a diverse team of international experts, given enriching networking opportunities and provided with vivid co-working spaces. 

The criteria for the selection of startups in the Bizlab program depends on Airbus goals. They pick ones that align with the Airbus mission—be it emission reduction, robotics, artificial intelligence, or any of their other specified sectors.

Since 2015, Airbus BizLab’s illustrious track record boasts the acceleration of 72 startups and 54 internal projects, bringing in a total of €23.5 million. With four global campuses stationed in Toulouse, Hamburg, Bangalore, and Madrid, it truly offers a global network to its employees. 

And the best part? Airbus doesn’t take a share in these startups or put its money into them. This means the startups can grow freely. In short, Airbus BizLab is like a school for new ideas, helping them grow and succeed.

Also read – How can you Shortlist and Select Promising Ideas for Patent?

EDF Luminus Internal Innovation Incubator #NEXT

EDF Luminus has taken a bold step forward in promoting internal innovation. Through their ‘# NEXT’ incubator program, they’ve established a unique collaboration with ‘Start it @KBC’, Belgium’s largest startup hub. For an intensive three months, selected EDF Luminus teams step away from their usual roles and dive into a realm of innovation and exploration.

Intrapreneurship Programs #2 - EDF Luminus Internal Innovation Incubator #NEXT

Source – Start It X

What makes this program stand out is the immersive experience it offers. Participants are integrated into the vibrant ecosystem of ‘Start it @KBC’, where they have access to a diverse network of industry experts and get a personal mentor who’s already a successful entrepreneur.

In addition to this, the teams from EDF Luminus have the privilege of using co-working spaces spread across six distinct locations that give them an opportunity to meet professionals from diverse fields like law, tech, and marketing.

Additionally, the program is enriched with an array of workshops. These sessions are designed to help participants refine their ideas, master the nuances of pitching, and ensure that their innovative concepts are positioned for success.

With the #NEXT incubator, EDF Luminus is making innovation a big part of their company, building a place where great ideas grow and shine.

Also check out – Invention Disclosure Form Word/Excel Template [Downloadable].

Kickbox at Swisscom

Swisscom’s Kickbox isn’t just another innovation program—it’s an innovative space where employees’ dreams meet reality. Open 365 days a year, Kickbox is dedicated to nurturing Swisscom talents, providing them with the tools, time, and resources to translate their brilliant ideas into actionable business models.

Intrapreneurship Programs #3 - Kickbox at Swisscom

Source – Swisscom

There are three stages involved throughout this program:

RedBox – The Idea Genesis: Over two months, participants dedicate 20% of their working hours to validating and testing the potential of their ideas. They are given an initial fund of CHF 1,000, with which they aim to convince Swisscom experts of their business idea. 

BlueBox – Bringing Ideas to Life: Once a dedicated sponsor is onboard, kickboxers test their pilots with real-life customers, making the most of Kickbox’s robust resources. Spanning 4-6 months and still occupying 20% of their work time, this phase is where concepts are fine-tuned, ensuring they resonate with end-users.

GoldBox – Scaling Heights: Proving their potential in the earlier stages, kickboxers now have the exciting opportunity to scale their idea, be it within a dedicated department, as a standalone project, or even as a spin-off. Here, their commitment can range from 20% to a full 100% of their working time. 

Throughout these stages, the real essence of Kickbox is the culture of feedback and collaboration. Kickboxers share thoughts, get real-time feedback, and polish their pitches. They learn valuable skills like presenting and taking charge of their ideas. 

The program has turned over 700 employee ideas into real projects. Plus, it’s led to 40 other new solutions. At Kickbox, it’s not just about great ideas but also about growing together as a team.

Entrepreneurial Immersion and Secondment program by HUL

With their Entrepreneurial Immersion and Secondment Program, Hindustan Lever is giving some of their middle-tier employees a chance to step into the fast-paced world of startups. 

Intrapreneurship Programs #4 - Entrepreneurial Immersion and Secondment program by HUL

Source – Economic Times

The program can last as short as three months or as long as two years. Participants get to work with young, dynamic startups linked to Unilever Ventures. If an employee joins a startup for less than a year, HUL covers the bills. If it’s longer, the startup helps with the costs. In this longer option, the employee will join the startup team, but they can come back to a new job at HUL later.

Mostly, employees with 7-12 years of experience get this chance. Last year, 10 startups got a golden ticket to HUL’s resources, and in return, HUL learned about the latest tech and innovative strategies these startups are using.

Must Read: Innovation Strategy: How To Develop One For Your Organization and Best Practices

People’sLab4Good by BNP Parihas

Since its launch in 2018, BNP Paribas’ People’sLab4Good has been on a mission to bring employees’ business ideas to life, turning them into projects ready for real-world application. Till date, the program has trained 87 dedicated intrapreneurs across five batches. 

These enthusiastic participants undergo specialized training in startup methods focused on social and community-driven outcomes. 

Intrapreneurship Programs #5 - People'sLab4Good by BNP Parihas

Source – BNP Parihas

The driving force behind People’sLab4Good works on three main objectives:

  • Personal Transformation: Encouraging employees to contribute to a just economy.
  • Business for Good: Accelerating business models that bring about tangible good in society.
  • Enhancing Employer Branding: Making BNP Paribas an even more attractive place to work.

Aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the intrapreneurial ventures mainly cater to promoting education, ensuring equal opportunities, safeguarding the environment, and enhancing microfinance and entrepreneurial support.

About one-third of the projects under this program are integrated into BNP Paribas’ main business offerings. Retaining its core strengths—exploratory design thinking, a test & learn approach, and robust ecosystem networking—People’sLab4Good eagerly awaits new applications each year, enabling more employees to think outside the box and make a change.

Also read – Employee Innovation Program: Best Practices to Implement it in Your Organization.

Delivery Service Partner Program at Amazon

Amazon is reshaping the path to entrepreneurship with its “Delivery Service Partner Program” in the US. 

Intrapreneurship Programs #6 - Delivery Service Partner Program at Amazon

Source – CNBC

Recognizing the potential within its workforce, the retail giant is offering employees the chance to transition from their current roles and embark on a journey of owning and running a package delivery business.

The beauty of this program lies in its comprehensive support structure. The company offers financial help by covering startup costs of up to $10,000. Plus, to help new business owners get on their feet, Amazon will match three months of the employee’s last salary. 

But the support doesn’t stop there. Those who join this program will get continuous delivery volume, cutting-edge delivery technology, hands-on training, and even branded assets like customized vans and uniforms from Amazon. 

Since its inception in 2018, the program has already birthed over 200 new small businesses in the U.S. And, in testament to its success and global vision, Amazon is extending this opportunity to its employees in the UK and Spain as well.

For those eyeing entrepreneurial pursuits, Amazon is not just offering a job change but a life change. 

Also read – 7 Key Benefits an Idea Management Software Provides to a Business.

In-Genius at Nestle 

Nestlé’s very own internal innovation accelerator, In-Genius, is turning the untapped potential of over 300,000 global employees into game-changing solutions. With the aid of a crowdsourcing platform, Nestlé employees get the chance to voice their creative ideas, gather valuable feedback, and even form collaborative teams. 

Intrapreneurship Programs #7 - In-Genius at Nestle 

Source – Nestle

The most popular ideas get scrutinized by experts, fine-tuned for business potential, and then fast-tracked through an incubation phase. With InGenius, the company ensures the creation of a minimum viable product in as short as 3-6 months.

Since 2014, InGenius has been a roaring success. The platform has seen a massive engagement of 65,000 employees from 110 countries, bringing forth over 7,000 innovative ideas. Among the many breakthroughs, 14 cutting-edge solutions have been developed, ranging from high-tech ventures with artificial intelligence and virtual reality to impactful creations like low-cost water sensors. 

Also read – 22 Tips to Master the 5 Skills of Disruptive Innovators.

Grow by Bosch 

Grow is an internal incubator program of Bosch for budding startups and entrepreneurs right inside the organization. The program’s journey is structured like an adventure, with each phase designed to equip participants with essential skills. 

Source – Bosch

First, there’s ‘Safari,’ an introductory workshop for Bosch employees, offering them insights into the startup world and the lean startup methodology. Next in line is ‘Expedition,’ a rigorous 2.5-day program where selected teams tweak their ideas with expert coaching. The best teams then go to the ‘Discovery’ stage, a 10-week accelerator program where they work hard on their ideas and finally present them for incubation funding.

Over the past five years, Grow’s nurturing environment in Ludwigsburg has seen 8 teams embark on this transformative journey. They’re provided with workshops on entrepreneurship, business modeling, and user experience, all in a bid to mold them into high-performing entities. 

The success stories of this intrapreneurship program are evident. Two teams from the 2014 batch, one focused on robotics for logistics and another on IoT in agriculture, have integrated back into Bosch, scaling their business ideas, while others, like UrbanMates, have even made their mark on the open market.

Chemovator, the Corporate Incubator at BASF

BASF, in 2018, established its corporate intrapreneurship program named “Chemovator” to enable BASF’s employees to transform their innovative ideas into real projects.

Source – BASF

The process of the Chemovator program is meticulous. If any employee has an idea, they can team up with two or three other people. Together, they get advice from experts outside of BASF. There’s also a main team at Chemovator that helps with everything else, so these groups can focus just on their new idea. The whole program lasts two years, and at any time, they can have up to 12 of these teams working on different ideas.

To decide which ideas get a chance in this program, they have special pitch days. It’s like a show-and-tell for grown-ups where they present their ideas.

The efficacy of Chemovator’s efforts is evident. In April, Chemovator proudly announced its premier corporate spin-out, BOXLAB Services GmbH. Over the past five years, BASF workers have shared over 200 ideas. 30 of those got a chance in the program. 

Some of these ideas went back to the main BASF company, while others became their own separate companies. Right now, eight teams are busy working on their ideas in the Chemovator program.

Also read – 7 ways to Encourage Innovative Thinking at Your Workplace.

Ready to jumpstart your Intrapreneurship journey?

The above examples have showcased the power of intrapreneurship and how a strategic approach is required to implement a successful intrapreneurship program in your organization. Here are some actionable steps to take the plunge: 

  • Define the purpose and goals of the program, 
  • Set aside a budget, 
  • Plan for training and development, 
  • Create a platform or system where employees can submit their ideas and 
  • Regularly solicit feedback from participants to understand what’s working and what needs improvement. 

Intrapreneurship programs can lead to innovative ideas that are patent-worthy. But before you put those ideas into action, consider safeguarding them. Patents can offer that essential protection.

The TIP Tool™ by Triangle IP streamlines the process. It’s a user-friendly, drag-and-drop tool that helps turn ideas into patents while keeping track of each step.

Interested in securing your team’s innovations? Register on the TIP ToolTM today to get started!

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