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Published by:
Stanford Business School (2019)
4 March 2019
Revision date:
16 pages
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Field research


This is part of a case series. Intrapreneurship @ Nokia Software, or I@NS, was a program created in 2017 to give Nokia Software's 10,000 employees the opportunity to submit ideas for products, services, or solutions that delivered new capabilities, solved tough challenges faced by customers, or opened new markets. I@NS was intended to mimic the experience of founding a start-up, getting it funded, building a product, and taking it to market, with all the potential risk and reward this entailed. Except, of course, this particular start-up experience would occur within Nokia Corporation, a 150-year-old global company with 103,000 employees working in more than 100 countries-a company that described its mission as 'creat[ing] the technology to connect the world.' Given this rather unusual 'start-up' environment, the creators of the program had no idea how it would all unfold. But, they went ahead and established it, evangelized it to Nokia Software employees around the world, judged the first round, and then launched a second round, which was still underway at the time this case was written. In the process of creating I@NS, its founders learned many important lessons about encouraging and supporting innovation and a start-up mentality within an established corporation. The case covers many elements of the design and implementation of an innovation program including: 1) Strategic objectives of innovation processes; 2) Defining success; 3) Determining the scale and scope of new ventures; 4) The staging of the innovation process; 5) The gating and funding decision making process; 6) The definition of the strategic objectives behind the innovation process; 7) Communicating the process to the wide organization; 8) Communicating (the go/no go) gating decisions; 9) Identifying and allocation resources; 10) Recruiting evangelists and mentors; 11) Team formation and composition; 12) How the process interacts with and impacts the culture in the organization; 13) Incentives for innovation; 14) Career development paths for innovators; and 15) Attitudes to risk.


Innovation; Entrepreneur; Corporate entrepreneurship; Culture change; Product pipeline; Incubator; Leadership; Competition


The events covered by this item took place in 2019.

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