Common Barriers Faced by Tech Intrapreneurs
A tech intrapreneur’s biggest obstacle isn’t a lack of digital knowledge. Rather, it is often a company that blocks the intrapreneur spirit of its digitally competent employees. Companies that don’t foster intrapreneurship risk losing out on a big opportunity to innovate.
If the firm wants to encourage and nurture tech intrapreneur, it must make the right decisions at every turn. To start with, it must create a safe environment where people can try out ideas without fear of repercussions. It must also train its managers to be good sponsors of innovation. They must know how to identify the difference between genuine intrapreneurs and those that venture capitalists call “promoters”. Promoters talk a lot, but do not have the grit, persistence, courage or intrinsic motivation to push through the barriers, setbacks and changes that will inevitably arise when attempting to implement a new idea.
Next, it must ensure that it has a process that enables intrapreneurs to succeed by providing clear pathways to commercialisation. Formal processes like Stage-Gate are supposed to do this, but they fail because they tend to delay and halt innovations through excessive focus on secondary information. This can be overcome by creating a system where supervisors support the intrapreneurs, allowing them to bypass gate review and get to work on their project.
What Are Some Common Barriers Faced by Tech Intrapreneurs?
Finally, it must recognise and reward those managers who have the most positive impact on intrapreneurs. These altruistic managers are willing to invest their political capital in intrapreneurs, even though this is not part of their day job. They are also willing to spend time mentoring them. In the end, these are the true intrapreneurs’ sponsors.
The best way to identify and promote these individuals is to involve them in the development of an internal innovation process. This can be done by giving them the freedom to work on a project that is not related to their day-to-day tasks, such as optimising scheduling for a trucking company or improving the image interpretation of health care images. Indra, one of the world’s leading technology and consulting firms, is doing just this.
Its intrapreneurial program consists of six weeks of online training, with teams receiving weekly lectures and assignments. If their project is successful, they receive funding and intensive method coaching. If their project fails, it is still a valuable learning experience because the teams have a clear idea of what did not work. If they wish, the team can then apply their learning to a different problem and come up with another solution.
This is what makes the program unique among corporate learning initiatives. In fact, the value of this program is so great that it has been given a name: Indra’s Pathway to Intrapreneurship. This is the most ambitious intrapreneurship platform ever to be run by a large global organisation. It is an open innovation platform that aims to connect 52,000 employees across the globe, regardless of their position or function. They are all encouraged to solve the seven major business challenges identified by the Indra innovation team.