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The term Intrapreneur is a relatively new term for employees who work for a company that are highly skilled at seeing new opportunities and figuring out how to bring them to life. As a lifelong marketer I see this as an immensely valuable trait. Why? Because as technology, apps, social, big data, predictive analytics, new business models and new marketing methods arise with every passing day, visionaries are needed to help stay ahead of the curve and the competition. In marketing, this has never been more true than today.
In an article written by Chris Shayan, he talks about “green housing” and why it is so important. Ideas need to be generated, shared, stored, curated and reengineered at the right moment. Intrapreneurs are masterful at not only searching for and remembering their ideas but also figuring out how to implement them sooner than later in ways nobody else thought was possible. I see this as being a tremendously valuable talent in marketing because not everyone understands the entire marketing ecosystem well and it is changing with every passing day. Additionally, businesses now have to re-engineer their own business models just so they can stay viable and marketers need to be on the forefront of that activity.
There needs to be someone on staff that can also reimagine what the customer experience should be and figure out how to implement initiatives that are aligned with technology and business goals. Do you have such a person within your ranks?
Is it possible to groom one of your prized employees to become more Intrapreneurial? I am not certain if this can be done without first understanding the individual’s skills, passions and desires. However, once their skills are assessed, if you think the person may be a possible candidate for Intrapreneurial type initiatives, I think having a program in place to train people like this to think and act is important. However, the basis for entrepreneurial thinking should be a prerequisite in my opinion. An intrepreneur typically is one of those thinkers that always bring something new to the table. If you’re the CMO, it’s your job to understand and harness the new ideas coming from the intrapreneur in your department.
“Savvy CMOs in 2016 will recognize the fundamental interconnectedness of communications and begin to use design thinking to build differentiated brand experiences that link engagement across the full customer life cycle.”
– Michelle Moorehead – Forrester
Is Design Thinking and Intrapreneurialsm Connected?
In order for CMOs to take the lead they will be required to implement new approaches that are widespread across the entire customer lifecycle. When this occurs, it will bring the brand to life. As Chris Shayan stated in his article, design thinking and mind mapping can be characteristics that are common among the Intrapreneurial crowd. I think both of these are frequently seen because they require non traditional business thinking as well as a no-nonsense approach to tackling an idea as well as the confidence to figure out how to forge ahead even though they may not have a clear concept of what the path ahead looks like. Most of us require clear path directional fortitude. The idea that what’s ahead is easily seen, stable and has low resistance is not what Intrapreneurs think about. They don’t need those criteria to function. In fact, they are completely opposite. They are throwing most business paradigms out the window and looking at technology, mobile, customer needs, existing assets and the end result.
In my opinion, if you have an intrapreneur on your team, try to focus on helping them create additional value methods beyond what you currently have now. This is not easy, however, if anyone is going to do it, your intrapreneur is the right person for the job. Set them loose and you will be highly surprised at what they bring back to you.
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