Tip #1: Put an “intrapreneurship programme” on your organization´s bucket list
Welcome to the Tips for VIPs section. This new space has been created to share our company experience and help you grow your business with the posts of our successful entrepreneurs and business directors.
Start-up vs. Intrapreneur
Being your own boss, earning your bread-and-butter and being recognized for it are some of the major drivers for entrepreneurs to set up their own businesses. Unfortunately, 90% of start-ups fail to survive within the first three years of business. The variety of skills, time and effort required from start-upper, as well as the cash and the necessity to keep up with market demands make an endless list of reasons that lead to failure. It is hard to stay motivated, build a team that shares the same values and respond to market needs in a fast growing and changing economy where you are likely to miss the train while you rest on your laurels from the last innovation prize that you won.
Entrepreneurs, however, have a vision, an innovation that can disrupt or change the way we do things as well as pride and self-confidence in themselves and their capacities. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs are locked within organizations and never step out of their comfort zone because of job security and other risks associated with running a business. This especially happens to women as most of the start-ups that I personally deal with are run by Caucasian alpha males (no offence).
Since the early 70´s intrapreneurship programmes have provided an opportunity for skilled and talented co-workers to develop their ground-breaking ideas. Famous examples of intrapreneurship are IBM´s first PC, Facebook’s “Like” button as well as 3M’s Post-It notes, which by the way happened to be an accident rather than the result of a well-researched intrapreneurship programme. From my point of view, intrapreneurial programmes provide not only an organizational and financial safety-net to develop the projects, but also cultural and gender diversity within a team that already shares your values.
Nevertheless, you do not necessarily need to be part of a large and successful organization to impulse talented, ambitious and bright co-workers. There is also no need to set up endless make-a-thons, idea boxes or give co-workers free time to come up with ingenious ideas like the “Google 20%-time rule”. And being honest, when you work in a small organization, how can you spare the valuable working time even though results seem promising? Over the years, I have seen that people who are committed to their work and have the X-factor for entrepreneurship actually come up with brilliant ideas while doing their assigned work.
Tip for today
So, my tip for today is: give them a chance to shine even more and foster intrapreneurship within organizations of each type by focusing on three rules:
- A successful intrapreneurship programme is only successful if the managing director or the owner of the company is a 100% committed to the intrapreneurial vision and the organization is set to foster and accept entrepreneurial spirit.
- It is vital to ensure process and performance indicators that measure progress are well defined.
- And most importantly, that a budget is set aside.
Despite all said, sometimes intrapreneurial ideas just happen. Simply give them wings to fly.
At Inspiralia, three brilliant intrapreneurs are currently implementing their ideas. We simply gave them budget, assigned a team, a profit-and-loss account to measure their progress and gave them the confidence that they will succeed.
Passionate about technology research and entrepreneurship, Aleksandra worked at Fraunhofer Geselleschaft for three years and has dedicated the last eleven years to innovation consulting.
As Inspiralia’s Business Incubator Director and partner at TORO Ventures, she focuses on supporting the growth of our clients through directed business development, mentoring and strategic advisory. Aleksandra has helped lead TORO’s own investments and manages their expansion.
Aleksandra is German-Polish and holds an Economics Degree from Reutlingen University.