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Digital intrapreneurship: prospects and challenges
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Learning outcomes

Objectives and goalsClick to read  

At the end of this module you will be able to:

• Learn about digital intrapreneurship and how it works
• How to promote intrapreneurship in your company
• How to be a successful intrapreneur

Introduction. What is digital intrapreneurship?

Digital transformationClick to read  

Digital transformation can be seen as a new approach to doing business. Besides implementing new technologies, this type of transformation also requires a change in corporate culture.

This type of process brings with it innovation, which itself leads to more innovation. Transformation and innovation are the keywords in today's market.

To live up to these changes, companies must develop a culture that stimulates employee proactivity and supports intrapreneurship.

Definition of intrapreneurshipClick to read  

The term intrapreneurship refers to that set of skills and competencies (which are a feature of entrepreneurship) that are harnessed to discover and exploit new business opportunities with profitable potential and to create innovation within an existing company.

While the entrepreneur is the one who creates innovation by starting a new business, the intrapreneur acts within the company in which he or she works and does not personally take financial risks.

Therefore, intrapreneurship is a way of thinking and working that blends personal initiative and employment in a virtuous way.

The intrapreneurClick to read  

An intrapreneur is a person within a company who takes direct responsibility for translating a business idea into a marketable product.

There is no particular prototype that describes the entrepreneurial mindset. It is a combination of different elements (attitudes and skills) that well represent the multidisciplinary nature of the intrapreneur.

  •     Creativity and curiosity
  •     Proactivity
  •     Observation skills
  •     Uncertainty toleranc
  •     Propensity to risk

 

  • Experimentation
  • Acceptance of failure
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Resilience

 

Intrapreneurship modelsClick to read  

In Grow from within, Robert C. Wolcott and Michael J. Lippitz (2007) proposed 4 reference models of corporate entrepreneurship (intrapreneurship) organized along two dimensions:

How to support digital Intrapreneurship

How to find IntrapreneursClick to read  

The first step is to find intrapreneurs within the company to support them and give them the space they need to grow, develop their potential and bring innovation to the company.

 

To identify them, you can first look for employees with traits such as:

  • Commitment to the job and company
  • Adaptability
  • Internal motivation (not driven by profit)
  • Confidence
  • Proactivity
Intrapreneurial cultureClick to read  

 

 

1) Identify the intrapreneurs in the company
2) Establish meritocracy
3) Empower the employees (with decision making and independence)
4) Increase the level of risk-taking
5) Be transparent and allow individuals to access to information
6) Give time and space (to think out of the box and come up with ideas and solutions)
7) Teach employees to be solutionists
8) Recognize intrapreneurial successes and reward intrapreneurs
9) Promote collaboration and healthy competition
10) Provide resources

 

 

Practical activitiesClick to read  

- Communicate the company's challenges to employees and invite them to actively find solutions

- Reward both innovators and their managers

- Provide a training course on the intrapreneurial system that will empower intrapreneurs and teach managers how to support them

- Organise exhibitions of your employees' ideas in order to inspire the others and facilitate the creation of an intrapreneurial team

- Set workshops on idea development, teamwork and intrapreneurial mindset and skills
- Create dedicated funds to finance projects initiated by your employees

 

- Reward those who take responsibility for their mistakes, adapt and find a solution

- Enhance even small ideas (starting with small budgets) and invite your employees to do the same

- Involve employees by constantly communicating your hopes for the company

 

SponsorsClick to read  

Managers behave differently when facing potentially intrapreneurial employees: they can block their way or support them. Managers who guide and support their employees in the creation and realisation of an idea are called sponsors. Sponsors are at least as important as the type of corporate culture to promote digital intrapreneurship in your company.

From a practical point of view, sponsors help their employees both by guiding them during the realisation of the idea and by advocating, praising and actively seeking resources for their intrapreneurs to access.

To promote sponsorship, the company can organise training courses for managers on how to be effective sponsors and explicitly give them the authorization to act as mentors.

Recommendations and tips for intrapreneurs. Do's and Don'ts

General tipsClick to read  

Study your company
Study its strengths and weaknesses, the challenges it faces and its corporate values. This information can inspire and guide you in the implementation of projects in a coherent manner.
Become an expert
Be an expert of your company's products and services, of how it works and its dynamics.
Be a leader
Share your knowledge and skills for the good of the company and be an active problem-solver.
Do's and Don'tsClick to read  

DO... DON'T...
üAlign yourself with company objectives
üSeek for advice
üPrepare good presentations of your ideas
üObserve actively
üMake decisions
üFocus on problem-solving
üChallenge the rules

X   Be afraid to fail

X   Expect to have all the answers

X   Get comfortable

X   Be afraid to take risks

X   Be impatient

X   Play safe

X   Belittle your work, ideas and achievements

 

Summing up

Summing upClick to read  

Well done! Now you know more about:

  • Intrapreneurship and digital transformation
  • How to promote an intrapreneurial culture and sponsorship
  • The characteristics of an intrapreneur and how to be a successful one


Keywords

Digital intrapreneurship, intrapreneurs, intrapreneurial culture

Objectives/goals:

At the end of this module you will be able to:

•    Learn about digital intrapreneurship and how it works

•    How to promote intrapreneurship in your company

•    How to be a successful intrapreneur

 


Description:

Digital transformation can be seen as a new approach to do business. Besides the implementation of new technologies, this type of transformation also requires a change in corporate culture. To live up to these changes, companies need to develop a culture that stimulates employee proactivity and supports intrapreneurship.
The term intrapreneurship refers to that set of skills and competences (which are a feature of entrepreneurship) that are harnessed to discover and exploit new business opportunities with profitable potential and to create innovation within an existing company. An intrapreneur is a person within a company who takes direct responsibility for translating a business idea into a marketable product. 
 

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