Many feel that "intrapreneurship" is an interesting concept, but one which is fraught with peril. The need for innovation within organizations is a topic of much debate today as entrepreneurship has finally caught the world's attention. If entrepreneurial firms change the business paradigms and make us see products and services in a different manner, then why can't existing organizations with their tremendous wealth and resources foster innovation much more readily?
They can and do, but intrapreneurship is not a concept accepted by all large organizations. In an effort to become more efficient and cost effective, the search for the new and untried is anathema. Those who wish to go where no man has gone before must innovate or they will not reach their goal.
How do you make your company more innovative? How do IDEO and Google do this? How can you make a large organization intrapreneurial? Can it even be done? Absolutely! Here are our suggestions for organizing your company in order to enhance creativity and innovation. Escape the traditional thinking typically found in corporate settings and transform your organization's ability to create break-through products and services!
WHAT IS INTRAPRENEURSHIP?
Intrapreneurship is a term coined by Burgelman in his 1983 dissertation (www.wikipedia August 24, 2007) and made prominent by Gifford Pinchot (1985) in his book, "Intrapreneuring: Why You Don't Have to Leave the Corporation to Become an Entrepreneur." Pinchot (1985) defines an intrapreneur as a "person who focuses on innovation and creativity and who transforms a dream or an idea into a profitable venture, by operating within the organizational environment."
Many feel that "intrapreneurship" is an interesting concept, but one which is fraught with peril. The need for innovation within organizations is a topic of much debate today as entrepreneurship has finally caught the world's attention. If entrepreneurial firms change the business paradigms and make us see products and services in a different manner, then why can't existing organizations with their tremendous wealth and resources foster innovation much more readily? Why, indeed?
ORGANIZATIONAL CHARACTERISTICS THAT ENCOURAGE INTRAPRENEURSHIP
The key to establishing an "intrapreneur-friendly" organization is to create an innovative working environment.(Intrapreneurship, answers.com August 24, 2007) Sounds simple, doesn't it? Yet, in many large organizations the environment is already established. There are hierarchies, rules, procedures and the "right" way to do things to make the company more efficient. Careers can be destroyed by monetary losses and mistakes. Innovation is difficult under those conditions. Yet, as far back as 1988, Rule and Irwin theorized that one could create a culture of innovation through: 1) formation of intrapreneurial teams and task forces; 2) recruitment of new staff with new ideas: 3) application of strategic plans that focus on achieving innovation; and 4) establishment of internal research and development programs (Rule & Irwin, 1988).
Other keys to creating an intrapreneurial environment include the following: (Intrapreneurship, answers.com, August 24, 2007)
* Support from ownership and top management;
* Recognition that intrapreneurship is compatible to the existing culture;
* Communication channels that are open;
* Allocation of resources to the new innovations;
* Rewards for intrapreneurship; and,
* Follow through by the intrapreneurs in order to see the finished product.
While these are noble goals, do most organizations allow for these?
Three fundamental blocks to the above goals in organizations are the following: (Some thoughts..., 2007)
* Believing you already have "the right answer" (This prevents you from understanding possible alternative futures and choosing to create the one you most desire. The not invented here syndrome is alive and well in most large companies.);
* Taking life too seriously prevents one from exploring new ideas; and,
* Believing you are not creative prevents attempts which might result in failure (Some thoughts.... 2007).
Creativity and innovation must flourish if large companies are striving to create an environment conducive to intrapreneurship. Can that happen in your organization?
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR INTRAPRENEURS
Pinchot (1985) in his seminal work on "Intrapreneuring" provides a list of rules for the intrapreneur striving in a large company to get his or her idea accepted. They are:
* Do any job needed to make your project work regardless of your job description;
* Share credit wisely;
* Remember, it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission;
* Come to work each day willing to be fired;
* Ask for advice before asking for resources;
* Follow your intuition about people; build a team of the best;
* Build a quiet coalition for your idea; early publicity triggers the corporate immune system;
* Never bet on a race unless you are running in it;
* Be true to your goals, but realistic about ways to achieve them; and
* Honor your sponsors.
This advice could be beneficial for anyone working in the corporate environment, but does it truly make an "intrapreneur friendly" workplace? We think not!
THE PRACTICE OF THE ART OF INTRAPRENEURSHIP
Kawasaki (2006) presented a more realistic set of commandments for the modern day "intrapreneur". This series of...