When I think intrapreneurship, I think Google. Google employees have invented the impossible, helped in part by the Google 20 percent time rule to foster innovation while working on their own projects. In corporate America? The land of the 60-hour work week? As we look at the innovations from status quo disruptors like Google, Facebook and Lockheed’s Skunk Works, more companies are playing with this crazy intrapreneur idea. But how does the CEO begin implementing intrapreneurship in an old-school corporation?
1. Lead by example. CEO‚ are often the visionaries, watching the markets, looking at trends and captaining the company into the unknown future. The question is: do your employees know that? Share your intrapreneurial mission with your employees, and share it often: personal emails, vLogs and more. Be the inspiration.
2. Hire entrepreneurs as advisors. Entrepreneurs are responsible for most of the mind-blowing innovations on the market today, from Pinterest to Flickr and Dropbox to AppDirect. Instead of hiring that old school VP of product or sales, look into your SMB community to find a bright light that can bring an intrapreneurial shift into your large business.
3. Create your own Startup incubators internally. Business incubators have been around since the 1950s; your business might have even evolved from one. Accelerate the product innovation cycle by instituting your own intrapreneur incubators to foster a culture of creativity that could develop your company‚ next big thing.
4. Know what your employees want to be when they grow up. Mentorship is vital for creating an atmosphere of support and excitement for your employees, but you can‚ institute a real mentor program if your employees are afraid to share their true professional goals ‚ and it‚ vital for the overall health of your company that your leadership team understands and nurtures these goals.
5. Bring in a special brainstorming room‚ designer. You know that feeling when you step out of your florescent-lighted, 40-story office building into a sunny, breezy summer day? That’s what your company‚ intrapreneurs should feel when they‚ brainstorming. Bring in a designer to revamp your office to maximize the creative aesthetic. Or if you have telecommuting teams, choose a best-in-class video collaboration solution, like iMeet, that enables teams to still connect personally in a creativity-inspiring online meeting room.
6. Make employees take lunch and vacation time. Taking a work break is absolutely essential for employees‚ creativity and ultimate happiness in their jobs. Make your employees take 30-60 minutes out of the office for lunch or, at the very least, cyberloafing time in their offices. Even more importantly, encourage every employee to take their vacation time and unplug. Americans only take 57% of their vacation time every yea, and burnout definitely stifles the creative intrapreneurial process.
7. Institute your own 20% rule. While not applicable for everyone in your office, ask your innovators to follow Google‚ example and start working on their own non-directed projects for 20% of their workday. Who knows? You might come up with something as big as the iPhone.
How does your CEO or leadership team encourage creative brainstorming and the intrapreneurial spirit within your company?
Images courtesy of Tom Fishburne and SavvyIntrapreneur.com