ENTREPRENEURS - Intrapreneurship, turning to the employee into an entrepreneur

In the decade of the ‘70, an employee of 3M overcame all the organizational barriers to create the successful Post product. Thus, one became symbol of the intraentrepreneur, employed internal of great initiative that develops new projects and creates enormous value for a company. But, what is exactly intrapreneurship, why he serves and how he can foment itself? By Federico Ast interview of MateriaBiz

Eugenia Bieto, professor of the Department of Policy of Company of ESADE Business School, is one of the great Hispano-American eminences in intrapreneurship.

Indeed, their doctoral thesis deals with on the bonds between the enterprising practices about the Spanish organizations and the results the business.

Of passage by Buenos Aires, Bieto granted to MATERIABIZ some minutes of its agenda to talk on some of the main elements of the intraenterprising phenomenon.

MATERIABIZ: What is intrapreneurship?

Eugenia Bieto: Intrapreneurship, or enterprising leadership, is the set of the conducts of the organizations who are looked like the enterprising behaviors. That is to say, one is to undertake within the company.

In order to grow, a company must let new things: to innovate in products, to attack other segments of market, etc. And does the new thing how arise? How discovered are the opportunities? By all means, the innovation can be born in a laboratory or a center of development.

But normally he is simpler than the new things take place of the same form in which an undertaking or a creative fact is generated. A little plays the chaos, the disorder, the motivation, the impulse and the passion. But all this rarely happens in the laboratories.

Thus, the investigations on intrapreneurship try to reveal to what extent it is important to have enterprising within the companies, what the intraentrepreneurs must do so that their projects take ahead and what they must make the managers so that the employees behave as entrepreneurs.

MATERIABIZ: When arise this did field from study?

Eugenia Bieto: Intrapreneurship was born in years ‘70, in a context where the executives began to worry about the importance of training organizations with enterprising culture.

In this frame, the case of Post had great impact. This successful product was from the initiative and perseverance of an employee who managed to develop it in a great bureaucratic organization and hierarchic as he was, at that time, 3M.

, Academic and thus directive they began to determine the glance to intrapreneurship. But just in the decade of the ‘90, this concept began to study with greater intensity.

MATERIABIZ: maginemos that I was the CEO of a bureaucratic and hierarchic company. How it would have to begin to implement the enterprising leadership in my organization?

Eugenia Bieto: It is normal that these projects generate a fort initial rejection. Foreseeably, the organization will impose a series of difficulties to the executive whom she tries to introduce these concepts. And first that will ask to him they are results.

In order to foment intrapreneurship, the manager is due to believe in serious and beginning creating an enterprising culture in its scope of immediate responsibility. That is to say, a culture where the errors are not punished.

The manager must mount processes search of new ideas in several stages and a system of rewards.

The key, initially, is to find a balance between the order and the chaos in its own work party. The chaos is useful to foment the enterprising spirit. But also it must have limits and processes that diminish the risks.

A good form to begin consists of saying to its nearer collaborators: “these are the channels. And within these channels, they can work of a disorderly way”.

MATERIABIZ: How it would have to be the organizational structure to foment intrapreneurship?

Eugenia Bieto: The structure is a key point because it determines, among others factors critics, the form in which circulates the information in the company.

The creation of cross-sectional processes is a good form to foment the enterprising spirit. This is better than the departmental structures that end up forming knowledge silos.

Also it is important to create multidisciplinary equipment where people of marketing, finances collaborate, operations and other areas.

Another good initiative is to have a small budget for dangerous projects. We think, for example, in a company that assigns a million dollars for R+D.

Of this million, a 10 percent to projects of high risk can be destined. Of course, it is possible that they do not work. But also it can be that it leaves a great product there.

MATERIABIZ: We have already spoken of the culture and the structure. However, which is the ideal profile of the employee intrapreneur? Which are their basic competitions?

Eugenia Bieto: Nowadays, with the models of competitions, these people are simpler to identify and to choose. First of all, she must be somebody ready to jump barriers, a inconformista. The basic quality of intrapreneur is the initiative.

The intraentrepreneur is all the opposed one of the person who is hoping that the head arrives to tell him what must do.

In order to identify these people, it is important to analyze very well his file. In many cases, the best intraentrepreneurs are those than, in his years of university, they took care to organize group celebrations or trips. That is to say, they are people who know how to move and they do not fear to be mistaken.

Although clearly, these people also must find surroundings where the error is not punished.

MATERIABIZ: Which is the optimal scheme of compensations to motivate to intrapreneur?

Eugenia Bieto: First of all, it is necessary to consider that intrapreneur does not move by economic compensations. Generally, he shares this characteristic with the external entrepreneur.

The businessmen who have created empires rarely answer that its main motivation, when beginning with the project, was to make money. Generally, to the entrepreneur the satisfaction moves to see it its project made reality.

Thus, in principle, intrapreneur must be remunerated within the average of the employees (although also some bonuses can be considered). Its main motivation is that the idea is realised and that he is the leader of the project.

The worse thing than can be done to him is that, after it to have let develop the project, it puts another person to him raises that it remains with the merits. That is one of the most effective forms to kill the enterprising germ in any organization.