Intrapreneur EcosystemAccepting that sanctioned intrapreneurs need a supporting environment in which to develop ideas and, importantly, transform them to launch (go to market) then the organization requires a framework – an ecosystem.

Whilst entrepreneurs have their ecosystem mapped out to bring in input / support from the four cornerstones of community, public sector, private sector and community, the intrapreneur ecosystem is different. In many ways, the ecosystem for the corporate entrepreneur is more complex and calls for political / social skills that do not necessarily apply to the entrepreneur.

At a macro level, political leaders are keen to see an increase in revenues (and taxes), improved employment opportunities, raised educational standards and a general uplift in the living conditions of so many people on this planet.

Corporately, business leaders want to improve turnover and profitability which may lead to a reduction in headcount but, all the same, they want new and fresh ideas – innovation.

In the public sector, we see able public servants confronted with the challenge of delivering excellent services with shrinking budgets. How to balance this? How to provide more for less?

Whilst I consult with many organizations on the subject of intrapreneurship, I see that many leaders and managers are uncertain about exactly how to go about it – they understand conceptually that it can be ‘a lot of work’ and that it is, in effect, a program that is designed to disrupt their way of working – but how?

it is important to stress here that yes it is a lot of work – but this work may already have been done and bedded into the organization… you just don’t realize it.

It is generally accepted that intrapreneurship takes into account people, process and systems – but how? How to build it; how to manage it; how to reward it; how to keep faith in it.

The intrapreneur ecosystem is a framework that wraps around the program – it is a set of guidelines that helps leaders to create a supporting environment for people who ask “why?” and “what if?”

When going through the business case to develop an intrapreneur ecosystem, the benefits of such a model will include:

  • proactive employees
  • developing leadership culture
  • deconstruction of old-fashioned and inflexible hierarchy
  • teams built based on aligned values as opposed to hierarchical influence
  • people with high tolerance for stress
  • reflective thinkers with an appreciation of risk
  • active learners who take it upon themselves to develop skill sets
  • motivated team members are easier to lead / manage
  • employees start thinking like a personal profit center as opposed to a cost center
  • productivity increases
  • new revenue is generated

There are, of course, issues to consider:

  • it takes time, money and commitment to develop an intrapreneur ecosystem
  • the intrapreneur ecosystem will impact on organizational design as well as culture
  • it’s not enough for a leader / executive to say the business is going to be entrepreneurial – actions speaks louder than words
  • a senior stakeholder needs to be front-and-center
  • budget is required to seed any ideas and to accelerate them
  • the business needs to accept failure
  • risk profiling may need to be modified

Many companies were formed in the 19th and 20th centuries – and still apply ‘old’ principles. Now, many of these principles are perfectly sound and I would not suggest that we completely junk centuries of learning – but I do suggest that 21st century organizations should begin to embrace motivated, enthusiastic and creative people as part of their future growth.

As intrapreneurship is behavioral and heavily impacted by psychology and personality, the ecosystem is a general guiding environment rather than a fixed structure. The intrapreneur ecosystem you see here is the evolving result of speaking to entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and business leaders about what is required in order to develop corporate entrepreneurialism. I will say right up front that this will never be a definitive model as the world is in constant change – but this is the model that we are using today.

Contact me for an informal chat about intrapreneurship.

The Intrapreneur Ecosystem