Every modern organisation feels the pressure to be more innovative – to come up with that next big idea or revolutionary process that will give your company a new edge.
This has fuelled the rise of the ‘intrapreneur’ – a person who thinks and behaves like an entrepreneur while working within an organisation.
Instead of waiting to be told what to do by management, the intrapreneur takes the initiative to come up with new ideas that solve the company’s problems and create new opportunities.
They stop to look around at the things that could be improved within their domain.
They take extreme ownership of the company’s future success.
From the junior employee who designed the Sony PlayStation to the janitor who invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, most intrapreneurs in recent history have had to overcome internal resistance to their bright ideas.
To find and foster your company’s own innovative spark, here’s how leaders can start laying the groundwork for and training their team to be intrapreneurs:
1. Create the right culture
A culture that supports intrapreneurship allows people to take risks, fail and continuously learn.
There could be hundreds of clever ideas bubbling beneath the surface, while your team is too nervous to even bring them up for fear of rocking the boat.
Other deterrents for budding intrapreneurs is resistance to change and criticism – even when this criticism comes in the form of a better idea.
Instead, each team member should feel comfortable expressing their ideas with others, supported by management and encouraged to think beyond the usual way of doing things.
You can read my earlier blog post for more detailed tips on creating a team culture that excels.
2. Give them the tools to develop their ability to innovate (and practice it!)
Some of your team may have yet to learn the intrapreneurial way of thinking, while others are already primed and just waiting for the chance to apply themselves!
Whether you provide them with books, courses or dedicated time to brainstorm and collaborate on their ideas to disrupt the business, give your team the space and means to teach themselves and each other about intrapreneurship.
3. Offer incentives and rewards
Just like any other entrepreneur, the intrapreneurs in your company are motivated by reward. When implementing your own innovation strategy and getting people involved, tell them what’s in it for them.
That way, the need to innovate doesn’t become somebody else’s responsibility – it becomes everybody’s opportunity.
How do you recognise and nurture the intrapreneurs in your own organisation? Leave a comment below highlighting how you engage your team to become more innovative.
Brant’s inspiring keynote speeches about leadership, teamwork and resilience has helped people and organisations re-define what’s possible.