Corporate entrepreneurship as a concept always existed but it was only on 4th February 1985 that TIME magazine for the first time published an article "Here come the Intrapreneurs". This was the first time that the term ‘Intrapreneurship’ was introduced in the mainstream media. This article also discussed the fundamental principles of corporate entrepreneurship or 'Intrapreneurship'. Here is one case study that will give the readers a glimpse into how companies can foster young innovators within their organizations.

Ken Kutaragi and Sony Story

This story  of  Sony’s success with its formidable PlayStation which is the product of its intrapreneurial stint. Way back in Japan in 1975, one of Sony’s promising employees Ken Kutaragi working in its sound labs made a deep observation about the sound quality of the then video games by the company Nintendo. At that time Sony had no presence in the gaming arena , he negotiated to keep working in Sony as he ventured out to work as a consultant for Nintendo games. Understanding his level of creativity and tech genius, Sony Corporation decided to let him continue his entrepreneurial venture with Nintendo. Ken went on to successfully develop CD-ROM based system for Nintendo which eventually got rejected by the company. Ken took it as an opportunity and approached Sony Corporation with a new business case for his product. Ken went onto convince his company to venture into video games and eventually, steered the development of Sony's gaming system. Rest is history. The Sony PlayStation with its y-o-y improved versions took on the global gaming world by storm.

Taking cues from the above case study lets deep dive into the fundamental principles of corporate entrepreneurship and they are:

  • Organizations must exercise an open and flexible approach to acknowledging solutions and suggestions - The intrapreneurs are resourceful people who are not only solution-minded but also adept at repurposing off-the-shelf tools. So rather than having a fixed approach towards problem-solving or accepting new ideas, top leadership must exercise a sense of vision to see latent possibilities in newer suggestions and solutions.
  • Organizations must develop an ecosystem of 'free-will innovation' - Organizations that wish to thrive and succeed in a highly competitive market must foster a spirit wherein innovators can experiment and develop solutions without any apprehensions. While monitoring employees and processes are important, it is even more crucial to develop anopen approach wherein innovators can approach the organization with their ideas, products, and solutions for funding and tech support without the doubt of getting trapped in the stringent approval process.
  • Connecting the Innovators to the Customer - Organizations need to build a bridge between the innovators and the end customers to fuel the development of smart solutions. It is interesting to note in 3M, innovation teams interact with customers periodically to understand what is the value that can be brought to the customer's table. At the end of the day, it is the customers who drive the market.
  • Embracing failures with a keen sense of encouraging innovators to push their limits - When an organization detaches ‘the failure of a person’ from the ‘failure of a project’, then a new ecosystem of encouragement and un-ending endeavor takes shape. This approach to acknowledge failure as a step in the learning process provide impetus to innovators to find the gaps in learning and fill them.

But the question is how to create this kind of organization. As per the industry veteran, one of the Keyways to achieving the goal is by encouraging in-house innovators to enroll in a professionally tailored Corporate Entrepreneurship Programme, SURGE (Successful Renewal in Growing Enterprises).

This program has been developed by industry veterans and business evangelists from various industry domains. This program aims to train budding entrepreneurs within the organization with the mental and professional toolkit to build up and execute a new business case successfully within an organizational set-up.