rready's Innovation Ecosystem
It’s been six years now since the first KICKBOX was handed out (at that time still internally at Swisscom) and since then it has won over many companies. Today, 23 companies share experience and knowledge from their KICKBOX projects – and there is a lot to share; not only internally but with everyone, says Dave Hengartner. Dave has been a part of the KICKBOX team since 2015 and in 2021, he co-founded rready - a company making it possible to join the KICKBOX community and profit from its large bundle of innovation expertise and entrepreneurial power. His current mission: building up the rready Innovation Ecosystem.
Hello Dave, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions. Let's start off by you telling us what the rready Innovation Ecosystem is all about.
It’s a vision, a platform where companies will meet and get together for cross-company collaboration, exchange of experience, and interaction. Our KICKBOX program started as an internal program promoting innovative ideas amongst employees. Then, other companies came onboard. They are all part of our ecosystem already. Now we are opening our ecosystem up to others, without any competition. It’s all about reaching out to experts in the companies. Every company has its experts – in different areas. We provide a place where companies can expand expertise by sharing the experiences of others, thus enriching the internal ecosystem. Our focus includes issues such as sustainability and the future of work, major topics that affect all of us.
Companies have their own ecosystems, the collaboration with our Innovation Ecosystem and the KICKBOX experiences is the step into creating up a larger community.
What happens if a company joins your Innovation Ecosystem?
The company will then get access to our marketplace. There, they can choose what will be of interest to them, such as getting insights into- or sharing experiences from a KICKBOX project, booking a certified KICKBOX coach or getting expertise from a certain company. There are also external services that can be booked, e.g., expertise from lawyers, designers, or developers. So, they will access knowledge, data, process experiences, and our networking channels. The Innovation Ecosystem network, the already existing community, hosts the companies which share their experiences from the KICKBOX process. To put it in a nutshell: knowledge is shared based on projects cross-company-wide, and customers get access to all services. It is our aim that the companies can use the same software. That way everyone will be working on the same platform and ideas can be developed on common ground.
Does the Innovation Ecosystem address only certain companies or any company ?
All companies can join the ecosystem, no matter whether they already have their own ecosystem and have invested in innovation internally. In case a company has not addressed innovation yet, there will be a full rollout ready for them. If a company has conducted it internally, it will still profit when becoming part of our ecosystem by making their process visible on the platform for others and share their experiences. Generally, the larger a company is, the more it can benefit from being part of a larger ecosystem. For example, companies join and start projects and/ or processes together in order to go through the processes together. Thus, they learn and develop in a different way, and they gain longstanding partnerships with experts of other companies within the network. Meeting people facing similar challenges pushes people forward.
Can you tell us something about your certified coaches?
We train them for external coaching. They are our own KICKBOX coaches who will support entrepreneurs over the whole period of a project. We invest much into quality assurance. Our coaches go through a certain training period before they are certified, where we apply methodologies, such as shadowing. There is a focus in the training on methodology.
What are the near-future goals of the Innovation ecosystem?
We want to bring internal and external ecosystems together. And there will be campaigns, companies will launch collaborative projects on the topic of sustainability and future of work, the subjects that concern the 17 goals for sustainable development set by the United Nations. Companies will work together on a project base and enrich each other when it comes to sharing experience, facing challenges, and finding solutions. Therewith we aim at having more ideas come from employees that can be later shared on a large scale. We have good examples e.g., the collection of old hardware (Swisscom) or the introduction of user-friendly software for blind employees on mobile phones.
Two final questions: Do people within the ecosystem still meet in person or is it all done virtually now? Does the approach of gamification play an important role for rready and for its solutions?
Regarding the first question: Yes, people still meet! It’s a hybrid-model. There is a lot happening online, but people do and will continue to come together in person.
And as to the gamification approach: It is true that elements of play help lessen the fear some people may have towards the topic of innovation and especially against failing. It appeals to the play instinct in people, and it helps strengthen the connection to the ecosystem and within the ecosystem’s community.
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