At Rakuten, innovation is more than mere rhetoric; it is an indispensable part of who we are. It runs deep in our DNA, meticulously guiding our actions. This is vividly demonstrated through Rakuten Unstoppable, an incubation and innovation platform from Rakuten India.
Launched in December 2022, Rakuten Unstoppable plays a vital role in encouraging inventive ideas. It offers a platform for employees to venture beyond their usual job responsibilities by enabling them with resources and technical expertise to turn their ideas and product roadmaps into tangible and viable services or products. This has prompted the discovery of new ideas that may not have surfaced otherwise.
“Unstoppable represents our dedication to cultivating a culture of innovation and creativity within Rakuten”Abhijith Manur, HR Senior Director at Rakuten India
To date, Rakuten Unstoppable has recorded over 50 idea submissions covering various domains, including e-commerce, banking and more. Abhijith Manur, HR Senior Director at Rakuten India, spearheads this initiative, describing Rakuten Unstoppable as a brainwave of Rakuten India’s CEO Sunil Gopinath. He emphasizes its significance in powering innovation within the organization. “While innovative programs were already in progress at the department level, Unstoppable was introduced to streamline and unite these initiatives under one umbrella. Our goal was to provide a platform where employees could showcase their ideas and receive the essential support to bring them to life. Unstoppable represents our dedication to cultivating a culture of innovation and creativity within Rakuten,” says Manur.
Unleashing creativity, collaboration and ownership for a culture of innovation
Among the remarkable success stories that have emerged from Rakuten Unstoppable are SKOUT and CoCo Lab. SKOUT is an advanced product designed to safeguard software from cyber risks and vulnerabilities. It offers comprehensive visibility into open-source components, end-of-life components, API calls and software license management. On the other hand, CoCo Lab is a diagnostic laboratory that provides evidence of code coverage during application testing. By identifying covered and uncovered sections of code, developers gain valuable insights to make informed release decisions with confidence.
When discussing how these innovative solutions could potentially be externalized to benefit a wider audience, Product Manager Keerthi Prakash, who is working on SKOUT, expressed that “SKOUT was specifically designed to assist development teams and organizations in delivering their applications swiftly, while ensuring they are free from any security vulnerabilities. Our current focus lies in exploring the potential benefits it can bring to various businesses within the Rakuten Group. Additionally, we aspire to make this solution available to the wider market in the future, allowing more organizations to benefit from its capabilities.”
These success stories underscore the efficacy of Rakuten Unstoppable, showcasing the concrete results that materialize when experimentation and problem-solving are encouraged within the organization.
Rakuten Unstoppable’s ‘You Pitch, We Build’ concept
Along with encouraging employees to build on their ideas, Rakuten Unstoppable also has a distinctive feature called the ‘You Pitch, We Build’ concept. This distinguishes it from traditional innovation programs. The strategy allows employees to pitch their ideas, and if selected, they get the opportunity to see their ideas transformed into tangible solutions by dedicated teams within Rakuten.
“As a member within a forward-thinking organization committed to continual innovation and technological advancement, I am consistently exposed to a plethora of novel concepts and ideas. However, due to constraints such as time limitations, expertise gaps and resource allocation, it becomes challenging to personally undertake the development and execution of these ideas. The ‘You Pitch, We Build’ initiative has emerged as a remarkable solution, enabling individuals like myself to articulate and present our innovative ideas while witnessing their transformation into tangible realities. This initiative has proven instrumental not only in fostering creativity and collaboration but also in leveraging the potential of these ideas to contribute meaningfully to our organization’s growth and success,” said Rakshith Ravindra Chatra, business analyst at Rakuten India.
Sparking employee belief in the impact of ideas
The project also encourages a sense of ownership and engagement among employees. It instills a belief that every idea is valued and can make a significant impact within Rakuten. “Thanks to Unstoppable, I have now found the opportunity to contribute my plans and ideas toward resolving real-world issues” said Deekshit Swamy, Software Engineer at Rakuten India.
Rakuten Unstoppable not only helps employees unleash their ideas and power within but also continues to forge ahead, gaining momentum with the unchanging belief that ideas have the power to transform lives.