Updated: Nov 3, 2020
caprtured by Seoyoun (Albert) Oh
On Wednesday, October 21st, 2020, the Silicon Valley Design Thinking Club hosted a virtual event with Nicole Stroj as the speaker to discuss ways to administer Corporate/Open Innovation Programs in practice. Nicole Stroj is the Head of Organizational Innovation of Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), a universal bank with decades of experience in retail, corporate, and investment banking. With her many years of experience in strategy, corporate innovation, and agile transformation, Nicole currently leads a team of innovation experts and transformation leaders at the RBI’s head office in Vienna, Austria. During the event, Nicole introduced four programs (Innovation Garden, Innovation Lab, Elevator Lab, and Elevator Ventures) that are currently being implemented to promote open innovation within the organization.
Defined by the author of the book published in 2003 “Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology,” Henry Chesbrough defined open innovation as a paradigm that describes how firms can use both external and internal ideas coming from and going out to the market, as the firms seek to advance their technology. With its wide gamut of applicable cases, open innovation has conspicuous benefits followed by its challenges. Throughout the event, Nicole elaborated on her experience in executing open innovation programs and shared her lessons learned.
Out of the four, Nicole focused on two programs: Innovation Garden and Elevator Lab. Innovation Garden operates based on RBI’s employee-generated ideas created in a start-up-like process within intrapreneurship teams to produce outcomes/solutions to problems through validated prototypes. By shifting perspectives from being problem-centric to being solution-centric, RBI constantly develops intrapreneurs who gain competitive advantages through verification and publications of products and services from the inside out in short development cycles. On the other hand, Elevator Lab is a global 16-week pilot project that aims to create a real business value together with the RBI group with the given opportunity to build customer-focused products and services.
With customers’ trust and young talents equipped with the ability to think outside the box, exploring potential partnerships in the FinTech startup ecosystem is like two pieces of puzzles fitting perfectly together:
bringing new products and services which attracts new customers and employees, and thus bolstering RBI’s branding,
high-speed adaptation that RBI brings to the market, and
learning to embrace and be prepared for unforeseen challenges in the future in a better manner.