Venture Challenge: Developing Intrapreneurship in the Corporation
March 29, 2009
Aside from internal research and development, collaboration with partners and mergers another way of sustaining business through offering new product innovation is by encouraging employees to participate in a corporate wide challenge of coming up an idea that will benefit their employers. In essence corporations are developing intrapreneurs, entrepreneurs within the enterprise.
Let me share my own experience in the verge of being an intrapreneur. My previous employer, has started their own version of intrapreneurship through its Venture Challenge Program that started on the year 2002. Being in the company for 5 years that time I’m much immersed with the fast paced technological development the company has undergone. Although the Philippines office is a mere sale and marketing office, the company does not fall short in information dissemination among it’s stakeholders including their employees. The Venture Challenge or VC aims to encourage worldwide employees to pitch their ideas which of course align to the vision of the company. The company will own every submission of ideas as a trade the winner gets to start-up their own business unit and tap the company’s to make things happen. There are 3 rounds of qualification before being recognized as winners. First participants needs to submit a proposal, a document not more than 3 pages that will describe the venture. This will be the participant’s ‘elevator pitch’ trying to convince judges that their ideas are fit with the vision of the company and of course something that is achievable within a short term, there’s no point in passing the first round if the idea is from out of this world, one of the objective of the program is to generate new product innovation that can be introduced to the market as soon as possible – to capture the market. After the first round, qualifiers are then invited to the headquarters to further develop the study and validate if the existing capabilities of the company are able to support the idea. And final the third and final round is the awarding of winners which are being congratulated by no less than the company chief executive – one way of showing that their ideas are worth noticing by the no. 1 business leader in Europe; I think there’s nothing more appreciating than that. The day after is the rewarding part where the winners are then pulled out from their respective units and start their ‘own company’ as they start to develop and prove that their ideas are worth investing. The company’s resources are at their disposal.
Being an entrepreneur wanabee myself I have joined the program for two straight year. I have entered a concept product, an auto-credit transportation fee for every mode of public transportation by the use of your mobile phone and the operators as the collector. The second product I entered, an electronic module for toys that will capture the activities of your children and send the experience to their parents through wireless network. I must say both products quite gain perceivable in the long term. So for the meantime my entries pass only the first round, and kept on company asset for the future or perhaps being used as I wrote this paper. Now I’m enjoying the coffee cup that I received as a token of participation. I noticed they gave us a coffee cup for us to drink coffee, not to sleep so we can think more for them : )
That was 7 years ago. Does your organization apply the same initiative?