4 indispensable elements to improve intrapreneurship (I)

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For some weeks I’ve been taking part in a creativity team, people with very different profiles and roles thinking together about how to solve everyday problems that we find in our enterprises. The last day we talked about entrepreneurship and how hard it is to put it into practice when entrepreneurs, in their enterprises, don’t have a safe environment to develop their business ideas and if they don’t have mentors that guide them during the process.

Up to here, it’s clear that undertaking and innovating has turned into obligatory attitudes for all those who wish to get away reinforced from the crisis we are immersed in. But innovation in business models is not only for entrepreneurs.

Undertaking and innovating also takes place inside big enterprises, what’s called intrapreneurship. Inside enterprises it can happen for two reasons, principally: because the enterprise has reached a growth ceiling or because the enterprise wants to diversify generating new business models inside itself or parallel models through spin-offs of the enterprise itself.

Intrapreneurship is the key to business growth in the coming years.

However, and as we debated in the creativity group I’m part of, carrying out entrepreneurship is complicated. You must give entrepreneurs key elements so they can carry out their project. Among the multitude of elements you can contribute within this process, I would like to emphasize the following ones:

1. Business Model Canvas

The Business Model Canvas, by Alexander Osterwalder, as a tool to define the business model of the entrepreneur’s idea/project. This tool helps us to set a structure and an order to our idea of business/project. (read more on business model canvas)

2. Customer development process

The Customer Development as a process of launching a startup. From my point of view it is a mistake to continue working with the traditional enterprises creation model where, after having an idea, the entrepreneur is asked to write an unbearable “Business plan” that, after getting the OK of the one who contributes the money, the entrepreneur executes faithfully. What happens is that, as it is based on just an idea, this plan, in most cases, ends up not attracting clients and the entrepreneur must give up his business idea because he built something nobody is willing to buy and he has used up the investment he was given.

The customer development process, by Steven G. Blank, divides the startup creation in two big stages: the search for a business model and the execution of the business model. During the first stage, the startup validates all the hypothesis of the business model defined in the first place and makes changes when it considers it necessary. After demonstrating it has a replicable, profitable and scalable business model, it goes on to the next stage, the execution of said model, investing in attracting clients in a continuous way and building the company (read more about this).

Continue reading the second part of the post

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