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Innovation Leadership & Intrapreneurship

Overcoming innovation barriers requires bold moves

This is the first in a series of posts I will drop that relate innovation leadership to intrapreneurship.

First, let us address what an intrapreneur is? An intrapreneur is an employee of a company who uses their entrepreneurial skills within the business to innovate in company processes, services, and products. Read more here. Simply put, intrapreneurs are disrupters that see new opportunities and uses company resources to actualize the opportunity into a product, service or even process improvement. Sounds right, doesn’t it? But what about this one? Intrapreneurs transform organizations and usually identify the shortest path of least resistance to success. Perhaps, however it’s not always plain sailing.

Intrapreneurs are often side swiped by those threatened by success or worst case may be made redundant. To thrive under these conditions, intrapreneurs must build a redundancy avoidance package.

What follows is a potential approach to avoid a dead end to your career:

  • First make yourself indispensable to a leader(s) who has power and build trust.

  • Second, define a strategy to make space in the system to seed the concept, without threatening to disrupt the current structure.

  • Third, test the concept with new customers out of range of the current operational support system with willing collaborators. In this way, your new concept will stand a higher chance of success as you find new markets to fund additional growth.

  • Lastly at the right time, be willing to stand-up and address the elephant in the room to inspire change. You will need proven stats and a track record to back-up your argument.

Innovation leadership implication: Innovation success requires a street-smart intrapreneur to disrupt old models.


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