Intrapreneurship is not just a trend, it is imperative! As seen by Cisco, Amazon, Toyota, Samsung, Apple, Nestlé, Allianz…just to name a few. They are not just long standing household names you are familiar with, they are also the forerunners in adopting entrepreneurship within the organisation. Therefore, we need intrapreneurs to lead innovation in a corporate setting.
We all agree that innovation and creativity is crucial in a corporate environment to create breakthroughs. Without new innovation, these companies will not be able to evolve and eventually risk losing market share or becoming disrupted by new competitors who strive for innovation continuously.
How do companies approach innovation and intrapreneurship? Is it through investing billions of dollars in product development, is it determined by market size, or is it to copy other people’s ideas and improvise? There are plenty of methods to innovate. However, make sure you also have the intrapreneurs or innovators rather than just the innovation methods.
Related reading: 21 Great Ways to Innovate
The Ideas vs Innovators
Business Ideas vs The Intrapreneurship Journey
There are hundreds and thousands of great ideas popping up everywhere in the world everyday. But only a handful would survive to become large companies, like Uber, Airbnb, Dropbox, Twitter. It’s not that these ideas were necessarily unique that made them successful, as many other would be entrepreneurs were surely playing with the same or very similar ideas at the same time. It’s not that they were necessarily the first to do what they did either. But the entrepreneurs behind the ideas were able to learn and change path along their journey with out ever giving up. In a large established organisation, intrapreneuring is not about coming up with a futuristic idea and getting married to the idea, but figuring out the journey you need to take in order to prove that the idea solves a real problem that customers care about and are willing to pay for. Having the grit to continue on this journey is what turns an idea into an innovation.
The secret sauce that drives success – The Intrapreneurs and Innovators
Is the CEO the innovator? Does he possess intrapreneurial skillset?
Think of Apple’s Steve Jobs or Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, not only is innovation talent rare, not many companies can stomach that sort of leadership. – Alexander Osterwalder
According to a recent interview, Osterwalder said: ‘Business models didn’t change that much 20 years ago, CEOs who take over a business model of a company manage them, you would focus on managing a proven business model by making it better, and you would focus on the organization structure. Most businesses only have 1 model. Business models are expiring faster than before, especially in the tech industry, telecommunication, media, publishing, healthcare, insurance and finance. Shortly after, industries like pharmaceuticals, consumer goods and food started to realize they needed to change too. Today as a CEO, you have to deal with the business model topic, not yesterday. The challenge for the CEO today is not just to manage a world class organisation by managing the existing business model, but at the same time to invent new business models and new revenue streams with new customers. It’s what we call an ambidextrous organization to have the ability to do both. Improve and invent new business models that will disrupt or cannibalise the old one, because if you don’t start working on disrupting your own business model, you’ll feel the pain of the other guys who are.
Introducing The Chief Entrepreneur – the chief for innovation
Intrapreneurs Are Leading Innovation in Corporate Settings
There are exceptions who are both visionary CEOs and innovators – Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos, for example. But there are very few companies that can stomach that sort of leadership. That’s why companies today need a new role in the C-Suite. You could call this person the Chief Entrepreneur (CE) – someone who can lead the future of the company while the CEO takes cares of running the existing business. This is a huge divergence from the traditional norm for chief roles, but the CE is a necessary position of power to ensure that a company innovates. Potential CEs may already exist in many companies, we just don’t pay attention to their traits or give them the chance to lead innovation. This person might even be you.
Read more: The C-Suite needs a Chief Entrepreneur.
If you’re interested to find out if you have intrapreneur qualities, then take our Intrapreneur DNA test that assesses and scores key intrapreneurial personality traits and behaviours. Contact us at [email protected] and we’ll be happy to discuss further how this could be useful for your organization.