An intrapreneur is an entrepreneur working in-house within a large organisation. Intrapreneurship integrates the reward and motivational techniques (traditionally thought of as part of entrepreneurship), and risk-taking and innovation approaches.
Innovation Expert Maren Lesche has supported Celfocus in developing an Intrapreneurship Program and interviews Carla Penedo, Analytics Manager at Celfocus, who has experienced this program first-hand and shares her view on it. Through the interview, get to know how it challenged her and why she truly believes that intrapreneurs are the future at Celfocus.
Maren: Please tell us a little bit about what you do and your current role at Celfocus.
Carla: I’m an Analytics Manager at Celfocus, being responsible for the Cognitive Automation business offer. In this area, we leverage data and technical skills in Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI). We aim to create business solutions targeting the highest quality service and cost-efficiency. In the last couple of years, we’ve been working on a Cognitive NOC solution, which allows Telecom Operators to move towards zero-touch operations. The solution helps them handle all the network incident management processes from event to resolution. More recently, we’ve expanded to Customer Operations with solutions for real-time anomaly detection, to improve the overall customer experience.
Maren: Celfocus is a data-driven company and, to face challenges, has been looking at how to be innovative from within. This, in turn, has provided new opportunities for you. Could you please tell us about your experience here?
Carla: Coming from an academic background in Computer Science and AI, I started my career as an Analytics Consultant. Focused on the fast-paced industry of Telecommunications, Celfocus has always pushed the limits of engineering to provide the best of breed solutions to its clients. However, the impact was more significant in the area of Analytics in the last couple of years. Technological advances in infrastructure, algorithms, and AI, have led to widespread business opportunities. My team and I are constantly looking for new solutions to tomorrow’s problems. From automating routine tasks to making complex business decisions instantly based on data, we aim to think outside the box.
Maren: Considering that normally businesses battle to keep people within the company whereas helping them potentially leave, why is Celfocus driven to support intrapreneurs?
Carla: The Intrapreneurship Program was great to escape daily routines, challenging us to think from a different perspective. By starting by using interviews with potential clients, ideas were developed from current needs and turned into sustainable solutions. This end-to-end experience-driven knowledge allows Celfocus to foster an innovation culture and boost employees’ motivation. Furthermore, this kind of initiative fuels business growth, creates competitive advantages, while helping to retain the best talent. Besides, it stimulates the emergence of new business opportunities and meaningful solutions. Hence, rather than worrying about losing people, Celfocus focuses on the stimulation of its employees. Consequently, the company is invigorated and its growth better driven.
Maren: What enticed you to spend your precious time on this intrapreneur program? What struggles did you face as a manager inside a company, having to balance and compromise your work schedule & life here (as you have a family)? How was it valuable and beneficial for you?
Carla: This Intrapreneur Program seemed a very interesting opportunity to innovate in a startup-style and immediate go-to-market with real solutions. In fact, the program never intended to be too far-fetched to meet current reality and needs. So, as the person responsible for a business offer with sales and delivery goals, this was a key decision factor.
Above all, I handled this as just another project in my company. Through the allocation of specific periods where my team and I could meet the deadlines with valuable contributions, the balance could be managed. Despite some challenging moments, I believe the overall experience and result were worth it. It was a great opportunity for knowledge updates and in-depth discussions with the intrapreneurship program team. The team knew how to challenge us at the right place and time.
To be continued…