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How to reward internal teams for innovating? 5 Strategies

Partnerships between mature players and startups often occur as a consequence of internal innovation processes.

Internal innovation and intrapraneurship has moved well beyond the traditional “box of ideas”, yet organizations still struggle to gain internal trust and to motivate teams to fully commit to innovation initiatives.

The issue is “How can we reward initiative and innovative thinking?”

From our experience dealing with internal innovation hackathons and other internal programs we have come to the following five guidelines:

1. Reward with responsibility and visibility – teams feel empowered if they become responsible or at least have visibility over the development of the idea. The failure of the “box of ideas” was that they were black boxes where innovators never know what the outcome of their efforts would be.

2. Leverage Merit and Exposure – innovation must be valued by peers to become organic in the organization. Innovators should be awarded with merit by providing them the platform to present their ideas to the board, internal interviews, become jury in next initiatives, etc.

3. Award skill with skill development rewards – one of the best rewards can be training and other skills developments opportunities. The Fintech House offers an incubation program for corporate team developing new solutions. There are also other platforms such as CFTE with relevant fintech courses.

4. Avoid prize rewards – awarding innovation with prize awards or other type of gifts can be dangerous. Not only because it is difficult to pinpoint the right amount not to disappoint or to be exaggerated but also because it tends to replace the right incentives and motivation.

5. Budget Rewards to further develop the idea – on the contrary to individual financial awards, it is extremely positive to have organizations nurturing internal ventures with exploratory budget, so teams run a proof of concept or further develop their business proposal.

Lastly, make sure you are not just rewarding the successful projects but that also take time to reward the failures. As failure is a critical step of innovation, it is important to promote a risk-taking culture (not the same as slopy or reckless culture) that always comes with some failure.

“At novobanco, we set up an internal innovation lab, that challenged the entire organization to propose new innovative projects. To boost commitment and engagement, we bet on three dimensions of awards. First, selected teams were awarded with specialized training, both by internal teams and external partners. Second, teams knew that if they were selected they would have the chance to pitch the idea to the bank’s board. Finally, the innovation lab organized, in partnership with Fintech Solutions, a one-day innovation hackathon so that the teams could focus on the development of the project and receive all necessary support.” Bruno Jivan, Planning and Innovation Director novobanco.

At Fintech Solutions, we go beyond collaborative innovation to focus on additional dimension of engagement, commitment, and stimulation. Talk to us to know more about Intrapraneurship programs.


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