Organizations are facing new realities in the post-pandemic world, where transformation and continuous innovation are becoming burning platforms for survival. Moreover, the new-age players have a start-up culture that embraces the entrepreneurial mindset more inherently. Therefore, organizations need to self-evaluate, especially in maintaining and protecting their human capital, as the great resignation threatens to impact the core of their competitive advantages.
To select an industry as an example, we have observed transformation happening in Telcos around the world. There is emerging fierce competition from unconventional players like hyperscalers and utility providers, entering markets where there is already significant competition. In Australia, we have seen this occur with the public network infrastructure of the NBN, which has re-energized mid to lower market players to challenge the market share of the leading incumbents. This tight race forces market leaders worldwide to step away from the conservative approaches and adopt a nimbler mindset to innovate and evolve, emphasized by their corporate strategies. Telcos can disrupt themselves culturally and address internal frictions by creating an ‘intrapreneurial’ perspective. An intrapreneur is, by definition, the “act of behaving like an entrepreneur while working in a large organization”.
An organization’s culture really defines its people’s attitude, mindset, and ability to foster business performance and market leadership. One of the most common and often observed organizational cultures that create friction is the lack of support to embrace uncertainty. Major steps in establishing an intrapreneurial culture are allowing greater guidance for decentralizing and building independence in decision-making, considering mistakes as learning opportunities, and minimizing procedural documentation and processes. However, as each organization is unique, it is essential to gather observed frictions from a diverse cross-section to build this intelligence.
To test how an organization could drive organizational outcomes, considering a unique venture driven by leading talent can spur these intrapreneurial practices. Incubating these to formulate a broader perspective can also influence organizational agility at scale. The organization’s people, processes, and traditional technology need to support the opportunity in an accelerated fashion and for the intrapreneurs to consider the path of least resistance. This may not operate within the confines of existing architectures and challenge traditional approaches but generates new thinking and potential alternatives to create or unlock business value.
Organizations need to be equipped with tools, techniques, and frameworks to create and develop an intrapreneurial culture at scale. As mentioned earlier, firstly, it is essential to listen to needs and pain points. Using these, innovate ideas based on value, risk appetites, and market opportunity. After these ideas have been proven desirable, feasible, and viable, pitch them to supporting sponsors. Finally, incubate and launch the solution. This kind of structured format would help channel what has been successful or discard approaches that have proven ineffective for the organization.
Checklist for the Intrapreneurial culture:
- Like-minded people to collaborate and focus on a common goal
Identify talented, proactive, and action-oriented people willing to take ownership and think outside the box. These can be found within an organization by tapping looking within via questionnaires, interviews, or through more competitive entrepreneurial-based hackathons.
- Identify ideas, shortlist, and assess
Ideas could be incremental improvements or radical concepts. Both need to be equally welcomed and churned through a rigorous testing cycle to determine the value proposition. Desirability, feasibility, and viability assessments help prioritize and rank these. Stronger ideas consider hypothesis-driven testing to generate greater intelligence and fidelity.
- Dedicated funding model
Funding for an intrapreneurial function needs to be flexible and consider risk in lieu of guaranteed short-term traditional benefits. It needs to be considered as an investment in the future guarded by checkpoints and aligned to frameworks suited to the organization.
- Value Chain Ecosystems
An intrapreneurial ecosystem with considerations for broader value chain participants can also generate cross-entity benefits. Those representing their organizations should have a deep understanding of problems and the elements within their control. Comprising a supporting panel as mentors can provide encouragement and constructive feedback for intrapreneurial projects to generate greater advocacy.
We have observed these dedicated functions within an organization aimed to foster intrapreneurship as directly being attributed to new innovations, digital disruption, and mobilizing broader transformation. Leveraging this and many other leading practices, Infosys Consulting has helped clients bring new services and products to market whilst managing risk and ambiguity with market leaders worldwide.
Thiag leads digital transformation for various telecom companies across the Asia Pacific and Oceania markets at Infosys Consulting. He helps Telecom Service providers realize their digital strategy to deliver true value with respect to financials, customer experience, and the overall enterprise digital goals. He strongly believes that people adapting to change is a prerequisite to making any digital transformation successful.
Principal, Infosys Consulting
Michael joined Infosys Consulting in 2021 as part of the Communications, Media and Entertainment practice in the Asia Pacific Region. He brings over 11 years of experience in emerging industries, digital transformation, industry strategy development, product innovation, development and management. Michael is passionate in working on the next generation of products and business models for a range of clients. Michael holds several degrees and certifications, demonstrating active interest in developing new and emerging capabilities.
Pranav joined Infosys Consulting in 2021 as part of the Communications, Media and Entertainment practice in the APAC region. He has over 4 years of experience in digital transformation and portfolio management in the telecommunications sector. A certified Agile practitioner, Pranav is passionate about incorporating lean methodologies and process improvements in his day-to-day activities.