First things first: What exactly is an “intrapreneur?” While the concept comes up frequently in Eric Reis’ recent book The Lean Startup, the term itself has been part of business vernacular for decades. Its definition is simple – an intrapreneur is “a manager within a company who promotes innovative product development and marketing.”
Even in 1992 this wasn’t a new concept, it simply gave a name to something that had been at the heart of business innovation for decades. To this day, intrapraneurs are everywhere in business. Whether a part of a sales and marketing team or a back-office legal department, intrapraneurs are constantly challenging the status quo and driving new ideas that help your business grow.
I know what you must be thinking at this point – Isn’t promotion of innovative ideas just part of the job? Shouldn’t all sales managers already be striving to grow the business? What makes an intrapreneur so special? What sets them apart?
The key to making a lasting impact as an intrapraneur is in understanding that process and workflow are at the heart of innovation.
Unfortunately, innovation and growth can be challenged by inadequate software used to manage process – like email and spreadsheets – and a lack of sufficient visibility into the process.
If you were to ask an intrapraneur if they are making their program or business process better, they most likely would say yes. But if you follow up by asking them, “How do you know?” – you might get some interestingly vague responses.
In this blog post, we hope to give you some ideas on how to innovate despite corporate IT and inadequate software tools and overcome uncertainty in process improvement.
Lean Startup Principles and Smart Process Apps Make Innovation Easy
Here are three guidelines from Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup that might help your company get started:
1. Establish a Baseline with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
The first step towards that next ground-breaking business idea is to establish a baseline of data around how your users, whether they are the company’s customers or an army of sales reps, will actually perform your process.
This is where Onit can help.
Onit will build you a MVP within a matter of hours or days that you can get in the hands of your customers to see how they perform with your product.
2. Tune the Baseline Toward the Ideal
Now that you have an Onit App or two that your customers are using, you can begin to fine-tune the system.
Onit automatically records every action a user takes when they are using your Apps. That means you can extract the data to analyze on your own, or Onit can build you amazing reporting dashboards to help you stay on top of your processes.
The detailed reporting capabilities will allow you to identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies standing in the way of innovation. By carefully analyzing these bottlenecks, you can make the executive decision to change aspects of the process. Perhaps that API call to Salesforce.com should execute before it gets to the legal team, or maybe the VP of Sales should review that contract before it makes it to the team in India.
When you have the ability to rapidly iterate on your design, you can quickly refine your process to be efficient and effective – even if it wasn’t at first.
3. Pivot or Persevere
After a sufficiently long period of execution with your App, you’ll have lots of data and analyses on how your business could work. You’ll have insights that simply weren’t possible before.
With this information, you can make a clear decision on whether to continue scaling and building on your idea or to pivot to another one altogether.
If you decide to pivot, Onit licenses by the process, so it is very easy to switch to a totally different design without significantly affecting your cost.
Execution is All That Matters
Whether you are a Silicon Valley startup or a Fortune 100, execution is all that matters. You can have the best idea in the world for your business, but unless you make it happen and measure the results, you’ll never make an impact.
Onit is here to help you do just that.
We believe that process and workflow are the most important ingredients in business and we know a good deal about lean startup process improvement because we are a startup ourselves.
Email us today at [email protected] to start a conversation with one of our business process consultants. We will help you refine the design of your process and build your minimum viable product Apps to establish your baseline.
With the Onit Team and Smart Process Apps on your side, you can pave the way for all the intrapreneurs within your company to take your business to the next level.