Indra, one of the leading global technology and consulting companies, has presented awards to the most innovative ideas of its employees in the framework of its intrapreneurship program, Innovators.
Innovators, now in its sixth edition, has a successful track record: on average, one in four professionals from the more than 40 countries where Indra does business participate each year, and more than 2,500 ideas proposed by employees have already been submitted. Under the slogan "think the unthinkable", last May the company set its professionals challenges related to autonomous and connected mobility, artificial intelligence applied to defence, the secure management of user identities in the metaverse, new relationship models between citizens and public authorities or the potential of 5G technology and code prototypes.
Indraventures and Indra’s Innovation Committee, made up of representatives from corporate units, directors from all business units and technological experts, chose nine ideas from more than 280 ideas received. The tenth finalist was chosen by the company's employees. The teams, from Indra offices and its subsidiary Minsait around the world, shared their ideas at an event held at the company's headquarters in Alcobendas. The staging was very similar to the presentations given by startups to potential investors: employees had just one minute to present an elevator pitch that convinced the jury, who then chose the three winning ideas. The fourth awarded idea was the result of a live vote by the attendees.
The first prizewinning idea was a proposal for the development of a system capable of simulating radar threats—Indra is a key NATO supplier in this field—to speed up and reduce the costs of radar calibration, verification and validation processes. The second place idea was a project aimed at modeling and analyzing intelligent and sustainable electricity distribution networks, the so-called Smart Grids (Minsait, an Indra subsidiary, is a pioneer in the digitalization of the energy sector), while the third place went to an image classification system for preserving wildlife through artificial intelligence, which will enable anti-drone systems to discern in a matter of seconds whether a bird or an enemy drone is approaching. The idea awarded by the audience, who voted live during the event, was a tool designed to contribute to the education of minors, using Social Media Intelligence as a technology for reporting and tracking anomalous behavior and monitoring social networks. If possible threats or inappropriate content are detected, which can be reported by family members, the system would issue notifications or alerts to their parents, even allowing the involvement of the health service (psychologist) in the platform.
The awards gala had some very special guests: four engineering students, three of them Spanish, at the Imperial College of London, awarded with the Student Aerospace Challenge of the European Space Agency (ESA) for their prototype of a spacecraft that could be used in the future for space tourism, among other applications. Paula Gutiérrez, Joel Tomas Pimentel, Kirill Surkov (born in Moscow and living in Spain since the age of eight) and Adrián Venot shared their ideas with the audience about their innovative approach to suborbital flights with a technology that would significantly optimize fuel consumption. Mikel Iturbe, a 28-year-old young engineer from Indra and winner of the "Space for Sustainability 2022" prize, awarded by the European Space Agency for his project "Space and stratosphere for extreme surface climate", had the opportunity to briefly present his project.
Ignacio Mataix, CEO of Indra, closed the corporate event, to which the entire Indra workforce was invited, thus attesting to senior management's commitment to intrapreneurship and innovation. “At Indra, we always remain within the bounds of possibility, innovating with an ultimate goal: to generate capabilities, products and technologies that benefit our customers, since we are at the core of their operations. It is both exciting and satisfying for a professional to see an idea become a reality, as has already happened with Innovators. Thanks to the ideas of its employees, Indra will be a better company and will continue to make a positive contribution to society," said the CEO.
Manuel Ausaverri, Indra's Director of Strategy and Innovation, pointed out that "the real protagonists of the Innovators program have been the more than 10,000 company professionals around the world who have participated in this edition either by proposing ideas, consulting them, commenting on them or voting for them. This year we broke the voting record."
Among the multiple projects awarded in past Innovators editions that have become company products, there is one that deserves a special mention: the Virtual Crisis Room. Indra succeeded in including it in a European R&D project. The first development phase has been completed and it has been presented at trade fairs in Berlin or the United States, so it is no longer an R&D product, but an Indra commercial product.
Based on an incident detected in road infrastructures, tunnels and terminals, Indra's Virtual Crisis Room automatically invites the persons or entities with authority in each type of incident (fire, accident, spillage of hazardous substances, etc.) to participate. The system uses a hierarchical system to include the mandatory participants or entities according to the different protocols (firefighters, ambulances, control centers, the administration, security, etc.) to manage the incident or crisis in real time and in the most coordinated manner possible. It is a virtual environment that also allows the use of augmented reality glasses, contributing to greater realism.
Winner of the 2020 National Innovation Award presented by the Ministry of Science and Innovation in the Large Company category, Indra has made intrapreneurship a feature of its corporate culture, to the extent that there exists an informal network of employees communicating through collaborative tools such as Teams, with the common denominator being their passion for innovation.
According to the latest edition of the European Commission’s EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard, Indra has been the leading Spanish company and the second most outstanding European company in the European innovation framework program Horizon 2020, the main instrument for promoting R&D&I policies and funding and technological development in Europe since 2014. The company has consolidated its position as one of the most innovative companies in its sector in Europe in terms of R&D&I investment.