Aptar, a global leader in drug delivery, consumer product dispensing, and active material science solutions, recognized the untapped creative and innovative potential within its workforce. In a strategic move to harness this potential, Aptar partnered with IdeatePlus to launch a comprehensive intrapreneurship program. This initiative aimed to foster a culture of innovation, encouraging employees to actively contribute to Aptar’s continued success in their respective fields.
The partnership was rooted in the belief that the solutions to Aptar’s challenges and the keys to its future opportunities lay within its own workforce. By tapping into the diverse perspectives and expertise of its employees, Aptar aspired to not only address current operational challenges but also to build a sustainable model for continuous innovation and growth, ensuring its competitive edge in the rapidly evolving global market.
Phase 1: Problem Identification
IdeatePlus initiated the program by conducting comprehensive confidential video interviews with Aptar employees. These interviews aimed to uncover insights into the company’s challenges and opportunities from a broad range of perspectives. The process led to the identification of five critical problem areas essential for enhancing Aptar’s operational and innovative capabilities.
The problem identification phase was crucial in establishing a foundation for targeted innovation. By engaging employees at various levels, IdeatePlus ensured a holistic understanding of the challenges, gathering nuanced insights that may have otherwise been overlooked. This phase not only identified key areas for improvement but also engaged employees in the problem-solving process, fostering a sense of involvement and ownership from the outset.
Phase 2: Crowdsourcing Ideas
Building on these insights, Aptar initiated a crowdsourcing campaign focusing on two major problem statements. This open-ended approach encouraged a wide array of innovative solutions, reflecting the diverse thinking within the organization. The campaign was designed to democratize the innovation process, ensuring that every employee had the opportunity to contribute.
The crowdsourcing phase was instrumental in harnessing the collective intelligence of the workforce. By opening up the platform for all employees to contribute, Aptar tapped into a rich reservoir of ideas, ranging from incremental improvements to radical innovations. This phase not only generated a multitude of solutions but also fostered a culture of open communication and collaboration across different departments and levels.
Phase 3: Design Sprint Workshops
The top ideas from the crowdsourcing phase were taken forward by three dedicated teams in design sprint workshops. These workshops followed a structured methodology to rapidly prototype and test ideas, emphasizing collaboration, creativity, and agility. The teams were guided through a process of ideation, prototyping, and iterative development.
The design sprint workshops were a crucible of innovation, combining diverse expertise to refine and develop the selected ideas. These intensive sessions facilitated a deep dive into the solutions, allowing teams to rapidly build and iterate on their prototypes. This approach significantly reduced the development time and fostered a dynamic environment where ideas could be quickly brought to life and tested.
Phase 4: User Testing and Validation
Following the design sprints, the prototypes underwent a rigorous process of user testing and validation. This phase was critical in ensuring that the solutions were not only innovative but also practical and aligned with the needs of Aptar’s customers and employees. The feedback gathered was used to refine and optimize the prototypes.
The user testing and validation phase brought a reality check to the innovation process, grounding the prototypes in practicality and user experience. By involving potential users in the testing process, teams gained valuable insights into the usability and effectiveness of their solutions. This iterative process of testing and refinement ensured that the final products were well-suited to address the actual needs and pain points of the users.
Phase 5: Executive Pitches
The culmination of the intrapreneurship program was marked by executive pitches, where the teams presented their validated prototypes to Aptar’s leadership. This phase was not just a demonstration of innovative solutions but also a celebration of employee-driven innovation and its potential to create significant organizational impact.
The executive pitches were a platform for the teams to showcase the culmination of their hard work and creativity. It was an opportunity to demonstrate how employee-driven innovation could lead to practical, impactful solutions. The presentations were a critical step in securing buy-in and support from the top management, essential for the implementation and scaling of these innovations within the organization.
Aptar’s intrapreneurship program has yielded significant outcomes, including:
- Enhancing employee engagement and motivation: The program has instilled a sense of ownership and empowerment among Aptar employees, fostering a culture where innovation is encouraged and valued.
- Generating innovative solutions: The crowdsourcing and design sprint workshops have resulted in a pipeline of innovative ideas that address Aptar’s strategic challenges and opportunities.
- Promoting cross-functional collaboration: The program has encouraged cross-functional collaboration, bringing together individuals from different teams and expertise to tackle complex challenges.
- Accelerating time to market for new solutions: The structured approach to problem solving and prototyping has accelerated the development and implementation of new solutions, enabling Aptar to stay ahead of the competition.
Aptar’s intrapreneurship program demonstrates the power of harnessing employee creativity and innovation to drive organizational success. By fostering a culture of open-mindedness, collaboration, and experimentation, Aptar is well-positioned to continue innovating and shaping the future of drug delivery, consumer product dispensing, and active material science solutions.
The Ideateplus process was a journey of learning. It was impressive how we started with an idea and transformed it into a concept that has market potential. I believe that the process also helped engage the team and keep the focus on the potential innovation. Lastly, the understanding that sometimes we can engage consumers quite early in the process and get feedback as quickly as possible.