intrapreneurs-final

When I gave my valedictory speech at the #MazarsforGood Innovation Challenge Award Ceremony in Brussels, I wanted to get something off my chest and told the partners they should trust their staff more, empower them and develop their entrepreneurial skills.

They had to stop me because I would not let the mic down.

I am an advocate of intrapreneurship at work because organisations and especially employees can get tremendous value out of it.

Intrapreneurship can nurture or even spark your employees’ aspirations

Industries such as professional services are becoming commoditised and automation is looming. Employees need to develop new skills to remain relevant and competitive in tomorrow’s world. While I agree all of our employees are not destined to launch a startup, don’t we want them to understand what one has to face and deal with when setting up a business? Freelancing will become the new normal and these skills could make a difference between being chosen or left out.

There are bright minds in any firm and let’s tell the truth, all of them don’t aspire to climb up the ranks and get in the C-suite. But they have other aspirations and I feel the role of a large firm is to help them detect and develop these ambitions, even if they are not directly in adequation with your companies’ core business.

Yes, you read that right.

I know a lot of people can be skeptical regarding this last sentence but for a professional services firm, this can be the opportunity to “create” clients with potentially innovative and sustainable business models. You want to support their aspirations because you will reap benefits off them and build a community of entrepreneurial advocates. We could call them advopreneurs.

Intrapreneurship helps you foster innovation and improve employee engagement

We started our innovation lab at Mazars in Singapore with five intrapreneurs last October. We had them work at Impact HUB in Singapore every Friday for eight weeks on a new service. We had limited resources for this program so I decided to learn and get up to speed on the lean launchpad methodology by lean startup guru Steve Blank so that I could teach it afterwards.

We learnt a lot from this first encouraging experience and I am confident we can improve on the delivery of this program over time.

Participants loved the experience and partners were impressed with what the team developed in eight weeks and a concierge MVP ready to be tested with potential clients. This adventure is still in progress as we speak and it still could fail but that’s not the point. This experience has had multiple benefits for our organisation in terms of employee engagement and innovation.

Partners want to do it again. This would not have been possible without the partners’ support. The trust factor here was paramount and getting management buy-in is certainly a must when starting such an initiative.

I would love to hear from other intrapreneurs and professionals fostering intrapreneurship in large organisations. We are organising an Intrapreneurs’ Meet-up at Impact HUB Cuppage Terrace on September 29 as we are launching a community of intrapreneurs in Singapore. Join us if you are interested!

The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, submit your article here