No company can afford to waste the talent of its workers, especially when they are already familiar with the company culture and its professional sector. The promotion of entrepreneurship among employees themselves, known as intrapreneurship or corporate entrepreneurship, has become a key strategy to survive in business.
On the one hand, it contributes to retaining talent and encouraging it, given the incentive for some experienced staff to develop a new business idea under the protective umbrella of their company, without having to launch themselves alone into the void. On the other hand, the future of the business may be in the hands of some of the ideas that its employees come up with.
Nowadays all the tech giants promote intrapreneurship within their workforce, even freeing up some of their work time to develop new projects, or offering financial incentives. In either case, they are starting from an initial plan to build an internal culture of innovation, which their workers have to participate in and be trained for.
Nothing is left to chance: intrapreneurship programmes are designed with strategic vision, with a script and with investment, factors that until 2017 were relatively underdeveloped in Spanish companies, according to a study conducted by Deusto Business School that year.
Based on surveying intrapreneurs and managers of 43 large Spanish companies, the Deusto report showed that, while most of them had programmes in support of intrapreneurship, their strategies were unsophisticated and barely offered financial support to entrepreneurial employees. The report also warned of the difficulty of establishing flexible mechanisms for intrapreneurship due to the inertia of how businesses typically operate. One of the study’s conclusions was the need to implement a new figure in company management – a Chief Executive Entrepreneur – specifically dedicated to defining, implementing and maximising the corporate entrepreneurship strategy.
Two years after that report, we find ourselves with well-defined initiatives, such as the MAPFRE Innova programme, carried out by MAPFRE within MAPFRE Open Innovation, its open innovation model linked to the insurtech ecosystem. The aim of MAPFRE Innova is to promote a company’s staff as the source of new business ideas and to finance those ideas that it considers useful for its growth.
In its first year more than 700 workers put forward their ideas, and 50 of them managed to present their business models in several bootcamps, which ended up validating nine prototypes.
Like MAPFRE, more and more companies are working to ensure that the brightest, most creative minds that can go unnoticed in the staff come to light and unleash their potential to benefit the company.