Intrapreneurship Program Success: Everything You Need to Know
Curiosity surrounding the topic of intrapreneurship has grown significantly in recent years. This pique in interest can be attributed to 3 primary factors: the state of the market, the change in consumer priorities, and the necessary shift in workplace culture.
Those who can recognize and respond to these adjustments have a solid foundation for building an intrapreneurship program. We’ll keep it 100—those who can’t, don’t. Below, rready explores all the need-to-know elements of intrapreneurship program success to ensure you don’t fall into the latter category.
What Is an Intrapreneurship Program?
An intrapreneurship program is an initiative companies take to create value by decentralizing innovation. It aims to encourage intrapreneurship among all members of an organization. As a type of entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship shares many of the same principles. An intrapreneur undertakes the responsibility of realizing and capitalizing on a new idea. However, instead of setting up their own business, an intrapreneur works to enhance the products, services, or processes within the company they’re employed.
What Is the Purpose of an Intrapreneurial Program?
Although value creation is the primary goal, an intrapreneurial program can impact a company in several ways, including:
- Improves company culture and employee morale.
- Uncovers areas of improvement within current business practices.
- Incentivises the creativity needed to create innovative (and therefore, highly competitive) products and services.
Long story short, an intrapreneurship program helps companies tap into the distributed knowledge of all employees. There’s a lot of corporate jargon surrounding the concept of an intrapreneurship program, so let’s get specific with an example!
Suppose your business needs to revamp its customer service model. Without an intrapreneurship program, someone in a leadership role will be tasked with critical decisions like opting to change CRM providers or implementing a chatbot to route customers to the correct department. But, the manager has likely never even used the CRM to interact with consumers. Their position doesn’t typically require them to speak to consumers directly. Their understanding of customer relations challenges is surface-level because it simply isn’t in their scope of responsibility. Instead, they specialize in managing business processes and employees.
An Intrapreneurship Program as a Solution
A good intrapreneurship program will involve non-executive level employees in the innovative decision-making process. In the scenario above, the customer service agents have the first-hand perspective that will be most valuable for this project. Unfortunately, traditional innovation models fail to take that into account. Managers out there, take a deep breath. A good intrapreneurship program wouldn’t push the manager aside to let customer service agents take over. Instead, it would put the manager and the customer service agent on level playing fields. Together, they can combine their unique strengths to reach the best possible outcome. This approach closes knowledge gaps, encourages employee collaboration, and ultimately results in better solutions.
The Recipe for a Successful Intrapreneurship Program
I know what you’re thinking, “Sounds great. How do I sign up?” Or maybe you’re thinking, “Get to the point so I can go to lunch.” Well, whether you’re hungry for knowledge or just hungry, the ingredients below will get you on your way to baking a decadent and deliciously moist intrapreneurship program cake. Aw man, now we’re hungry too😔.
If an intrapreneurship program is a cake, company culture is the sturdy yet delectable base. In other words, a program of any kind is doomed to fail if no one participates in it. Company culture is the foundation for successful intrapreneurship. It’s also one of those things that you just can’t fake. The members of your organization must have:
- A positive employee-employer relationship - One of the biggest open innovation challenges companies face is employee engagement. Businesses with high turnover rates and low employee morale are least likely to reap the benefits of intrapreneurship because their employees just don’t care enough to get involved.
- The motivation to innovate - Think about what influences people to “think outside the box.” Usually, it’s to solve a problem or improve a situation. Even if the members of your organization have a connection to the company, they’re unlikely to explore avenues of value creation unprovoked. An intrapreneurship program incentives innovation through motivational techniques like gamification.
- Enough confidence to share their ideas and contribute to projects - Validation is often the first step in an innovation pipeline. Someone comes up with an idea, and other team members validate it by showing it to the right people, offering feedback, or simply saying, “dude, this is a great idea.” Acknowledging the value of every employee helps strengthen the bond between member and the organization. Most of the time, it’s as elementary as collecting feedback and making business processes more approachable.
If you want someone to do something, make it easy to do. If your intrapreneurship program is time-consuming or tough to navigate, you can pretty much kiss that precious motivation goodbye. Innovation technology is often referred to as “idea management software.” Its features differ from provider to provider, but they all have a few critical functionalities in common. Features may include a platform to collect feedback, a dashboard to track the progress of innovation projects, and a communication tool for sharing ideas and facilitating collaboration. Of course, not all innovation management software is created equal, so it’s vital to ensure your solution covers all the necessary bases.
Coaching Beyond Consulting
Many companies turn to consulting services to help them manage their innovation processes. But at rready, we don’t believe consultations alone have the reach to facilitate meaningful innovation. Thus, the rready KICKBOX was born. It’s an amalgamation of innovation management, coaching, software, and culture. Where the scope of consultation ends, KICKBOX is just beginning. In addition to expert-level insights and guidance, an intrapreneurship program should provide you with the tools you need to support your innovation efforts.
KICKBOX has its own community of users. This community extends innovation culture from inside your organization to organizations worldwide with the same mission. Our line of thinking was something like, “Hey, networking is an essential part of innovation. Why not build it straight into the intrapreneurship program?” KICKBOX also couples idea management software with a physical toolkit to make the innovation process tangible and highly accessible. No, literally. It includes a physical roadmap detailing each step of the innovation process and how employees with bright ideas can move them through the pipeline.
The bottom line is that clear direction regarding the innovation process is critical. Make sure your intrapreneurship program is as transparent and supportive as possible. Basically, hold my hand and encourage confidence but don’t be weird about it.
How to Implement a Successful Intrapreneurship Program in Your Company
Before implementing a change of any kind in your company, it’s best to take some time to reflect on what you really need. If your employees are beating down the door to share their ideas with you, an intrapreneurship program that focuses on employee engagement is probably not the ideal solution. Conversely, you might notice you’re lacking the tech to organize all those ideas. In that case, you’d benefit most from partnering with an intrapreneurship program that includes software as a service (SaaS.)
If you’re stuck making a pros and cons list of all the intrapreneurship programs you’ve encountered in your research, we can help. Check out our comparison of the best innovation solutions on the market today. If you already have an intrapreneurship program in place but need additional support to fill in the gaps, we can help with that too.