Five Steps for Supporting your Digital Intrapreneurs

Digital transformations are important in today’s world. Even if you are an “old-school” manufacturer- you make stuff- you still have to find customers.  It could be there are ways to increase the digital aspects of your products.  Regardless, this will require change, and the best way to approach it is to unleash your intrapreneurs.  Here are five steps for supporting your digital intrapreneurs.

Step 1- Find a customer

Companies are spending millions on digital transformations.  They believe if they install the latest software, they’ll have a digital company.  It doesn’t work that way.  The latest software might make you more efficient, but it won’t allow you to develop new products.  Your internal entrepreneurs- intrapreneurs need to be in charge of that.

One of their first tasks should be to understand what the customer wants and needs.  Do your customers want product extensions or increased digitalization of your current products?  You digital intrapreneurs should find out from some of your best customers who are also different from each other.  This way you hear from customers with different needs and use cases.

Step 2 – Find company sponsors

If you don’t have an intrapreneurial culture today, leadership representatives will have to remove roadblocks so the digital intrapreneurs have a chance at seeing their offerings all the way through.  Choose managers who will go out of their way to ensure the intrapreneurs get the support they require.

Step 3 – Knowledge of company digital technologies

Many employees today are digital natives.  They have grown up with technology and use it daily- sometimes minute by minute.  It’s not an issue of understanding how to use technology- it’s about learning and understanding what to do about digital opportunities.

The opposite is also true.  It’s important the intrapreneurs you select understand how to identify digital threats.  Make sure your digital intrapreneurs can work with the sponsors to develop entirely new digital use cases if required.

Step 4 – Let them follow-through

Motivating intrapreneurs isn’t hard.  They have an entrepreneurial attitude.  The worst thing you can do as an organization is to de-motivate your intrapreneurs by bringing in “professionals” at the end of a project to implement the digital solution.

Allowing them the chance to implement the digital transformation required to transform your products and services or they will bolt your organization.  There is no shortage of companies willing to hire them.

Step 5–Develop an intrapreneurial culture

It will take time, which you may not have.  Work with business leaders to develop an open and creative culture so you can attract and maintain intrapreneurs.  Have your middle managers keep an eye out for talent that asks a lot of “why” questions.

Like, why do we do it this way?  Have you thought about this?  Customer X is doing… These are potential intrapreneurs.  Put these five steps for supporting your digital intrapreneurs in place so they become engaged and have a place where they can feel safe and be successful!

As always, it is an honor to serve you, and I hope that you and your company are getting better every day!

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