Encouraging good ideas means taking some risks - intrapreneurship survey
Companies need to create an environment that encourages greater risk taking and does not stigmatise failure, if they want to encourage their staff to have innovative ideas. These are some of the preliminary findings emerging from a survey of technology managers.
The survey was undertaken recently as part of an investigation into radical innovation and 'intrapreneurship', by researchers at the IfM's Centre for Technology Management. Intrapreneurship is the range of entrepreneurial activities that are ongoing within an established organisation.
A firm's organisational culture has been found to inhibit intrapreneurs and their attempts at innovation. The survey identified areas where firms could make changes in order to support intrapreneurship. These include creating an environment in which:
- greater risk-taking is encouraged
- failure of radical innovation projects is accepted as a natural part of the learning process
- it is easy to achieve organizational buy-in
- firms have innovation incentive programs that provide employees with ownership in radical projects
Other ideas to encourage innovation included a centralised idea management system, a dedicated unit for providing support to radical innovation projects company-wide, and the coaching of radical innovation teams by senior managers.
Provisional findings from the survey were presented at a recent workshop at the Institute for Manufacturing, attended by representatives from a number of major companies. A written report will be published in due course.
Further workshops are planned for the spring and anyone interested in attending these should contact Simon Ford: firstname.lastname@example.org.
20 February 2009