Years ago the headquarters of one of our clients developed an overall corporate strategy. Each division was asked to implement the new strategy in their businesses. Our client managed a large division.
All the other divisions put together strategic planning teams to develop and rank possible ways to implement the strategy in their businesses. Instead our client went to all his locations and gave all the employees a talk about the new corporate strategy. He asked for volunteers who had an idea they wanted to work on that aligned with the strategy. Volunteers were invited to an idea fair – a poster show of their potential innovations and new businesses. 125 intrapreneurs showed up.
At the idea fair we asked the intrapreneurs self-form into teams around specific ideas. Requiring people with ideas to recruit a team screens for both leadership ability and idea quality.
The teams that formed and met minimal criteria were given a seat in the School for Intrapreneurs™, an accelerator in which they developed their ideas through rapid prototypes, customer conversations, specific questions to answer, etc. The school culminated in business plan presentations to a panel of top divisional leaders. Our client's division launched 14 new businesses implementing the corporate strategy before any other division had gotten out of the planning phase.
Implementation is where most corporate strategies fail. In this case, intrapreneuring was used to drive the rapid implementation of a corporate strategy. The brains of the organization are widely distributed, about one per person. It makes sense to use them to find ways to make the strategy work.
Can you think of situations in which intrapreneuring might be used to implement a strategy? Can you think of ways in which this method could be useful or ways in which it would not be appropriate?