Monday, January 11, 2010

More on intrapreneuring

This picture is taken from a NY Times article entitled "who says innovation belongs to the small" showing some system developed in IBM Research dealing with traffic analysis, this article was quoted in Mark Palmer's Blog saying that "Big companies can innovate if they act small". Mark is right, I have dealt with intrapreneuring for years, and recently even talked briefly about it in an internal talk I have given to an internal audience in IBM Haifa Research Lab about the internal recoginition we received. In my previous posting about intrapreneuring, I have quoted the original ten commandments that Pinchot, the person invented this term, has established; Mark mentions them in his Blog as well, however, recently I got Pinchot's follow-up book, "Intrapreneuring in action", and found out that he has somewhat changed the 10 commandments, some were changed, and some were changed order (assuming that the order says something on importance", so for all fans of intrapreneuring here are the revised 10 commandments:

1. Remember, it is easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission
2. Do any job needed to make your project work, regardless of your job description
3. Come to work each day willing to be fired
4. Recruit a strong team.
5. Ask for advice before resources.
6. Forget pride of authorship, spread credit widely
7. When you bend the rules, keep the best interests of the company and it customers in mind
8. Honor your sponsors
9. Underpromise and overdeliver
10. Be true to your goals, but realistic about ways to achieve them.

Some comments:
  • The current first commandment has been promoted from being the 8th in the old list; my experience indeed shows that this is the most useful advice.
  • "Recruit a strong team" is new, there was similar one with longer phrasing.
  • "Ask for advice before resources" is also a new one
  • "Forget pride of authorship" is also a new one, emphasizing the team game.
  • #7 is also new one, though I have to say that "best interests" is a very subjective term.
  • #9 is also new.

Some commandments that disappeared. but I thought they are useful:

  • Work underground as long as you can – publicity triggers the corporate immune mechanism.
  • Never bet on a race unless you are running in it.
And still, the immune mechanism of big corporates is not an easy line to cross, I have also been in a small company, it has other issues, however being entrepreneur is definitely easier than being intrapreneur.

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