You only need that one, great idea…

What does it take for a napkin idea to be a fully-fledged startup within a corporate? That one great “napkin” idea plus an incubator programme.

Last year we in Telenor took some bold bets and launched an internal startup programme to encourage innovation amongst our «intrapreneurs» within the company. The response to Ignite Incubator  was overwhelming, with more than 500 teams applying for a 3-month bootcamp, with full salary and regular day-job kept on hold.

Eight teams were selected for the incubator and following a tough and testing bootcamp period at accelerators such as StartupLab in Oslo and Accelerate in Bangkok, it was decided that five of the eight who submitted their “napkin” ideas will be taken forward as startups within Telenor.

Boosted by the success of the first programme, we decided to run it a second time. The application deadline is fast approaching and teams from our 13 different companies and countries are busy preparing their application and taking part in workshops to shape their business models, fine-tine who the target customers are, and prepare that all-important pitch for a place in the Ignite Incubator.

Here is a flavor of how they are preparing:

Keen intrapreneurs at Digi, Telenor’s Malaysian company, putting their ideas through Customer Journey Mapping during a Service Design workshop. The only way to truly understand your customer is to walk in their shoes.


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In Bulgaria, teams have spent the seasonal break shaping their ideas, doing customer research and are now busy validating their work and getting feedback from design thinking experts. All teams have had the chance to participate in two workshops and three meet-ups facilitated with both Telenor and external expertise. They received some valuable insights on how to do a killer pitch as well! All teams are now at the very final stage to submit their applications.


Sofia, Bulgaria at 10:30pm – ideation is not constricted by the clock.


In addition to validation and pitch prep workshops, Grameenphone colleagues in Bangladesh organized an Open Session for participants eager to know if their ideas would fit the incubator programme.


In Telenor Pakistan, the Ignite team has had workshops for aspiring intrapreneurs on identifying customer pain-points, how to best articulating the service and video pitching.



Seen in the Telenor Pakistan offices – “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” Richard Branson.


In Montenegro and Serbia, the Ignite team put on workshops for gaining insight and idea validation within innovation processes.

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