There are many different ways to innovate within a company. Which one of these six intrapreneurship programs is the most suitable to reach your business goals?

Typical intrepreneurship programs last from a few days to several months and are composed of the building blocks with different emphases. Before we go into detail, here is an overview of some of the main models that we observed in the market:

Which one of these intrapreneurship programs fits your innovation goals?

6 Intrapreneurship Programs


1. Speed Boat Model

Intrapreneurship ProgramsThe Speed Boat model is a process in which an autonomous team of internal experts, typically comprising 10–20 people, is set up as an individual department. Given their expertise in relevant fields, their main task is to generate new business ideas, validate these, and in a next step, return these ideas back to the operating business areas or to start with the execution. The focus throughout this intrapreneurship programs process is on:

  • constantly developing new business ideas and
  • building an effective and efficient force with a high degree of expertise in the implementation of innovation projects.


2. Sprint Model

Intrapreneurship ProgramsThe Sprint Model is a process in which a team of employees temporarily (typically it is a five-day process, which has been inspired by Google Design Sprints) dedicate their time to an innovation project. Given their know-how in relevant fields, their main task is to generate new business ideas, validate these, and in a next step, return the ideas back to the operating business areas or to start with production. Moreover, the model forces teams to make faster decisions; there is no time to question outcomes or to look for more data to support certain aspects of a project. This process helps teams generate a large volume of ideas, build on them, learn from them and move forward in a compressed amount of time–which is how entrepreneurs work. One example for an intrapreneurship program using the sprint model is the APA-medialab, the innovation hub of the Austria Press Agency.
The focus throughout the process is on:

  • developing new business ideas and
  • building an effective force in the implementation of innovation projects


3. Entrepreneur in Residence

Intrapreneurship ProgramsThe target of this approach is to discover entrepreneurial talents from outside the company and to integrate them into newly created positions or the intrapreneurship programs. “Entrepreneurs in Residence” or the so-called intrapreneurs are given the freedom and the resources to build up holistic and visionary projects. Hiring someone external for a specific task facilitates internal arguments on why the position has been excluded from some bureaucratic processes. Moreover, strong result-oriented incentives lead to entrepreneurial actions by the talents. For example, the Munich-based company PAYBACK invited external intrapreneurs to their innovation lab #PKT.
The focus of this program is on:

  • implementing innovative projects faster,
  • bringing specific expertise to the company, and
  • integrating entrepreneurial behavior into the company culture


4. Time Off Model

Intrapreneurship ProgramsAustralian software company, Atlassian, encourages employees to take “ShipIt” days – a paid time box off, in which people are not disturbed for regular work. First, participants must work on something that is explicitly not their day job – a personal passion project or an organizational pain point – where they decide for themselves what they will be working on, who they are going to work with, and how they are going to do it. Secondly, they must deliver something in 24 hours. The ShipIt Day starts with the participants writing down what they intend to do, why they’re doing it, how much they expect to accomplish, and then pressure-test the idea with colleagues. It ends with a delivery report that can be a video, a blog post, or a screenshot that explains what an individual or a team did, and how it worked out (or how it did not).

  • Time-off can result in a boost of motivation and performance of employees in a very short time
  • The intense pace creates pressure to abandon hesitation and produce fearlessly.


5. Speed Lane Model

Intrapreneurship ProgramsThe target of this intrapreneurship program is to first filter the best internal available ideas and then provide the teams of employees with all the time necessary to realize it. In a first step, employees who already have a business idea are matched with employees that do not, but who are highly motivated to participate. Next, a strategy committee selects a few ideas in pitches that take place throughout the year.

Selected topics receive a pre-determined budget (working time and external resources) and team members have to dedicate a pre-determined percentage of their resources to the project. After passing a second-pitching selection process, each team member dedicates all of his/her capacity to prepare for serial development.

  • Pre-selection of internally available ideas puts the focus on the most relevant ideas
  • Learn that product development cycles can be made leaner


6. Tool Centered Model

Intrapreneurship ProgramsMany formats are professionalized and structured by the use of the right tools. These tools contain work materials, software, and templates from the area of Lean Startup, Design Thinking, and Scrum. Typically, intrapreneurship programs involve many human resources. The advantage of the tool centered model is that no mentors are needed as teams can work on their business idea while receiving crucial guidance (and feedback) by the tool.

The WhatAVenture Innovation Box is a toolkit that guides employees and entrepreneurs from developing their ideas to a validated business model. In six easy-to-follow and well-structured steps, people learn and apply all the successful startup methodology from one box, without extra resources. The digital pendant is the WhatAVenture Innovation Platform. Features like color-coding, task assignment and the timeline help teams to work collaboratively. Also, the dashboard helps innovation managers to keep an overview of all of their teams’ progress.

Similarly, the software leader Adobe released the Adobe Kick-Box, an innovation methodology toolkit that provides a blueprint for internal innovation as part of an open source, in 2014.

  • Access to resources for employees to validate their business ideas
  • Building up sustainable project-management structures

We wish you all the best for your project, if you have any questions, please shoot us a message:

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