Etihad Airways has partnered with Swae, a startup based in Vancouver, to develop iFikra, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered ‘intrapreneurship’ platform intended to enable every employee at the airline to contribute innovative ideas.
Tony Douglas, group CEO of Etihad Aviation Group, explained, “We recognise that there is an abundance of great ideas right here in our organisation and no one knows our business better than our employees, so we developed this tool to give them the platform they need to innovate. If we are operating more innovatively internally, our guests will have a far more superior experience when they choose Etihad.”
The new platform leverages artificial intelligence to augment written business proposals generated by staff, while enabling an open feedback and collaboration learning loop, based on the principles of transparency and meritocracy, to help make the best ideas a reality. Swae will also give employees the power to vote, comment and providing constructive feedback on their colleague’s ideas, so they play a direct role in the decision-making process.
Ideas that ‘graduate‘ from the platform will be provided with seed funding and support through Innovate Lab, Etihad’s innovation lab. The Lab supports rapid trial and iteration of promising ideas and projects, accelerating the delivery of prototypes, pilots, proof of concepts and minimum viable products.
Following January’s launch of the Etihad AI Academy in partnership with Microsoft, the company has been making significant investments in driving greater adoption of AI across the organisation and supporting its innovation agenda.