Givers Are The Best Corporate Intrapreneurs!

August 15, 2011

The Milestone Brand research recommends to leaders that they place people with the Gift of Giving in corporate intrapreneurship positions.

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The Innovation Imperative
January 11 2011 by James S. Turley

Entrepreneurship and innovation are key to kick-starting our economic recovery, but too often we associate these characteristics only with smaller, startup companies, without recognizing that large companies will only succeed in the long-term by harnessing the same spirit of entrepreneurship. Globally, all of the lists of leading companies, such as the U.S. Russell 3000, the German HDAX, the FTSE 350, the South Korean KOSPI 200 and the Indian Bombay 200, turn over by 50 percent or more every five years. That means companies that are stuck in their bureaucracies will be replaced by those with a thriving culture of innovation.

Companies of all sizes need to focus on creating a culture that embraces “intrapreneurship”—that is, encouraging people within the company to explore high-risk, high-reward ideas, protected by the safety and support of a well-established corporate structure. Two factors are crucial—encouragement and support from senior management for fresh thinking, and reassurance that even if new ideas fail, the intrapreneur will not be penalized.

Innovations such as 3M’s Post-it Note, Sony’s PlayStation and Google’s Gmail flourished under these conditions. At Ernst & Young, we work every day with a wide variety of clients who rely on intrapreneurship to get the most innovative products and services to the market. We also know, however, that intrapreneurship can be difficult to nurture in a large organization. In a recent survey, half of our Entrepreneur of the Year award winners said that innovation had become more difficult as their organization grew in size and complexity.

Through our research and surveys, we’ve found six strategies that will allow internally driven innovation to flourish in your company. Outlined below, these strategies are most likely to succeed if they are implemented within an organizational framework that views intrapreneurship as an endto- end process. That means supporting it with staff, resources and formal development procedures, from the very beginnings of the idea right through to the market debut of the product or service. To do that, however, companies of all sizes need to set in motion behavioral changes that challenge conventional organizational thinking. These include:

1. Institutionalize intrapreneurship.

Give people enough time away from their day jobs to work on creative ideas, but set up formal processes to make sure those ideas go somewhere. In our recent survey of Entrepreneur Of The Year winners, 40 percent said that they came up with many good ideas but couldn’t get enough of them to the commercialization stage. Research shows that structured and formal processes for innovation are more likely to result in viable new products and services that actually make it to market.

2. Engage employees in the cause.

Encourage everyone from all ranks and functions to contribute to the innovative process. Consider setting up an intrapreneurship unit within the company to establish an idea bank to draw from at any time. Engaging your employees in this manner has been shown to lead to highly creative ideas and practical suggestions for their implementation—and has the side benefit of ensuring a highly motivated and engaged workforce.

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