Sky is the Limit: Intrapreneurship at Air France
Marine Gall is VP Innovation & Intrapreneurship Programs at Air France, working on innovation, business synergies, transformation, change management, and customer centric items.
1) Hi Marine, could tell us about the objective, and the content of the intrapreneurship program at Air France?
The objective of the program is clear: develop new business with an innovative approach. This program is at the crossroads of transformation and business. Our goal is to offer an ecosystem to teams that have an initiative, want to commit, and take responsibility.
The program starts with an immersive launchpad and a jury selection, followed by a 4 months POC.
2) Have you some examples of intrapreneurs projects to share with us?
The projects of the 2018 season and the 2019 season are very varied, and affect all the businesses of the company. These are transversal projects. The teams come from Geneva, Nice, Marseille and are very heterogeneous. This program illustrates diversity at Air France.
Some projects are relatively simple on a technical level with little barrier to entry, others are much more disruptive. What counts is the strength and commitment of project leaders to demonstrate, with innovative methods (lean startup, design thinking…) that there is a potential value, and that further investigation is required at each stage of the program by obtaining the green light from the Jury.
3) What most serious challenges did you have to face when setting-up the program?
The biggest challenge has been to promote the program internally, and ensure that all the business lines were on board to legitimately install this new approach that relies on in-house talent to innovate outside of traditional decision-making channels.
4) What positive impact do you observe as a result of the intrapreneurship program?
We are just starting our second season, the feedback is still modest. It takes time to measure the effectiveness of an intrapreneurship program.
The first feedback from the Intrapreneurs are very positive. They all feel that they have changed, and transformed to some extent. Being an Intrapreneur gives them the feeling of having a diplomatic passport both internally and externally which they appreciate it a lot!
From the company’s point of view it is an accelerator of transformation, and creation of new business. The topics addressed are now in the backlogs trades … which are already planned for the next two years.
5) What are you next challenges, and other perspectives that you have on your innovation agenda?
If today we are in the second season, we think about how to develop this program, and onboard more teams. Intrapreneurship is clearly a tool to develop the spirit of entrepreneurship, and restore energy in the business in order to uncover in our large groups the concept of Time to market.
Innovation is key to being a leader in a sector. The complexity of the world in which we operate encourages us to multiply the tools to offer adapted solutions. It is a mistake to think that only the executive committee hold the innovation vision of a group. Collective intelligence is key, the intuition of employees can reveal extraordinary new business potential, and history has proven it many times!
To offer an intrapreneurship program in a large group like ours is to trust the teams and encourage a different way of working that engages and develops the culture of agility.
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Nicolas Bry is Orange Startups Studio COO. He entices Orange employees into becoming intrapreneurs, bringing their idea to life within Orange business. International executive, he sets-up innovation devices for new business. International speaker, writer with RapidInnovation.fr, guest lecturer at the Google Academy mini-MBA, visiting innovation professor at Telecom ParisTech, MediaSchool & EM Lyon, freelance consultant for the EC. Follow him at @nicobry.
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