April 20

Petrol's recipe for Zuckerberg's “move fast and break things”!

Besides the usual, safe path that Petrol has been using to digitalize its business operations for a number of years, one of the biggest companies for trade with petroleum products, gas and other energy sources in Southeast Europe also actively makes use of startup activity. Attentive work with talents helped them detect individuals who think differently about the world and life, and believe in principles such as “move fast, break things”. They engaged them to act in internal startup initiatives, but they do realize that investing into startups is risky. Even though ideas often turn out to be unsuitable, they are an important part of learning in order to reach organic growth of a company that wishes to remain competitive tomorrow, on the cusp of the startup tsunami revolution! They will also share their experiences at this year’s PODIM Conference, namely as part of the special 'corpo' content segment.

“Lean startup innovation and digitalization of business operations are important strategic questions that can quickly change or disrupt an existing business environment, business models and processes, and relationships with customers and the competition,” said Pavel Škerlj, IT manager in Petrol, in the light of the upcoming PODIM Conference.
Throw away the old, create the new, and do it now!
When asked how Petrol tackles risky, startup way of thinking and functioning, Pavel Škerlj answers like this: “Inside the company, the process of working with talents helped us detect individuals who think differently about the world and life, who want to work differently because they believe in principles such as 'move fast, break things' or, simply said, 'throw away the old, because it's unfashionable and insufficient, and make it better and different'. And above all, let's do it now!”
Free development and financing of ideas
Petrol engages such individuals to work in internal startup initiatives because they give them the freedom to develop their business ideas. “This way, we want to not only keep these individuals, talents, in the company, but also guarantee a platform for implementing ideas, financing included. All this with the purpose of achieving organic growth of a company that wishes to remain competitive tomorrow,” emphasizes Škerlj.
Failure as an important part of learning!
Petrol doesn't have harsh expectations for the success of internal startups. They realize that investing into startups is risky. “An idea can be a winning one, but it even more often turns out to be unsuitable, which is part of learning,” says Škerlj. “We can't yet know what potential startups will bring us, much like we can't discuss how we manage the differences between stable corporate business operations with plans and risky startup experimentation, because we are only well entering the process of gaining these experiences and are learning on the go.”
They innovate where reasonable!
Petrol definitely wishes to actively include this way of working into existing culture and use it where it's reasonable! This primarily means processes of development and innovation, and most things connected with digital business operations.
The “great idea” project
In 2008, they already started the “great idea” project to deliberately encourage employees to think creatively, work in an open space of innovation, and contribute their ideas and suggestions for improvements and solutions that positively influence business operations of Petrol on practically all levels.
More than 400 ideas a year
“Every year, we collect more than 400 ideas and realize almost 70 % of them. They're ideas that increase the value or improve the quality of business operations and functioning of processes. These ideas also decrease costs, increase income and improve productivity, safety, attitude towards the environment, working conditions and employee satisfaction. Mass innovation thus supports the development story of the company, becomes part of its strategic orientations, and directly and honestly addresses all key stakeholders,” is how Škerlj summarizes his experiences and recipes for corporate innovativeness.
Corporate forces have awakened
Pavel Škerlj will be at the PODIM Conference to take part in the special content segment entitled “Startup Wars – The Corporate Force Awakens”. As one of our keynote speakers, he will share the experience with lean startup innovation in a corporation that currently counts almost 4,000 employees and wishes to reach the leading position with the comprehensive offer of energetics and the convenience gas station model in Southeast Europe with exceptionally satisfied customers.
Author: Stanislava Vabšek, Start:up Slovenia Initiative
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For a more detailed overview of the special 'corpo' content segment at this year's PODIM Conference, click here. If you want any additional information, write to us  and we will be happy to answer you.

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Together, we are trying to spread best practices of the lean startup way of developing new business models, and simultaneously connect established experienced managers with innovative startup entrepreneurs
  • The Managers' Association of Slovenia, helping managers deal with challenges of implementing digital changes whose tempo is dictated by rapid, lean and innovative startup companies with their disruptive digital products and services.
  • Initiative Start:up Slovenia as the provider of key national programmes for startups and connector of public and private stakeholders of the Slovenian startup ecosystem, summarizing its activities every year at the PODIM Conference.
  • Business daily Finance with the media project Startupozavri or Startuposauruses, in which they highlight startup freshness in established Slovenian companies and thus contribute to healthy development of entrepreneurial spirit in the Slovenian society.
  • 30Lean as an established consultant and mentor of lean innovation in already established organizations, mentor of startup teams of the Slovene Enterprise Fund, ABC Accelerator and others, and the leading partner of the Slovenia Running Lean movement. 
Our first joint activities include gathering and sharing these types of good and bad experiences, and co-creating PODIM Conference content for established companies