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Intrapreneurship for corporate innovators

Mexico City, March 25, 2019 
PhD. Cris Bravo Monge

The environment of our organizations is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. The answer to surviving in this changing context lies in the proactivity of our organization and our collaborators, in a word: intrapreneurship.

Intrapreneurship is defined as an entrepreneurial behavior within an organization. It is the creation of value and market solutions start-up style but within your organization.

Intrapreneurs are those who have a creative and innovative potential, and are willing to take risks to develop innovative projects within the organization. Intrapreneurship can be developed in small businesses, medium businesses, corporations, non-governmental organizations, and in the public sector.

Although, the evidence indicates that intrapreneurial organizations obtain better financial results in the long term; The truth is that most organizations are trained to prevent intrapreneurship.

The organizational structure, processes and organizational culture are aimed at promoting efficiency and the status quo, preventing the development of innovative projects by our collaborators with an entrepreneurial spirit. That is why the intention of an organization to innovate within, requires more than a corporate memorandum.

Intrapreneurship can be learned, just like entrepreneurship, but it requires that management really believes in the need to develop entrepreneurs within the organization. It requires that we achieve a space in the organizational culture that truly allows us to develop innovations, resilience and tolerance to failure. This is a change management process that will require time and effort on the part of the organization.

Without this being the only path to intrapreneurship, one suggestion is to work with the lean startup methodology. It requires that all people in the organization know and experience it. The support of management is crucial; but, in addition to that, we need to have a project leader -also senior management- and an external advisor to guide the organization in the lean startup process.

Intrapreneurship requires 3 fundamental axes: innovation strategy, innovation management, and innovation praxis.

  • Innovation Strategy: Our organization must have the ability to meet the needs of our current customers, and create new markets for new customers. Innovation must be included in the strategy.
  • Innovation management: Focuses on finding entrepreneurs within our organization, and giving them the tools and spaces for the development of new products and services. Equally important, the organization must find a way to measure that performance within the organization.
  • Praxis of innovation: Launch, evaluate, adjust, and try again.

We do not know for sure how many entrepreneurs there are in your organization, but there are some. Approximately 5% to 8% of your employees are intrapreneurial. The recommendation will be to find them and give them the opportunity – and the tools – so that the benefits of innovation will be borne by your organization, not your competition.


Cris Bravo Monge

Cris Bravo Monge at Expertise en Emprendimiento Social
Doctorado en Estudios de Liderazgo de la Universidad de San Diego, profesor de la Escuela de Negocios de Tec de Monterrey. Mentor en Global Social Benefit Institute en la Universidad de Santa Clara. 20 años de experiencia en negocios, reconocidos entre los 40 menores de 40 hombres de negocios más influyentes en Costa Rica.
Cris Bravo Monge

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