Your Company Could Probably Use an Intrapreneurship Team
Be proactive in reaching out to new markets, not reactive in responding to the existing market
I was recently invited to do a Q&A with the intrapreneur team at a massive technology company. They were excited to talk to me but, to be honest, I was way more excited to talk to them.
Intrapreneurship is not new. As a big-company concept, it’s been talked up for decades, because the lure of entrepreneurial strategy mashed up with the seemingly infinite resources of an established player is super enticing for both sides.
I mean, imagine if you could move really fast and break a lot of stuff.
The fact is, every company should have an intrapreneurship team. No matter the company’s stage or age or even the industry, someone has to keep an eye on the future. Unfortunately, most intrapreneurship gets done wrong more often than right. Let’s investigate why a lot of intrapreneurship fails, and explore how to make it work inside your company.
What is intrapreneurship, really?
Intrapreneurship refers to internal company resources focused on innovation. Think of it as a startup within an existing company, but instead of starting from scratch, the startup has access to the resources of the larger company, and maybe even some investment capital from the company.
I also want to clarify how intrepreneurship differs from the existing functions of a business. An intrapreneurship team is not research and development, it’s not a labs unit, and it’s not a skunkworks, even though it borrows from each of those functions.
- It’s not R&D because while an intrapreneurship team does research and does develop, that’s only part of the process. Unlike R&D, intrepreneurship ultimately must result in a viable, sustainable product that extends the product line into new areas.
- It’s not a labs unit because it’s not trying to improve existing parts of the company’s product or service. While it can indeed do that, its main function is to create entirely new applications of those existing parts.
- It’s not a skunkworks because it doesn’t work in a vacuum — rather…