Focus on intrapreneurs: Tips to encourage internal entrepreneurship

Intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs are buzz words today. However letting your employees be entrepreneurs inside your company is not straight forward.

Businessman turn on invention machine for glowing lightbulbs, representing to creat idea.
Businessman turn on invention machine for glowing lightbulbs, representing to creat idea.

In lots of Corporate time is to wake up the internal start-upers and copy/paste the start-up dynamic and growth into the existing organisation. The « start-up » state-of-mind is seen as the holy grail of product development and the good way to invent the future and to innovate. Some companies think that it is a question of life or death as Uber is the new Devil within Corporate.

One characteristics of start-ups is the agility in the way that they can test, learn, modify very fast in order to find quickly the good product for the right customers and opposite. This entrepreneur state-of-mind is the secret of internal entrepreneur also called Intrapreneur.

How can we encourage such behaviour? How can we leverage on the energy?

First of all there is a problem of human resource. Do you have the right talents for this new shift within your company? Corporates are risks adverse so they hire people that are risks adverses. But Corporate as such talents hates risks. And we are talking all about that. taking risks, failing and bouncing… Focus should be made on delivery, inside and outside the organisation.

Kick your employees out of the wall

Entrepreneurs are creative people. How do they manage to be creative and find new ideas of products or services? Observation and connection are keys. Those guys are out, they observe, they look at things, they ask people. Creativity is really often the possibility to connect an existing concept with a need and manage to adapt it and fill the gap.

One should push employees out of the wall to encourage their creativity, open their minds and increase their creativity.

Too much experts

Your company is organised in order to have experts discussing of their technical points. It reminds me the quote for Einstein stating more or less that we will have the same solutions if we try to solve the problem the same way we ever did.

That’s about innovation, letting new things fertilize our minds and generating new ideas and new way to address one issue or one need.

So  let your employees go out and get inspired by what is outside the company. Then brainstorm internally to get the best out of this. I have heard really often my colleagues or clients saying that « no our industry is different, it will never work here »… Well did they try already? hard enough? I am sure no. I am sure no because I ran several workshops of this kind with outstanding results in very different industries; Energy (of course, that’s my job) but also electronic, Insurance, banking…

Co-work

Coworking is key and allow team to leverage their capabilities and results. So if you are trying to establish a culture of entrepreneurship within your organisation, don’t forget to plan co-working possibilities. Because finding the good resources, the good knowledge (connecting) within the company is a entrepreneur state-of-mind. Mixing temporarily (sometime for an hour) the people with different expertises will add so much value to your project.

Do you have your own office? Alone in a room. I do. That’s counter productive for innovation and coworking. Set coworking space: a fablab or innovation Lab, a meeting room transformed to be the Project’s place, an open office…

In a future article about #MyDigitalTransformationProject (follow this hashtag for more info) I will present you our dedicated office and what advantages it gives to the project.

What is an intrapreneur?

Someone who is curious, interested, open minded, an expert of nothing but good at everything, a continuous learner (on that point try to find out how much employees in your organisation are attending to MOOC… That’s a good sign), taking manageable risks, knowing how to learn from failure, enriching his/her knowledge with other experts, connecting the dots to make a new picture.

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