These times of change demands new thinking. When working inside a large organization, that is not always the easiest thing to do. Intrapreneurs (Corporate Entrepreneurs) often struggle with finding their form, especially if there is not an outspoken strategy and defined system in place for intrapreneurship within the organization.
Here is an approach to some key steps you can take to start thinking and working as an intrapreneur, and become an agent of change for your organization.
Find the right project
The product/service/situation/process or other you select as your innovation project should be ready to disrupted and needs to be available to you. If you want to change and think new about something, you need to ensure it is within something you have access to and ideally also competence about.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What are your exact areas of responsibility that you think are suited for change?
- Have you done any observations that make you think the area is ready to be disrupted?
- Is this an area where you believe you have the ability and insight needed to think new?
- Will you need other insights, resources or people that are key to be able to think new or give you the necessary permissions?
- Is the area business critical and will the change have impact in a way that matches key focus areas of the organization?
Gather entrepreneurial mindsets
More people think better than few – you will need contributors that build up the same enthusiasm as yourself.
These are some tips that might be helpful:
- Gather a group of people from different backgrounds to ensure diversity – the results will for sure become better
- Ensure your select group of people who have an entrepreneurial mindset
- Sell them on the idea you have
- Arrange an initial brainstorming session to secure the project scope (here are some ideas for conducting better brainstorming sessions)
Get endorsements for the project and its scope
It takes a lot of hard work and effort to work with an entrepreneurial project. You will need support from key influencers that can either champion the project or allow that you have access to the right resources and people. You might need to set up an internal project where people can log their hours, for instance, which means you will need backing. Since you already have a scope in place, it will be easier to get the right support and funding needed for the project.
Start your project and conduct it startup style
There are many tips around on how to learn project and task-solving the startup way. In general, it means thinking in shorter stints and test out theories and practical elements with real users as much along the way as you can. Take a closer look at Eric Ries, the founder and author of The Lean Startup, and his thoughts on the subject, as well as this article from Harvard Business Review on lean startup methodology.
Intrapreneurship is for sure gaining traction here in Norway and all over the globe. Big corporations are turning to startups to get inspiration and “learn the ropes” on entrepreneurial thinking, as well as setting up their own initiatives for innovation and intrapreneurship. Schibsted recently announced that they are starting a unicorn lab and at the same day, Sparebank 1 announced that they are establishing a separate innovation company to ensure they win digital customers in the future.
Even though your organization is not establishing its own startup style innovation lab or company, you can still be in a position to work and think as a startup. I hope this post enables you to take the first steps.
These are for sure exciting times – where the most adaptable and innovative will excel. Those who protect their old position and continue doing things as before, will loose. Make sure this is not you.