Intrapreneur portrait

Meet Menno van Leeuwen

Company: ABN AMRO, Moneyou
Jobs: Business Development Moneyou, Head of Lower Financial Stress, Program lead Impact Nation,
Speaker/ moderator
Age: 40something
Dream: A lot
Guilty pleasure: De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig. “Internet banking is my best friend”.

As an experienced innovator at ABN AMRO, Menno creates impact by  connecting innovative solutions to problems such as financial stress and sustainability challenges we all face.

Impact as an intrapreneur

The biggest achievement of Menno is Moneyou Go, a payment app which allows people to get more control over what’s fixed and free to spend in a very user-friendly way. Preventing people from worrying about money and be confident in spending, that is  Menno’s biggest motivation. Now he hopes to become just as proud of Impact Nation: a sustainability accelerator for companies that want to tackle their biggest sustainability challenge. Menno and his team support such companies by shaping the challenge, scout for solutions, facilitate in matchmaking and they also give nitty gritty support with implementing the solution.

Challenges as an intrapreneur

Dealing with uncertainty is a big challenge. Menno sees himself not at all as a big risk taker, figures as he works for a bank. ”You constantly run the risk that your innovation initiative is invalidated, lose the support or budget you had, or lose your job because of bi-yearly reorganisations”. After a few years Menno experienced that uncertainty is fixed, so he got quite comfortable with that feeling. Another challenge that Menno experiences is the fact that most companies are still ruled by short term numbers, while social innovation takes time to proof also the commercial value. And there is no standard yet how to measure societal impact just as hard as profit.

“Early in my career I made a self-assessment: Which capabilities do I posses and what’s the most important thing I want to achieve? Pretty simple math: Impact. It helped that I created nearly all my jobs myself, which gave me the room to focus on impactful work”

Tips to intrapreneurs (to be)

Most important lessons

In some corporates it feels like they solved the innovation puzzle by extreme focus on the correct processes. Menno believes the intrapreneur should always think as an entrepreneur: Always be curious, looking for opportunities and be pragmatic, somewhat opportunistic when it comes to corporate processes. E.g. Use stage gating not to check the box and get budget, but to create more feedback, fans and help for your initiative. Use the innovation tooling that’s out there in the same manor. Menno uses methods like lean start-up and design thinking to identify customer needs. And continuously testing and validating helps, cause everything keeps on changing. That is the only certainty you have.

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