Ralph Hartmeier, Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer at rready AG – formerly known as GETKICKBOX – is leading the Growth team being responsible for Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success. He reflects on some managers’ and Human Resources officers’ poor mindsets. Way too many times he must listen to people assessing employee-driven innovation basically as a good idea but don’t see it as an adequate solution for their own organization.
«I hear these cut and dried opinions over and over. Recently, I got an email response from a large company’s Chief Human Resources Officer. He stated that he likes what we do with our Kickbox program but thinks that the program wouldn’t work within his company as most of his employees are not working conceptually but in retail sales or logistics. I was taken aback by his words – as this was exactly the reason why I had approached him. Personally, I am convinced that ‘Kickbox’ is extremely applicable for any employee – independent of their background and given tasks.»
Why can everyone participate in this program?
Ralph explains, «The entire Kickbox program is structured in a playful way. The program focuses on fun and implicit (experiential) learning. The methodology is based on 'Lean Startup' and 'HCD' – but is structured in a practicable way so that any person – regardless of their background knowledge – can start and validate their own idea. The Kickbox marketing is not only targeted on non-manual wage earners, but also on employees at the frontline. That’s why we communicate in a playful and graspable way. It picks up people – no matter where they work and what they do. What I consider the most important thing is that every company working with this innovation program has to build up an internal brand and will reach thus everyone. So, why not letting dangle a huge canvas cover on a building or scaffolding? It’s important that the message 'You can do it, too!' reaches all employees.
Several success stories can be traced back to blue-collar workers, employees from stores and call centers, or employees with no or limited academic background. The fact is that frontline workers in particular see every day what is not optimal, why customers are not satisfied and where there is a need for improvement or change.
Besides coaching and support, the Kickboxers do also get a physical component - the toolbox – making the abstract topic of innovation much more tangible. It includes small gadgets like time vouchers and seed money but also the KICKBOOK – a helpful manual that guides the intrapreneurs through the process of validation. It is very user-friendly – or let’s say: kickboxer-optimized – because it is written in an understandable way. That means that there are neither foreign words nor lingo nor gobbledegook. Moreover, the targeted support of the rready coaches enables employees to follow up on their ideas themselves without exploding costs.
It does work!
Ralph’s own company, the rready AG, is the best example for this: what started off in a small team of intrapreneurs at Swisscom Digital a few years ago, turns now into a venture itself. GETKICKBOX reached its own GoldBox and evolves into rready AG. All young founders are passionate about creating an intrapreneurship movement and are therefore quite keen on growing the movement around employee-driven innovation in many other companies. It’s their declared aim to give bottom-up innovation a clear and loud voice.
Catching up Adobe’s idea
The rready team refined this multilayer innovation program from Adobe’s well-known Kickbox innovation methodology. Many companies worldwide used, use, and will use it in order to foster the innovative capacity of their employees. Ralph is convicted that the Kickbox program works for each and every company – regardless of the industry. And he finds proof for his thesis both in data and the experience with Kickbox over the last years since it is being successfully used by very different companies such as Implenia, SBB, and Siemens Energy. As a quintessence we can say that any company and any employee can enter the innovation program. Kickbox engages everyone.
More confidence, please!
«Idea submission is easier done than setting up a Linkedin profile,» encourages Ralph all potential enterprises and Kickboxers. «It really makes me sad to see that sometimes top-level managers have so little confidence in their staff. What makes it even worse is the fact that the people in question are heading the HR department. That brings me to a conclusion I have to make almost every single week: Many HR managers still regard their discipline as writing salary checks, hiring, and possibly employer branding. In my opinion – being in a war-for-talents and observing what new generations are looking for –, it is about high time to take on responsibility for upskilling and motivating the workforce, making sure that they all have a certain degree of self-actualization. The return on investment is straightforward: low staff-fluctuation, more customer centricity, and more efficient processes.»
Ralph likes to see top managers have more confidence in their employees – independent of their collar color. He says, «At rready, we believe in the biggest asset every company has: its employees. That’s why we provide Saas-solutions to enable all companies that are aware of their employees’ potential to start and scale their intrapreneurial initiatives. To all managers and persons in charge in the HR department: start now to unleash the full potential of your employees.»
Then it’s time to engage your employees and unleash the creativity from within. Our innovation solutions drive the inspiration employees need to do their best work. Together we can build a strong, lasting cultural change for your business, bottom-up. What are you waiting for?Get started today