The perception of financial institutions is changing. Canada’s stable — often thought traditional — financial sector has started to push the boundaries in innovation, becoming beacons of creativity and driving technological and foundational advancements.

One such company is Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). Over the past decade, RBC has been at the forefront of pursuing new ways to do business. “Every sector right now is going through disruption and banking is no different,” explains Christine Silva, Senior Director, Intrapreneurship & Talent Programs, RBC. “We see the changes happening and we’re focusing on how to work in more agile ways. We ask ourselves how we can foster innovation and help shape our industry and what’s coming next.”

While some companies may rely on outside sources and experts for inspiration, RBC also appreciates the importance of looking inwards as well. “We definitely need to make sure that while we’re looking outside by building relationships with research organizations and partnerships with startups to stay on the cutting edge, we’re not missing that opportunity to tap into the tremendous skill set, energy, and passion of our eighty thousand employees,” says Silva.

Series of intrapreneurship programs

To tap into the potential of their employees, RBC has developed a series of intrapreneurship programs that enhance its ability to foster collaborative dialogue among employees to solve problems using different and new ways of working. “When we think about intrapreneurs, we’re really looking for employees who think and act like entrepreneurs. They have that passion for innovation. They want to pitch new ideas and collaborate on cool solutions, so we’re creating those opportunities, creating the conditions to engage employees in all different parts of our company in innovation.”

An inspiring workplace

To maximize inclusiveness and idea-generation, Venture Inside RBC is an intrapreneurship initiative open to the entire RBC workforce. Venture Inside allows RBC employees to share their challenges and ideas in an online internal community. “We created a community of intrapreneurs and we crowdsource ideas from employees. It’s really giving us the chance to collectively come up with new ideas that focus on potential solutions to compelling business problems,” says Silva.

“One of the intrapreneurs in the program pitched the idea of having a group of employees with specific subject matter expertise act as a first point of contact for colleagues who require their knowledge,” explains Silva. “This became an Ambassador program where RBC employees with special skills, interests, or expertise such as graphic design or user interface and user experience (UI/UX) provide consultations in their subject matter area. Part of what we do is connecting the dots for people who need different types of skills for different types of innovation projects.”

Also for employees, RBC introduced the RBCx program, which is where innovative staff members from all levels are chosen for a 10-week secondment that allows them to pursue disruptive ideas and solve problems. Employees form teams, flex their intrapreneurship muscles and work collaboratively to tackle business challenges brought forward by leaders. Rather than the program being a theoretical exercise, RBC is currently exploring some of the ideas arising from RBCx, and preparing for more to come.

If you’re looking for a workplace that not only appreciates creativity but actively nurtures it and works hard to remain a leader in an ever-changing business landscape, RBC may be the right place for you.