The intrapreneur: A key to internal innovation

by | May 7, 2013

External innovation can lead to superior products compared to a company’s competitors. However, internal innovation is also important. These are two types of innovation that many successful businesses have in common.

Healthy internal innovation can be a path to greater staff retention, streamlined structures and welcome momentum.

Enter the intrapreneur. This is a person who is given the freedom of working independently within a company to foster innovation and shine light on new ways of doing things.

intrapreneur

It’s a given that the accelerating rate of change in today’s world means corporations must innovate to remain competitive.

The role of CIOs has grown and evolved in the past decade or so. Their focus has changed from risk minimisation to an active, agile, “intrapreneurial” spirit.

Only 3 per cent of Australian CIOs believe their companies have reached their full innovation potential. 22 per cent say their organisations have only been partially successful.

In looking for opportunities to allow innovation to thrive, CIOs have embraced digital media and social networking tools.

More CIOs in Australia have access to CEOs compared to their counterparts overseas. 41 per cent of CIOs report directly to CEOs, compared to the global average of 32 per cent. 59 per cent of CIOs sit on management boards. This is larger than the global average by 7 per cent.

The Lean Startup business model encourages the creation of lightweight “minimum viable products” with the sole purpose of being tested in the real world i.e. with clients.

If product stakeholders are able to pinpoint the right kind of metrics they need to validate, it’s crucial to test this as swiftly and cheaply as possible.

Startups tend to use resources, such as cloud-based tools, that are free, easy to use and require minimum IT support. IT teams should harness resources such as these to help drive internal innovation.

Traditional corporate structures can stifle innovation. Any research that brings up ‘bad’ ideas can quickly be shelved, meaning budgets, bonuses and reputations remain intact.

Companies need to re-think their structures and processes to allow employees have the space to learn, develop and make mistakes if need be.

Once proven processes are finessed in a control lab team, these methods can be introduced to the whole company, paving the way to greater innovation.

Read the original article here.

Jeffrey Tobias

About Jeffrey Tobias

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well-known startups.

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Managing Director, The Strategy Group

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well known startups. Jeffrey’s corporate background includes leading global innovation strategy at Cisco, working with large corporates such as Adobe, Westpac, Telstra, Woolworths, and Perpetual.

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