Intrapreneurship as a Means to Innovation
Last week I looked at the topic of encouraging innovation, with a focus from a leadership position. The truth is that each of us within a corporate team can bring about innovative change, and this is the notion behind intrapreneurship. Braden Kelley, in his recent article “Innovation: A Team Sport,” highlighted a problem that exists that isn’t often talked about – the fact that team members are often looked at as interchangeable. The truth is, everyone is different in their skills, capabilities and desires. And it is these differences that typically make teams stronger. Just look at The Avengers!
Your teammates on your school projects or in your day jobs are just as different from you as Thor is from The Hulk. Take one away and the team is not as strong. But the spreadsheets where headcount decisions are made do not show that. In fact, you can plop a new human in Excel’s C28 for half the cost if you go 1/4 of the way around the world to hire them. Never mind that the communication costs will be twice as much. You see, humans are not commodities like gold and money. They are valuable stocks with different capabilities and potentials. As a teammate or manager, you must leverage these different capabilities to move ahead.
That, my friends, is the beauty of intrapreneurship. An entrepreneur gambles his life savings on an idea attached to a hope or a dream. The intrapreneur rides on that wave with the resources at his/her disposal and tries to take them all to new heights. No one is asking you to invent the next light bulb. But given the resources you have, what novel approach to combining them will create something new and valuable?