Intra-preneurship (Unless it’s a top down effort, don’t even try it.)

In February, @phillmckinney wrote an article about corporate anti-bodies and their effect on innovation. I’ve got a few thoughts on this… First off, if you’ve got a track record for seeing problems, coming up with solutions, figuring out how to make money at it and then convincing people to help you make them happen, start your own company. So few people can see the root cause of a problem and go for the throat to solve it that it’s one of the rarest of skills out there. Go make a lot of money for yourself and your family. Second, it’s the role of an organization to maintain the course of the organization and extend the profitability of the company. Things that get in the way or cause the organization to go off course are sidelined and then pushed out of that organization. Intrapreneurship, as defined by Guy Kawasaki, is really the antithesis of what the company is set up to do. It’s simply not realistic to believe that any mature organization is going to accept developing a product that kills the cash cow. Unless… it’s driven by the CEO and backed by the Board of Directors. That gives credibility, protection for the creative thinkers and innovators on staff, and it gives one more thing: the approval to take risks. Most mature companies are risk averse – they’re organized to extend the life of a product, optimize the sales process and in tough times, cut costs. The innovator is diametrically opposed to this. For that reason alone it’s my belief that intrapreneurship is a myth. If you are ready to strike out on your own then there’s a growing list of resources for you: Startup Weekend, Startup Bus (which just wrapped up at SxSW) as well as TechStars and lots of accelerator and incubator programs. If you’re in Tampa, StartupWeekend Tampa is launching on April 13, there’s Gazelle Lab and a really successful StartupBus just finished with BumperCrop placing second. Do you want to beat your head against a wall for somebody else, or do you want to do it for yourself and get even bigger reward?