Intrapreneurs, Brands’ Secret Weapons!
Have you ever thought that your branding, marketing or business strategies are hitting the wall? Have you ever been told that you should think outside the box? Do you remember that moment when you said ‘How on earth did our competitor came up with this new and unique idea?’
Surprisingly, there are many reasons for that. Though, a particular reason here is that your competitor have already adopted an entrepreneurial mindset to seek new creative opportunities without regards to resources currently held. People there have started to ditch the walls of their internal departments, and they are infusing their entire company with their creative ideas that began to change the culture of their day-to-day activities.
Successful business leaders today (including C-level executives in big brands) are being classified as intrapreneurial or as what others call “Corporate Entrepreneurs”. Research shows that one of the key reasons for being successful in today’s marketplace is due to the understanding, embracing and living by an entrepreneurial mindset in the organisation.
Even though, intrapreneurship is not a new concept, and it was there since the eighties (80’s), many brands did not embrace or understand the benefits of it until today. However, if we looked back at the history, we would find different companies like, 3M, Sony, General Electric, Nike and Apple have used many of the intrapreneurial techniques (with both success and failure) throughout their journeys. So why many brands are insisting on ignoring such a gift until this very moment?
To be honest, the topic of intrapreneurship is very huge, and there are many books/resources available in the market about that. Nevertheless, I’ll try to provide you with some key points on the topic to shed the light on some crucial ideas you might need to utilise in your journey.
Definitions of intrapreneurship
A. New venture creation within existing organisations and the transformation of organisations through ‘strategic renewal’
B. Formal or informal activities aimed at creating new businesses in established companies through product and process innovations and market developments
In a nutshell, intrapreneurship is a process whereby an individual or a group of individuals initiates renewal or innovation within an existing brand/organisation (be it profit-making, non-profit, public, private…etc).
Other related terms you might hear include corporate entrepreneurship, innovation or venturing. Indeed, what popular press call ‘The Corporate Revolution’ is really about how to remake firms entrepreneurial and all set for the challenges of the new marketplace.
Corporate entrepreneurship may be formal or informal activities aimed at creating new businesses in established companies through product and process innovations and market developments. These activities may take place at the top level, at the division level and at the project level, with the unifying objective of improving a company’s competitive position and financial performance.
~Zahra on intrapreneurship
Four Kinds of intrapreneurship
(that rejuvenate or redefine the organisation)
1. Sustained regeneration: most frequent form of corporate entrepreneurship – create a stream of new products/innovations in existing products (Incremental Innovation).
2. Organisation rejuvenation: focuses on internal processes and procedures. The goal is to increase the value derived from the production chain.
3. Strategic renewal: firm seeking to change how it competes by aligning itself better with the external environment (e.g. customers) and to position itself more competitively or even to monopolise a given market segment.
4. Domain redefinition: seeking out new markets that the competitors have not recognised or have under-served by creating first-mover advantage.
That Highlight the Need for an Entrepreneurial Mindset Like Never Before
There is a Rapid growth of new and sophisticated competitors in each and every market.
There is a big sense of distrust in the traditional methods of corporate management.
The Best and brightest people are leaving to become small-business entrepreneurs.
International competitions are diminishing the geographical boundaries.
There is a continuous downsizing of major corporations.
There is a constant demand to improve efficiency and productivity toward solutions provided by competing brands.
Pinchot’s Famous Ten Questions
(To Audit/Foster the Intrapreneurial Culture within any Company)
Does your company encourage self-appointed intrapreneurs?
Does your company provide ways for intrapreneurs to stay with their enterprises?
Are people permitted to do the job in their own way, or are they constantly stopping to explain their actions and ask for permission?
Has your company evolved quick and informal ways to access the resources to try new ideas?
Has your company developed ways to manage many small and experimental products and businesses?
Is your system set up to encourage risk–taking and to tolerate mistakes?
Can your company decide to try something and stick with the experiment long enough to see if it will work, even when that may take years and several false starts?
Are people in your company more concerned with new ideas or with defending their turf?
How easy is it to form functionally complete, autonomous teams in your corporate environment?
Do intrapreneurs in your company face monopolies, or are they free to use the resources of other divisions and outside vendors if they choose?