On the long and winding road from a good idea to successful execution and bottom-line impact, you will face many challenges as a corporate innovator. But you’re not alone. These four intrapreneurs got to a point where they wondered – now what?, managed to find an answer, and are now keen on sharing their key learnings with you.

Innovation is not just about ideas. It’s not only about the new product. It’s even not about the team coming up with the ideas for the new product.

Most new products fail, not necessarily because no one wants to buy them- they don’t even make it to the market, or it takes way too much time. Now what?

tom-guy-british-gas-intrapreneurshipBig question #1: How to Get Your New Product to the Market Fast Enough – From Inside a Large Organisation?

Tom Guy (Product & Commercial Director at Hive by British Gas) spent the last 3 years building a start-up within British Gas to understand and help customers manage their home energy usage. The Hive Active Heating range has sold over a quarter of a million units to date and has transformed the engagement British Gas has with it’s customers. How did they do it?

dave-wascha-travelex-intrapreneurshipWorking inside a heritage and iconic brand, Dave Wascha (Global Digital Product Director at Travelex) is leading a team developing and delivering next generation of digital products and services. What’s their approach to commercialization?


The Chairman and CEO of Renault-Nissan expects the auto industry to see more changes in the next 5 years than it has in the last 20.

So what to do when your company is serving this industry, or any other industry facing disruption? How do you cope with this uncertainty, especially when your company is doing very well to do – no burning platform at all to change anything any time soon?

As a start, the Bearings division of Saint Gobain, with 14 factories globally, installed “FabLabs”. These digital fabrication environments as imagined by MIT, would then introduce rapid prototyping as new practice within the organization in order to respond faster to changing market demands.

Soon enough, they realized, a physical space for innovation is not enough. Now what? 

Big question #2: How to Combine Physical Space and Mindset Change, for Accelerating Innovation?

Tom-Francis-Saint-Gobain-intrapreneurshipFor answering that question, we’ll be hearing from Tom Francis (Business Manager – New Applications at Saint Gobain Performance Plastics).

Tom is responsible for bringing new, breakthrough applications to market, so he has a vested interest in generating an internal innovation factory.  Working within the business unit management team, Tom has been part of leading a business transformation to allow innovation from everywhere and from anyone within the company. What have they learned so far?


Most innovators can’t help to have the ambition to come up with breakthrough innovations, transform our companies and disrupt industries (and have fun in the process).

But, as someone said lately, Corporates are soooooooo slow. And: corporate culture is too… corporate. You will face inertia at many levels, in many ways. Now what?

Let’s look at it this way. By putting the focus on ‘innovation’ as the output, and ‘transformation’ as the ambition level, are we pushing too hard too quickly? Are we setting our innovation efforts up for failure? Or even: are we focusing on the wrong thing?

Intrapreneurship can only truly deliver value when the right mindset exists within the wider organisation. There must be a culture of challenging orthodoxies, of supporting ideas to flourish or fail, and an innate sense that competition may be emerging from untraditional sources.

By shifting our attention to attracting, supporting, and developing a growth mindset we can create the environment for innovation to occur, where surprising examples of true innovation can emerge.

So let’s take a step back, and ask ourselves big question #3: How To Develop the Right Mindset for a Culture of Innovation?

Alex-Davidge-BUPAFor that, let’s hear it from Alexander Davidge (Head of Business Architecture and Strategy Development at Bupa) who has done substantial research as to why innovation so often falters or fails in large complex organisations but so often succeeds in smaller companies and start-ups. How come?

Alex is a self-confessed fanboy when it comes to business model design and innovation and breaking down “current state” orthodoxies. His expertise in this area sets him in initiatives in Bupa where there are opportunities for new growth and impact, be that in the developed or developing world. He evangelises on how new business models, new propositions, and new ways of thinking and working, can not only create new growth or improved performance but also increase engagement in the organisation.