Okay, so you know that intrapreneurship is going to be a key component of your career growth strategy.
So now you're left with the question: What should you do?
In this post I'm going to give you a bunch of examples that's hopefully going to inspire your idea for an entrepreneurial initiative.
You already know why intrapreneurship can be a key career growth strategy, and this brings us to the intrapreneur's dilemma. Because either you have a million ideas, and you are having a hard time picking just one or you have...
And that's exactly why you're here, because I'm going to share with you a bunch of examples of intrapreneurship in real life, from my experience, and from my clients, to hopefully help you get some ideas of how you can get started.
Revenue Generating Intrapreneurship
Let's start with profit driven intrapreneurship. And what I mean by that is the intrapreneurial initiatives that are designed to drive new profit, new revenue into the business. So that is things like new products, new services, new P&Ls.
There's even some people that their job title is intrapreneur and their sole job is to actually create new business units, and sometimes even split your off into new companies.
One of the largest and most notorious entrepreneurial companies is our first example. And that is Google.
Many legends have been told about Google's 20% time, which essentially is that employees are invited to spend 20% of their time on projects of their choosing. This should be something that is going to create a healthier, more profitable company, but it allows them to pick what they actually want to work on for at least a percentage of their time.
From an employee perspective, this is really cool because you get to work on the specific things that you actually want to work on.
From a company perspective is driving innovation and internal entrepreneurship.
I'm sure that there's probably been over the years, thousands of great things that have come out of Google's 20% time. But today, I want to share with you a few of the biggest and most notorious results of 20% time...
Google Maps, Google News, and Gmail, these are all things that we're actually created in 20% time (or at least according to the internet they were).
I think this is really cool, because when I think of intrapreneurship, I'm usually thinking at the level where I was generally operating especially early in my career, and the level that a lot of my clients are working with, which is smaller scale, though still really big impact. But as you can see, there are ways to have massive scope and scale in terms of intrapreneurship.
Imagine: your idea is really one that revolutionizes the world.
Innovation through Hackathons
Another company known for intrapreneurship is Facebook. They're known for having hackathons. This has always been a part of their culture, and it was actually one of these hackathons that one of these facebook's most popular features was actually created.
Can you guess what it was?
The Facebook Like button that was created and hackathon.
That was an idea that someone had they brought to life. And imagine where the world would be without a Facebook Like button. Let's just face it, I am such a fan of the Facebook Like button that I basically want to have a real life so I can walk around tapping it so everyone knows what I like, or don't like.
My Intrapreneurial Story
The last examples of revenue generating intrapreneurship I wanted to share is actually my own story. Literally, from the first day of my career, I always counted myself as an entrepreneur at the company it was working in. Now maybe I can credit this to my natural born entrepreneurship, or maybe I can credit to the fact that most of the companies that I was working with really fostered the entrepreneurial spirit. But in any event, I really saw myself as a startup within a startup - even before I had ever heard of intrapreneurship
One of the most impactful things that I did was create a multimillion dollar P&L for a company I was working for. It was a new services they had tried to launch without success in the past, and I just knew how to actually come in there and make it work. It was riding that wave and scaling up that business that my career really took off and I experienced this enormous trajectory. And that's just one of the examples of how entrepreneurship can skyrocket your career and bring you into the stratosphere.
Now, not everything that I did in my career was so big and so impactful. I also did smaller things like setting up collections practices, which actually helped save company dollars from being lost due to non-payment. Not everything has to be a new service, sometimes it's just a new function, which is still bringing money in the door that the company would not have had otherwise.
Cost Saving Intrapreneurship
And from that point, I really want to put a spotlight on the intrapreneurial activities that are actually cost saving. Not everything has to drive new revenue. I know it's like really sexy to think about all this new revenue just going to be raining down, but it's not always like that.
Sometimes the things that you have access to and the lowest hanging fruit are actually things that are just going to help operations run smoother, maybe reduce the number of people needed to complete a task, or even automate work.
Maybe it's even saving your customers frustration.
One classic example is actually implementing new software solutions that either improve your internal operations or customer experience, or a mixture of both. One of the things that I've worked on several times is actually implementing software to better support customer support queries. Introducing customer support software that is going to systematized and even automate a lot of the customer support tasks and activities that your service or CX team is faced with on a day to day basis can have a huge impact.
I could probably sit down and think about it and name a few dozen things that I actually did over the course of my career - I mentioned, I always counted myself as an entrepreneur, I always thought that I was the startup within another company.
If this is something that really resonates with you, then I knew that you're going to love intrapreneurship just as much as I did!