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Intrapreneurial Culture and Competitivity Intrapreneurship and Innovation in Organizations Louis Jacques Filion Rogers-J.A. Bombardier Chair of Entrepreneurship HEC Montreal SEBRAE Brasilia September 19, 2008. What is Intrapreneurship.

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Intrapreneurial Culture and Competitivity

Intrapreneurship and Innovation in Organizations

Louis Jacques Filion

Rogers-J.A. Bombardier Chair of Entrepreneurship

HEC Montreal



September 19, 2008

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What is Intrapreneurship

  • Intrapreneurship is entrepreneurship applied within organizations

  • Like entrepreneurship, it involves:

    • - Recognition of opportunities

    • - Project design and implementation

    • - Innovation

    • - Risk management

    • - Added value

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The five “I”s of Intrapreneurship






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Intrapreneurial Process

  • The intrapreneurial process is similar to the entrepreneurial process

  • It is more complex because it is applied in a context where the intrapreneur does not have control over the social system

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Entrepreneurial Process


Opportunity Recognition



Use of ressources

Added Value

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  • Characteristics of intrapreneurs are similar to those of entrepreneurs

  • Involves the development of intrapreneurial, projective and visionary thinking

  • Requires entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial competencies

Intrapreneurship is more easily applied in a context of corporate entrepreneurship

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Intrapreneurial Culture (1)

  • ¤ Valorize innovation: new ways of doing

  • ¤ Employees have a higher level of

    • responsibility

  • ¤ Focus on clients

  • ¤ Importance of learning

  • ¤ Support “doers”

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Intrapreneurial Culture (2)

¤ Tolerance of mistakes in the wake of risk management,

not stupidity

¤ Values the presence of entrepreneurs

¤ Rewards success

¤ Shares the earnings

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Structures that Facilitate Intrapreneurial Expressions

  • Small units: 200 people

  • Organic organizational architectures

  • Lean organizations (few managers)

  • Project management

  • Project design

  • Project implementation

  • Intrapreneurial training

  • Intrapreneurial mentoring

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Intrapreneurship is Action Oriented

  • Difference betweenaction orientation and activism

  • Action orientation means:

    • - Thinking

  • - Preparation

  • - Planning

  • - Implementation

  • - Results

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    Intrapreneurial Thinking and Visionism

    • Mental representation of self and of environment plays a key role

    • Requires a very accurate knowledge of the sector

    • Systemic thinking that relates parts and combines them to form a whole is a must

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    Visionaries and Visioners







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    Visioners and Visionaries




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    Intrapreneurial Practice


    Commandments Rules





    Use of external consultants and specialists

    Mecanism to support intrapreneurial initiatives

    E.g.: 3 M

    Evaluation criteria for intrapreneurial suggestions

    Sharing of the results

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    The Intrapreneur’s 10 Commandments (1)

    1) It is easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission

    2) Do any job needed to make the project work, regardless of your job description

    3) Come to work each day willing to be fired

    4) Recruit a strong team

    5) Ask for advice before asking for resources

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    The Intrapreneur’s 10 Commandments (2)

    6) Spread credit wide and celebrate victories

    7) When you bend the rules always keep the best interests of the company and customers in mind

    8) Recognize and honor your sponsors

    9) Underpromise and overdeliver

    10) Be true to your goals but realistic about ways of achieving them

    Gifford Pinchot

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    Management of Intrapreneurial Projects

    Vision design

    Project design

    Business Plans

    Gathering of information

    Market surveys

    Sector analysis

    Understanding consumers’ needs and trends

    Feasibility studies

    Market testing

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    Fight the Corporate Immune System (1)

    • Identify elements of resistance to change

    • Identify prohibited subjects of communications

    • Identify subjects that are regarded as negative

    • Identify subjects that contribute strong biases to the way the organization and the market are seen

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    Fight the Corporate Immune System (2)

    • Identify subjects that do not allow people to act

    • Identify subjects that prevent people from taking action

    • Identify viewpoints that will lead people to oppose changes

    Be subtle and find ways to

    counteract all these elements

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    Counteract Morphine Effects

    • Things and people that are in your environment but that you do not see

    • Attitude that prevents learning from environmental changes

    • Indifference to changes

    • “Sleeping mind” attitude where people act as if they were asleep

    • Insensitivity to what is happening

    Wake things up and get things


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    Characteristics of Intrapreneurs

    • The same as those of entrepreneurs, plus a few more

    Some characteristics of entrepreneurs





    Sensitive to environment changes

    Tolerance to risk

    Sector Knowledge

    Action oriented

    Some characteristics of intrapreneurs

    Conservative risk takers

    Extensive relations network inside and outside the firm

    Knowledge of the limits of what is acceptable

    Push things as far as they will go

    Users of resources

    Focus on results

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    Intrapreneurs/EntrepreneursDreamers who do

    ☻ When I was a teenager, I came early to work to be able to type dreams I wanted to achieve. For example, “I will make one million ships, one million Brazilian planes”. I was determined to carry the Brazilian flag all over the world. I loved to dream.

    Emerson de Almeida

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    IntrapreneursCreative doers

    ☻You can recognize intrapreneurs. They are passionate about new ideas and eager to keep learning. Contrary to managers, they get bored doing repetitious tasks.

    Serban Teodoresco

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    Intrapreneurs/EntrepreneursPrecision Workers

    ☻ My father is my friend. We planted hundred of trees together. For each tree, you need a hole of 60X40 centimeters. He works with precision. If you need 60 centimeters, it is not 59 or 61, it is 60.

    Emerson de Almeida

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    Intrapreneurial Competencies

    Technical Competencies

    Knowledge of sector

    Knowledge of products

    Knowledge of markets

    Understanding of users needs

    Conceptual Competencies

    Systems thinking

    Analytical capabilities

    Entrepreneurial thinking

    Projective thinking

    Visionary thinking

    Project design

    Managerial Competencies

    Risk management



    Networking abilities


    Task orientation

    People orientation

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    Intrapreneurship and Mentoring

    • Mentoring program, often using dual mentoring: internal and external mentors

    • Training

    • Use of outside consultants

    • Mentoring activities to be completed by coaching activities

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    Intrapreneurial Advisory Board

    • Advisory board includes members from inside and from outside (entrepreneurs)

    • Appointment of one person to be responsible for entrepreneurial activities (often part time) (+ budget)

    • Small advisory boards will eventually be structured around each project

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    From Intrapreneurship to Extrapreneurship

    • Intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship are forms of leadership

    • Intrapreneurs learn what is to be learnt to start a business

    • In fact, many intrapreneurs become business unit managers within existing corporations

    • Intrapreneurs will become top managers, entrepreneurs or will move on to other intrapreneurial challenges

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    From Intrapreneurship to Spin-offs

    • The current trend towards subcontracting is leading organizations to develop spin-off programs

    • Intrapreneurs can become extrapreneurs

    • Extrapreneurs are more likely to succeed

    • Mentors and coaches can remain the same

    • Advisory boards can sometimes remain the same

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    Intrapreneuring as a Strategic Option

    • Corporations are opting for intrepreneuring to sustain growth instead of achieving it through external acquisitions

    • Intrapreneuring can be done at all levels of organizations

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    Conclusion (1)

    • Organizations need intrapreneurs as much as societies need entrepreneurs

    • Intrapreneurial systems can be developed in the same way entrepreneurial systems

    • Intrapreneurship leads to sector leadership

    • Intrapreneurship remains one of the best remedies to fight the morphine effects

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    Conclusion (2)

    • To be successful, intrapreneurial activities have to be managed very rigourously

    • There are levels in intrapreneurial expression and we have reached a point where every manager needs to be able to express some level of intrapreneuriability

    • Most managers and strategists can benefit from intrapreneurial training

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    Conclusion (3)

    • Organizations need to engage in corporate entrepreneurship practice to benefit from the intrapreneurial potential of their employees

    • Corporate entrepreneurship facilitates intrapreneurial expression and generates an entrepreneurial culture

    Intrapreneurship is a win-win process

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    Intrapreneurial Culture and Competitivity

    Muito obrigado

    Many thanks

    Merci beaucoup