Vodafone - eRis
Head of Solution Architecture
eRIS started 16mth back as an internal ideation platform (Imaginarium) where Vodafone Employees globally can submit their ideas and seek funding through gamification. We have kept the definition of innovation fairly open and define it as fresh thinking that generates business value and we encourage the employee to take part in the Imaginarium by raising their fresh ideas, participating in existing ideas, forming working groups etc. eRIS offers a structured, repeatable approach for idea selection, getting management support, getting funding required to turn ideas into prototypes.
eRIS champions an agile way of innovating by ensuring that the process is slick and purposeful and returns in quick conversion from idea to prototype to delivery and also supports fail fast and learning approach. On each stage of the process – idea owners are receiving feedback from the team on the status and potential enhancements.
The core team driving eRIS also includes active engagement and participation from Vodafone Graduate community so that we can have fresh minds and new ideas within the Program Team.
All ideas are going through a process to ensure the quality and support such that:
- Ideas are posted on the platform and reviewed by the community
- Ideas are funded through gamification with eRIS virtual coins
- All ideas that are funded with community support, are reviewed on eRIS Board with volunteers from 11 different departments across Vodafone Group organization to ensure coverage and proper feedback
- The ideas that are approved in board, are being prepared for Dragon’s Den – where Olympians within Vodafone Group review and sponsor the ideas
- All ideas that are funded / supported through eRIS pitch – are being supported financially and receiving on-going administrative and mentoring support from rapid prototyping
- All ideas that have completed prototyping are reviewed to come back with measured benefits and use-cases
- Prototype results are reviewed with related stakeholders, to discuss wider roll out of the ideas
What was the in-market status quo before the proposition was created?
Ideation and innovation has been managed in Silo’s in Vodafone prior to eRIS. Catalyst (a not-fit-for-purpose tool) was being used for Ideation and Innovation Management, where employee’s ideas were kept on a database and not reviewed properly. The idea review and delivery was in a waterfall approach where idea owners would not be able to have feedbacks and support within the ideation process.
What challenges were you facing as a business?
Innovation taking place, but in silo’s
No collaborative innovation community to bread creativity
Duplication of resource working in similar initiatives
No repeatable process for Vendors, Partner, Startups to engage with Enterprise IT
No access to our internal community
Prototypes running up large budgets and then failing
No transparency on what people were engaged on
No ability to learn from others
No channel to take ideas to Production-Market
People’s times to spare on the prototype – to have 80-20 mindset to allow people
some space within daily lives to work on their ideas
What impact has the proposition had?
A cultural shift that promotes innovative thinking
Joining of people whom would never have spoken before
Insight into what our community feels is important
Talent and skills set we didn’t know existed
Social events driving creative design thinking
Introduction of an agile and structured approach to innovation
Fail fast and learn fast culture which people believe in
Gamification and fun way of ideation
What approach was taken to produce the programme and what advice would we give to other corporate entrepreneurs?
Good due diligence
A clear brand, vision and definition
Rallying key stakeholders for buy in
Easy tool for users to interact with
Fun, energy and passionate people
Agile way of innovating
A simple Framework and e2e process for prototyping
Clear regular communications
Mentoring for Idea owners
Engage the Interns, Grads and Apprentices who work around our business
What challenges did you overcome?
Internal culture for failure
How to align Ideas to strategic themes, business outcomes etc
Keeping people focused on ‘true’ innovation
Trust from Idea creators any idea will be reviewed through the process
Employees time to work on ideation and prototyping and show casing the benefits for the delivery within Vodafone
Access to budget (and fast) that may not return value
Any benefit identified may not to be realized for many months
What advice would you give to other corporate entrepreneurs?
Find people with a ‘Can Do’ attitude
Find a tool that catches attention and people are engaged
Have new people on board who has fresh minds and are not blind folded with standard ways of working
To have motivation and reward recognition which works within an innovation culture
Take the time to educate people on what innovation is, the types, the approach
Look to see what is out there and talk to people in the community to learn
Encourage people to try, to think, to take space to be creative as they will be surprised with what they can come up with!
What was your project highlight?
Tough as this was a startup in Vodafone, with very limited funding and no FTE’s, but from Aug 2016 some key stats are:
2k eRIS users are subscribed
351 ideas submitted
47k idea visits
925 comments about ideas
16 prototypes in cycle
7 more to pitch this month
The most opened/read news letter released
It’s very exciting times!!!!!!
Who are your project heroes?
We have couple of different heroes within the program: Mohammad Tahir : to structure and start up the program with the process and people ‘s points
Antonio Guerrero : to have a innovative and out of the box thinking on the process and how to develop eRIS
Sergio Coppola : to have the ownership before the ask and love innovation and support the whole team to deliver innovation
Andrei Varban : to drive ideation and create new ideas through the process