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Entrepreneurs are traditionally seen as not fitting well within the structures of a business. They’re supposed to be non-conforming, eccentric and outgoing people who do things their own way.
Too many businesses don’t understand the value of harnessing an entrepreneurial environment at work. It’s the only way that any organisation, big or small, can stay competitive. So it amazes me when I see some bosses who give employees no space to be creative.
Intrapreneurship is a way for companies to be more entrepreneurial and consequently increase their innovative potential. It’s taking the best parts of entrepreneurial thinking – the creativity, the problem solving and ideas – and developing them within the infrastructure of a bigger organisation.
It means giving all members of your business the ability to come up with new ideas of doing things, new products, improvements to products or just to the business systems you’re using.
Not only is this helping the business with its competitive advantage, it’s a great for improving staff satisfaction, productivity and retention.
Most important to the ability of intrapreneurship is the way your organisation is set-up to embrace it. There’s no room for old-school, strictly pyramid management systems. A workplace has to create an environment which encourages new ideas and creative thinking, and gives employees a certain level of freedom.
At Google, staff are allowed to dedicate 20 per cent of their time each day to working on personal projects, potentially good Google products. This is how G-mail was invented, by one of the staff in their creative time.
Key points when converting your business into one that is intrapreneurial:
- Support needs to come from the top
- Good communication channels between staff and management
- A willingness to allocate resources to the development of ideas.
- Adapting entrepreneurial thinking into the current business structure.
Open up your business to some entrepreneurial thinking and you never know when or from where your new big product will come.
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