After one year of Bluelion Kickbox, Zürcher Kantonalbank has recently announced two projects in the GoldBox stage. Since last year ten RedBoxes and four BlueBoxes have been awarded at Zürcher Kantonalbank.
We asked Chris Renfer, Head of Trend- and Innovation Management at Zürcher Kantonalbank, and Gabriele Frossard from the team of the GoldBox project BeMySponsor, to tell us a bit on how the bank is pushing innovation through the Bluelion Kickbox Program.
Chris, what’s the story of Kickbox at Zürcher Kantonalbank?
Kickbox within Zürcher Kantonalbank was launched after a hackathon in September 2017: In order to further strengthen the innovation culture and cross-divisional cooperation from the inside, we organized the “Hackathon & Innovation Challenge” for our employees. More than 20 ideas were processed and the three best together with one chosen by the public received the award and were then evaluated by a jury of experts reporting directly to management. In the Bluelion Kickbox, Zürcher Kantonalbank saw a suitable program to optimally support the winners to continue working on their idea after the hackathon. The four winner-teams were therefore invited to test the Bluelion Kickbox Program while still in pilot mode.
Why Bluelion Kickbox?
The Bluelion Kickbox Program strengthens the internal entrepreneurial spirit and promotes a culture of innovation, which perfectly complements the bank’s cultural environment named Performance & Entwicklung. Employees can thus independently drive forward new product and service developments as well as innovative ideas and business cases.
BeMySponsor – GoldBox Team (Dennis Gehrig, Michael Schlüter, Susanna Neyen, Gabriele Frossard)
Gabriele, tell us shortly what your startup idea is and how you got there
Our idea is dedicated to the field of “Sponsored Runs” and the resulting contacts. Zürcher Kantonalbank is already active today in sponsoring various projects of this kind.
Our journey began at the Hackathon. A colleague introduced me to the topic shortly before the event: I have a little FC player at home and many FC teams run sponsorship, so, as a mum, I am also personally affected by it. My whole team was immediately impressed by the idea – and, I dare to say, not only the team, since at the end of the Hackathon the audience decided to give us the ticket to our “Kickbox-Journey”.
What differentiates you from a “normal” startup?
In a normal startup, the motivation, joy and drive are probably very similar to what we experience! What is different from a “normal” startup, however, is that the interests of our employer are very much in focus and the final goal is creating something that Zürcher Kantonalbank will benefit from.
How do you manage to bring your startup and your everyday job under one roof?
Reconcile our daily work and our project does not come without challenges. We are all fully committed to our jobs and the team consists mostly of part-time employees. This means that finding enough time and suitable days can be hard sometimes. But we really have a good team spirit, believe in our idea and enjoy working on it – extra miles don’t scare us!
You have been working on your idea for about a year now as part of the Bluelion Kickbox Program. What have you already achieved during this time?
We know what the challenges of sponsorship are and we were able to develop a solution for it. Our idea is now getting sympathy and attention from inside and outside of our company and we are ready for the implementation of our minimal viable product (MVP).
Keyword Kickbox: is there need for a colourful shoe box to propel an idea?
Of course there’s the need for a colourful shoe box! That was the highlight for us after every successful pitch! It was the emotional element, making it a huge fun to open the individual boxes to discover many gifts and tools for us to use and enjoy.
What advice would you give aspiring “Kickboxers”?
Go for your idea! Pack your heart, creativity and passion. Try things out without pretension or search for perfection…and be ready to overcome some obstacles.
What do you think about the introduction of the Kickbox Program within the Zürcher Kantonalbank?
I think it’s great how entrepreneurship and innovation culture are developed and strengthened this way. Accompanied by Bluelion, I think Zürcher Kantonalbank has initiated a very profitable cooperation for this program.
How does the program fit into the future challenges in banking?
Whether banking or not, the program really helps to develop innovative ideas with a proper method and to test their feasibility. Zürcher Kantonalbank has a large number of employees who have great ideas and are in the position to independently promote new developments in products and services. Participating in the Kickbox Program helps to advance these ideas and, thus, our bank.
We couldn’t be happier of how our intrapreneurship program is going. We get to work with amazing companies and their employees on some very cool ideas – ready for a roaring 2019 full of innovation!