Alison Hewton discusses her growth and learnings about Intrapreneurship, innovation, and success from RBCx.

Mediaplanet: How did you become part of RBC’s intrapreneurship program?

Alison Hewton: I tend to be an early adopter. My team and I regularly pilot new methodologies and approaches. I have an intrapreneurial mindset; I like to try new things and I encourage my team to try new things as well. I lead a fairly large team of people, so when I discover new ways of working, I like to test and implement them with my team. I’ll take a lot of what I learned on RBCx and share it with others.

MP: Can you describe what the program entails?

AH: RBCx is a 10-week program that brings together a small group of people to solve business problems. I gained hands-on experience with design thinking and lean startup experimentation. We got to really dig into the problem we were trying to solve to truly understand the impact on people. From there, we prototyped solutions, experimented, and iterated based on feedback. We then pitched our final prototypes to our internal sponsors.

MP: Why do you believe that as an employee, innovation is important to you?

AH: In order to stay competitive as an organization, innovation is critical. We need creative problem solvers to keep ahead of our clients’ needs. Many people think that in order to be innovative, you need to be a person that thinks of something new. That’s not exactly true — innovation is also about taking the time to understand the problem and trying different solutions and ideas, learning from them, and iterating until it’s right. This mindset applies everywhere, not just at work. It’s interesting how it brings out your creative side.

MP: How has RBC’s intrapreneurship program helped you become a better employee and how do you think you helped RBC innovate through what you learned in the program?

AH: We are creating a culture where people like to try new things and value the process of learning and adapting quickly. I hope that I can help others by sharing practical changes we can make in our day-to-day project work. I would like to see this program continue because when other people see how this works, they will quickly see how it can be applied in their own area of work. Some of what I learned included:

  • By applying design thinking and lean startup experimentation techniques, we can get to the heart of problem and understand the human element.
  • Taking an iterative, test-and-learn approach can free your thinking and unleash your creativity.
  • Trying new things doesn’t have to be costly. It’s often the small, simple ideas that lead to big wins.
  • It’s very satisfying to build something that you know will have an impact on people.