Corporate Entrepreneurship is the Challenge of our Time – Founder Institute CEO, Adeo Ressi
“We are seeing entrepreneurship take-off outside of the organisation and seeing it take-off within the organisation is probably one of the biggest issues of our day” – says Ressi as we wrap up a discussion on the topic.
Adeo Ressi is a leading pillar of the Silicon Valley community, now on his 8th start-up and having created over USD 2 Billion of shareholder value with his previous businesses, we get chatting about corporate entrepreneurship.
In addition to crafting the training and mentoring program that is the Founder Institute, enabling 1,000 entrepreneurs per year to launch their dream company, Adeo has had experience leveraging Intrapreneurship projects that can help an organisation move their business online.
Intrapreneurs need to avoid the same common “founding” mistakes that typically cause start-up companies to fail:
- They must be passionate about the idea they are developing
- They must chose the right people to work with
- They must not “skimp out” on infrastructure and set-up
These apply to Intrapreneurs as well although the circumstances of operating are different. Ideas are more likely to be bound to relevancy of the employer. You’ll need to work with people from within the organisation or sub-organisation. The infrastructure is limited to what the company will provide rather than being open to any type of vendor.
“Even 20% time projects at google have to be related to the business”.
The Founder Institute has found that high fluid intelligence, high openness and low-moderate agreeableness are good traits for an entrepreneurs. However, employees are different. Employees are optimised around high conscientiousness and higher levels of agreeableness, and potentially high fluid intelligence is also a good trait of employees. An employee being too open minded or low on agreeableness might not have passed the recruitment stage for most large organisations, yet are critical traits of entrepreneurs.
To identify Intrapreneurs, Adeo suggest looking for confident but frustrated (by rules and regulations) employees to work on new ideas in a more open format.
Corporates must have a framework to allow individuals to innovate and have an ability to collect and marshal resources, as well as some ability to support and expand the idea. You can start out part-time e.g. 20% to develop the idea and if it goes well, you can further inject more resources.
“If the structures are not their to develop the idea, you’ll definitely fail.”
A team from Intuit recently went through the training and mentoring program at the Founder Institute. The program forced the team to change their idea from something that was not going to have much of an impact on Intuit’s business to something much more promising with the potential to double revenues of an existing product.
“From a HR perspective it was a complete success. It was a career development move for them and overall they became better employees.”
Another learning came when the Intuit team members were split up and integrated into other non-corporate start-up teams. Doing that more than doubled the rate at which the team members were performing.
“You can’t rely on the culture of a business to force accelerated innovation. It’s when you pull them out of the culture and integrate them into other ways of doing things that will accelerate their innovation”.
Adeo noted that most organisations probably already have the resources to do this in a light way already. With the help of HR they can start ideating and create a little shift in culture that can go a long way. You may come up with ideas after hours, then invest 20% time to develop them and then invest more resources to develop them further. Start off small and then build up.
You can view the video below.