Sunday, May 1, 2016

Three Aspects of Practicing Intrapreneurship in the Enterprise

Innovation is an important business capability to catalyze the business’s long-term prosperity.

If entrepreneurship is to look for changes, deploy it as an opportunity, then, intrapreneurship is about creating a new venture from within established organizations to leverage the startup culture for catalyzing changes and improving IT agility. But more specifically, how to practice intrapreneurship to innovate business and accelerate digital transformation?

Innovation is a mindset and a prerequisite to doing sustainable business these days: Innovation is more than designing new products, it is about establishing and nurturing a way of thinking where innovation is in every aspect of the business. It is a collective mindset. People can learn tools to develop both their divergent and convergent thinking skills. They can learn to generate more novel and useful ideas in diverse teams. What’s often missing is the internal innovation culture to support these platforms and ideas coming from outside the company. Mindset leads to an innovative culture, where the leadership has to understand that it is the process, instead of maintaining hierarchy or status quo, will create and enforce the collective mindset of creativity through systematic Innovation Management. Often "open innovation mindset" inside the companies is missing. It needs a completely new way of dealing with knowledge, the willingness to sharing ideas and knowledge, etc.

Innovation, in general, is surely a discipline: It covers innovation management, knowledge, and technology transfer, entrepreneurship, and it is closely related to several other disciplines. It stands in between management, economy, psychology, sociology, and law, not speaking about disciplines that are related to technologies implemented by the particular innovation. Because innovation culture and innovation management underpin an organization’s innovation capability which enables the business to manage innovation in a systematic way and drives a high rate of innovation success. Because no one can always forecast future technological advances or the next business and industry disruptor accurately, however, one can create a system that will recognize and capture technological advances as they appear. A way of doing this is by creating innovation ecosystems in which innovation can be nurtured and fruited into its maturity.

The definition of innovation is simple - to gain benefit by doing something different: The essence of innovation is made of trying new combinations of known things. It's the essence of progress. Each human being is a potential innovation by definition as you won't find two humans that are exactly the same. We are all new combinations of the known. The traits of innovation include that, simply about how some people can see what's around easily and effortlessly and discover a better way to do things, people are capable of innovation if they are capable of silencing the noise in the mind and thinking out of the box but also stay laser focus. Instead of projecting the past accepting the thing as it is, practicing intrapreneurship is about creating the future via learning, experimenting, and discovering. Innovation follows basic rules, which are adapted depending on the company's situation and ambition. That's subjective, so what's innovation to one may not be to another. Isn't it a question of perspective? Doesn't the term innovation depend on who is the customer, who gets the new benefit, the increased value (time, quality, etc.)? So revolutionary changes on subsystems might be incremental improvements on the system, which again might be a subsystem to an even bigger system, design changes that dramatically change consumer appeal and on and on. In essence, innovation is the use of something that is new and unique, and you are able to create its business value.

Innovation is an important business capability to decide the business’s long-term prosperity. Running an innovative business doesn’t mean everything goes rogue, practicing intrapreneurship in the large organization also doesn't mean getting rid of all rules. Instead, a high-innovative business has more discipline, not less; it's not about rigid rules, but a set of fine-tuned principles and an effective framework to manage innovation in a structural way. And they have an open and mature culture to attract the best and the brightest, to embrace change, create positive tension, ask tough questions and think and do things differently in order to catalyze business growth and achieve the high-performance business result for the long run.


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