Startups are known for their innovative thinking, energetic work environments, collaboration among peers, agile development and design thinking skills. In recent years, large corporations have started to take notice of the value that these unique qualities could bring to their overall business — enter the concept of internal innovation and intrapreneurship.
Simply stated, intrapreneurship is entrepreneurship within a company. Employees utilize creative traits in their work environment to initiate problem-solving and idea development. Taking an avant-garde approach to business can create new channels and uncover opportunities for growth and increase profit margins.
The goal of intrapreneurship is to motivate employees to develop their own ideas through company-related projects. Google’s approach with the “20 percent time” rule allots their employees, mostly engineers, to work on projects that interested them outside their job descriptions. Gmail, Google News and other invaluable programs were born.
Intrapreneurial philosophy encourages personal innovation to advance the greater company goals. It is more of an operating spirit than a structured program, making intrapreneurship simple to introduce to your business practices.
Your employees have expertise and specialized skills that can be channeled into your business through side projects. Reap the benefits of a more creative, idea-led environment with increased productivity. If employees are active in inventive ideation, they foster work beyond average, day-to-day assignments and tasks.
Consider the following steps for integrating intrapreneurship in your company culture:
- Recruit self-starters. Throughout the hiring process, consider candidates who will fulfill business goals with inventive solutions. Enable driven employees to carry out their vision. Intrapreneurs in your company can supply the brain power and practical application to propel your business.
- Motivate your employees to be and think more entrepreneurially. When employees initiate projects, they are compelled by discovery and innovation. Companies emphasizing self-driven projects showcase its value of employees’ interest and expertise.
- Host a startup weekend. Restore your employees’ creative nature, encourage collaboration and spark competitiveness through a pitch competition. Have employees from different departments work together to invent new ideas consistent with your company’ vision and mission. Let’s face it, a friendly competition among co-workers can ignite the innovative thinking needed to improve a product, service or company, thus enhancing form and function.
- Continually seek feedback. Your consumers and employees will have opinions and suggestions for improvements for your business. Collect internal and external user feedback to make sufficient changes and manifest new projects for intrapreneurs.
Intrapreneurship reduces the stagnant activity in your company with affinity and fresh innovation. Today’s forward-thinking companies value intrapreneurship because they recognize the profitable contribution from freedom of thought.
Collaborate and innovate
Explore the value of intrapreneurship for your business. Ask yourself: What can facilitate collaboration? What areas can your business improve with applied innovation? What interests can your employees translate to beneficial projects?
Above all else, recognize intrapreneurs as a driving force for your business and forward motion for success.