Why do most intrapreneurship programs fail?

Ana Vilar García

Intrapreneurship is in fashion. Companies that have their own internal entrepreneurship programs are countless, but the reality is that most of these intrapreneurship programs fail. Why? What can a large corporation do to fix this?

What is intrapreneurship?

Intrapreneurship is a type of closed innovation that occurs within a company. This type of program consists of generating new ideas, so that new products, services or businesses can be created for the company. As its name suggests, it is a kind of entrepreneurship that takes place within the walls of a company.

What is the purpose of entrepreneurship within a company?

Corporate innovation has been a capital issue for any company for years. For this reason, intrapreneurship is a good solution for companies that want to innovate.

Incremental innovation

An intrapreneurship program can provide a solution to small issues that exist in the company, although they may seem insignificant. Not all of the programs or all of their editions will bring up 1,000-million-dollar ideas, but it is likely that day-to-day obstacles can be tackled.

Using this innovation space for process or workspace optimization can generate incremental improvement for the company and a great sense of satisfaction in the team.

Innovation culture

The first goal of an innovation department is to raise awareness of the need for innovation. What is it? How is it useful for the company? How is it useful for an employee?

Having a space to develop such an innovation is key to transmitting the idea and putting it into practice. Valuing the ideas of employees beyond their daily tasks is key to generating a good culture in the company and promoting team spirit.

Disruptive innovation

Another goal of an innovation program is to generate new products, services or business models that complement the current model of the company. In a changing environment and a competitive market, it is important to have corporate innovation tools that allow the company to stay up to date with the market and continue to lead its sector in the medium and long term.

An intrapreneurship program can be the context for new ideas to emerge and be executed. This execution phase is usually the first barrier, for this is the most complex type of innovation there is.

Why don't intrapreneurship programs work?

It seems all advantages, but then why don't intrapreneurship programs work?

Is it possible that the results of intrapreneurship programs are not as expected? This is rarely the reason why innovation programs fail in a large company. The issue is rather simple: good and feasible business ideas emerge, but they are never executed.

In reality, the problem lies in the fact that efforts are devoted to organizing and executing entrepreneurship programs, but not to giving them continuity. When we talk about disruptive innovation ideas, if you want to go ahead with the ideas it is necessary to dedicate capital (budget and investment), human resources and the involvement of company managers. Aligning these three parts is not always easy.

Having an internal unit dedicated to developing these ideas may not be an option, since employees sporadically participate in intrapreneurship programs, but in their day-to-day activities they are dedicated to other tasks or may not have entrepreneurial interest beyond idea generation.

On the other hand, creating an internal department that is in charge of continuing these ideas is not the most profitable. It is likely that there is not always a continuous workload for this department, that there is not always a match between its specialty and the type of product that has to be developed, or that there is no desire to allocate such a large amount of resources to developing ideas.

Intrapreneurship and venture studio: It's a match

Given the real obstacles of intrapreneurship programs, outsourcing the continuity of these projects is the solution. Hiring the services of a venture studio ensures that you have a unit of entrepreneurs who are dedicated to designing, testing and executing the ideas that arise in the company without interfering with your usual roadmap.

The only question that remains to be resolved is whether it is worth it. If your intrapreneurship program is simply designed to create a good company culture, it may not. But if what you want to achieve is to really disrupt the business, take advantage of good investment opportunities or generate new income from new channels, the solution is clear. This way, it is possible to combine all the benefits of an intrapreneurship program, but with the feeling of completing the task from start to finish.

If this is also your case and you want to get help from a venture studio, contact our team.

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