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“We’re looking for intrapreneurs”
Lorenz Wyss is impressed with the wealth of ideas generated by the 60,000 Swiss Post employees. In the interview, he reveals how ideas become innovations.
Lorenz, through Open Innovation, Swiss Post is opening itself up to working together with start-ups. However, how important is internal innovation to you?
Swiss Post is tapping into the innovation potential of start-ups through Open Innovation. In the area of Ideation, we also supplement this with ideas that come directly from our own teams: with 60,000 staff worldwide there is an enormous amount of potential. The topic of innovation is generally taken very seriously at Swiss Post and really put into practice, irrespective of where the ideas come from. After all, nowadays businesses are distinguished less by the products they offer and more by the experiences they give their customers. To accomplish this, one has to be imaginative and extremely user orientated.
How do you draw from the internal wealth of ideas?
In the past few years, we have received thousands of ideas from our staff targeted at completely different things. Some suggestions relate to new business areas, others to our day-to-day work. Only with well structured ideas and innovations management can we transform these ideas into something tangible. At the beginning an idea is not yet an innovation – it first has to be “expanded”. And that’s how I also understand our role and task at Swiss Post: We are “innovation architects” who help to develop new approaches and drive them forward until we have an end result which is marketable and customer orientated.
How do ideas become innovations?
We have various formats and tools that we use, for example, our Postidea web platform where ideas are submitted. Within 30 days, an expert decides if a suggestion should be developed further. There are also other formats, such as our verification and boost camps. These are three-day or five-day workshops where solutions are developed and then immediately implemented in a test phase. After all, even the best idea is of no use if it isn’t relevant to people afterwards. These camps give our staff the time they need to achieve effective results quickly.
As Head of Ideation, what expectations do you have of young talent?
We are looking for “intrapreneurs”, people who think outside of the box and have a hands-on approach. In order to keep up with the considerable market complexity, we have to test the ideas, validate them and improve them in a short space of time. If you are comfortable in such an agile learning culture and dynamic working environment, then you will fit in perfectly with us.
More on Swiss Post innovation can be found at: www.swisspost.ch/innovation
This interview appeared in the “Universum Top 100” magazine. An adapted version is published here.
Interview: Ute Liebig, photo: Simone Schuldis