Thinking both inside and out of the box: developing entrepreneurs inside your business

We’ve all heard that today’s business landscape is ever complex and changing rapidly. Products, services and business models are being challenged from a never ending list of known and unknown competitors. Increasingly businesses are looking to startups as both an opportunity and threat – paying notice to their creativity, passion and determination to disrupt.

Whilst businesses need to look outside their four walls for sources of innovation and we are hailing the rise of the entrepreneur, it is still important to balance that by tapping into the capabilities and passion within your organisation. In fact, entrepreneurs in the startup community are inspiring a new wave of intrapreneurs; someone within a company who takes risks, is passionate about solving a problem and acts as a driver of innovation. They are motivated by their personal passion for making a positive change for their organisation, customers, employees or community. They also have a vision and the drive to see their idea come to life. Combine this with increasing desires for flexibility in the workplace and declining durations of careers, to retain these employees organisations need to offer more opportunities than what’s on the position description. Allowing employees to unleash their inner intrapreneur is a benefit for employers and employees alike.

From our experience, companies can tap into this rich source of innovation by:

  1. Identifying the bright spots within your business
  2. Understanding that their passion comes from being given an outlet to make a change
  3. Providing a channel to capture their ideas and then support for them to explore, test and implement their ideas
  4. Celebrating their success (and failure) to inspire further experimentation and controlled risk taking

A safe process to explore

The path from that light bulb moment to successful implementation within a large corporate requires persistence and an ability to find comfort in the uncomfortable.

To help our intrapreneurs develop their idea we created a toolkit called ‘Gold Box’.

Inspired by Adobe’s Kickbox, it features all things that an intrapreneur needs:

  • an innovation framework and proven start up tools such as the freely available Business Model Canvas
  •  guidance about how to pitch their idea through a 90 second pitch video
  • a small amount of cash for use on anything to support idea development
  • a letter of encouragement and support for the CEO
  • a list of mentors passionate about helping other create change and think ‘outside the box’

Ideas in their infancy tend to lack clarity and validation from potential stakeholders and that’s where the Gold Box comes in. It helps add structure to the idea and gives our people license to experiment with the support to get the job done.

Conquering the contents of the Gold Box is deliberately challenging and uncomfortable. It also provides a more rigorous structure to help our leaders and investors to more easily identify where to allocate the Innovation ‘seed’ capital to explore the concepts further.

We recently delivered a ‘Gold Box’ to 50 of our most promising intrapreneurs, in nine locations across the nation as part of ‘Innovation Tiger’, a firm wide competition that aims to harness innovative thinking and discover our people’s best ideas on growing KPMG. A big prize is up for grabs with the winner getting support and investment to develop their idea aided by an amazing and unique entrepreneurial experience in the USA.

However, the focus isn’t just on the winning idea. Top participants will all attend a 3 day intrapreneurship bootcamp where they are given a crash course in rapid idea development, validation and pitching. Our last Innovation Tiger competition saw the birth of brilliant ideas such a KPMG Marketplace so we’re looking forward to seeing what will eventuate.

Its early days but we’ve had positive feedback and some great early learnings. We’ll definitely keep it going after the competition.

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4 thoughts on “Thinking both inside and out of the box: developing entrepreneurs inside your business

  1. Very creative concept ” Goldbox” / ” Kickbox”
    This is definitely going to help organizations to foster innovation & leverage upon.

  2. Pingback: Why Enterprise Skills = Career Success

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