Eyeforpharma interview “Taking the entrepreneurial approach”

Read this insightful “Taking the entrepreneurial approach” interview conducted by Eyeforpharma on the impact of hierarchy and how executive mindset inhibits adapting to the rapidly changing commercial landscape.  It outlines how “intrapreneurs” and internal “angel investors” can get large, mature organizations moving again!

Read Intrapreneuring Case Study “Leading Innovation” by Ivey Business School!

The prestigious Ivey Business School of the Western University in Ontario, Canada, published an insightful new teaching case study on intrapreneuring and corporate innovation titled “Boehringer Ingelheim: Leading Innovation” in which the case writers, Professor J. Robert Mitchell, Ph.D., and Ramasastry Chandrasekhar, follow the footsteps of the newly appointed innovation director.

Meant to raise questions and serving as a learning opportunity for graduate students in academic program around the globe, this case study lifts the corporate curtain a bit to show how innovation through intrapreneuring really happens and decision points along the way.

Outline (by Ivey Publishing)

The newly appointed director of Innovation Management & Strategy at Boehringer Ingelheim, a German-based multinational pharmaceutical company, is finding his way forward in his firm’s new, first-of-its-kind role, which is central to the company’s growth rejuvenation strategy. His job has a threefold mandate: to build internal networks, to establish internal structures and to leverage internal ideas. His biggest challenge, however, may be transforming the organization’s DNA. The blockbuster business model that has characterized the company for decades is no longer appropriate. Instead, the firm needs to develop healthcare products available to end users over the counter. This shift in strategy requires innovative changes in distribution, delivery and customer focus. To accomplish this goal, he needs to institutionalize innovation so that it becomes sustainable. But in doing so, he must also identify the metrics for assessing progress. The case provides an opportunity for students to step into the shoes of an innovation leader, to develop an innovation roadmap for the organization in the face of uncertainty and to understand how to engage in innovation leadership at various levels of a global enterprise.

Learning Objective

This case has two key objectives. First, this case provides students an opportunity to grapple with the difficult decisions associated with innovation in an uncertain environment. Second, this case highlights that anyone has the ability to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset and to lead innovation. The case divides the attributes of an innovation leader into five components: observing, questioning, experimenting, networking and associating. It shows the real-life experiences of a manager doing seemingly routine activities, who evolved into a leader who transformed the DNA of a global enterprise. The case also provides a template of the tasks, responsibilities and value-added changes as an individual moves progressively within an enterprise from an operations manager to a senior manager to an innovation leader. This case can be used either toward the beginning or toward the end of any course that addresses innovation and creative thinking in a large organization. At the beginning of a course, it illustrates the challenges of acting in the face of uncertainty in a large organization. At the end of a course, the case provides an opportunity for students to apply what they have learned about innovation, entrepreneurial thinking and innovation leadership.

‘School for Intrapreneurs” finalist in eyeforpharma awards 2015!

We are honored by eyeforpharma’s announcement for Boehringer Ingelheim “School for Intrapreneurs” to be a Finalist for yet another award: the prestigious eyeforpharma Philadelphia awards 2015 in the Most Impactful Emerging or Global Initiative category!

One juror, for example, believes the Boehringer Ingelheim School for Intrapreneurs adds value beyond the pill to patients and customers: “Great program that ensures that the company keeps up to date and a competitive edge. I also like that everybody has the opportunity to contribute and participate.”

The winners will be announced on April 7th during the upcoming eyeforpharma Philadelphia 2015 conference (from April 7-8th, 2015, Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia, PA.), so join the conference and stay connected via Twitter at #efpPhilly

About the Awards

The eyeforpharma Philadelphia Awards recognize those in the pharmaceutical industry who are driving pharma forwards not just with higher short-term profits, but with better customer innovation, value and outcomes leading to longer-term success.

eyeforpharma’s mission is to make the pharmaceutical industry more open and valued, which means these awards are a literal translation of why we exist. It is our responsibility to shine a light on where pharma does well, to inspire others into similar or better action.

Is Disruptive Innovation a Myth?

When we talk about disruptive innovation, we can easily agree that going from the days of dim candle light and sooty oil lamps to electric light was one of these breakthrough innovations, right?  Its icon, the lightbulb serves as our symbol for a great idea today.

Lightbulb idea (www.istockphoto.com)
(source: http://www.istockphoto.com)

Who invented the lightbulb?

When you ask around “who invented the lightbulb?” the answer “Thomas Edison” first comes to mind – and the answer is wrong!  Truth is that we can give credit closer to 20(!) inventors of the lightbulb! – How so?

Thomas Edison patented the first practical and commercially viable incandescent lightbulb in 1878 and a revised design in 1879.  In addition, he  offered the first efficient electricity supply system for households and businesses, which laid the foundation and cleared the path for mass-producing light bulbs in 1880.  His design was an evolution from previous, inferior designs and enabled by improved technology.

Edison's Lightbulb (source: www.unmuseum.org)
Edison’s Lightbulb (source: http://www.unmuseum.org)

 

Sitting in the dark without Edison?

No worries, we would not stay sitting in the dark.  It appears safe to say that even if Thomas Edison was never born, the practical incandescent lightbulb would have been developed around the same time – by someone else.

Looking back in history, Humphrey Davy invented electric light in 1802; more than 75 years before Edison.  His “arc light” was unsuitable for mainstream application though it found specialty uses even today. Many more designs for incandescent light and lightbulbs were developed by several inventors, but neither were they practical nor suitable beyond demonstration stage. Prominently, Joseph W. Swan built a working prototype of a “light bulb” in 1850 – well before Edison.

Entrepreneurial Competition

Edison had access to improved technology such as a better vacuum pump for his breakthrough design. This technology was not available to previous inventors.  Edison also developed an efficient and economical way to distribute electricity when earlier designs drained batteries quickly.  (A nice example, by the way, on how a product can go a long way when bundled with a complementing service.)

On the flip-side, Edison knew of his limitation too.  He made carbonized Japanese bamboo glow as filament between two electrodes knowing that carbonized Tungsten was the superior material.  However, the technology was not available at the time to produce a thin Tungsten thread.  We had to wait for William D. Coolidge to produce the Tungsten filament for General Electric in 1910, which is still the preferred material to illuminate our modern incandescent lightbulbs today.

This situation is typical and comparable to many big ideas that entrepreneurs work on today.  There is much competition among entrepreneurs, so every good idea usually has a handful of teams working on it independently and head-to-head at the same time.  Thus, it is highly likely that, if not Edison, another inventor would have come up with the lightbulb design we are so familiar with today.

R&D as a Legacy

Perhaps, the even more impactful and lasting heritage of Thomas Edison are not his inventions, useful as they are.  His products such as the lightbulb, phonograph, quadruplex telegraph, mimeograph, etc., have been replaced over time by more advanced technology.

Nonetheless, Edison has changed the way we discover concertedly today. Until his time, inventors matched the stereotypical image of a lonely genius experimenting and inventing in their lair burning the midnight oil over some ambitious idea.  Edison established the first research and development (R&D) organization in his famous Menlo Park lab, where a large number of researchers worked together in an orchestrated way to find solutions to specific problems coordinated strategically and systematically concerted.  Edison has industrialized research!

Until today every research-driven company or organization worldwide follows in Edison’s footsteps!  What an impressive legacy!

Summary

Disruptive innovations tend to have their origin in incremental steps and competition among inventors. First working individually and now increasingly in teams or even distributed R&D organizations across country borders.
A key success factor here is building trust and incentives within the team in order for all individual contributors to share information and findings freely.

The broader, cross-functional approach to research helps to identify ideas and technologies from other disciplines that can serve as stepping stones.  Edison used a better vacuum pump, which made his design possible.  Later, the capability to manufacture a thin Tungsten wire allowed General Electric to take the lightbulb the next level.
As the saying goes, “innovation happens at the intersections of disciplines.”  The development of the lightbulb serves as a nice example proving it to hold true once again.  Thus, innovation benefits by drawing from advances in other disciplines.

So, is disruptive innovation a myth?

Back to our original question, the story of the lightbulb is a great example for a breakthrough innovation with vast ramifications that disrupted and shaped the we live and work around the globe.

It can, however, not be seen as just one big and isolated scientific step but rather a series of many little steps in combination insights from other disciplines including manufacturing, economics and marketing leading to broad adoption that changed the world.

Lightbulb evolution (source: www.thewirelessbanana.com)
Lightbulb evolution
(source: http://www.thewirelessbanana.com)

Only when it all comes together you have a disruptive innovation like Edison’s famous design.  And it was still not the end.  The journey continued to evolve with a Tungsten wire and later fluorescence, halogen and LED lights.

In this light, every disruption seems as yet another incremental step, doesn’t it?

Meet me at Yale’s “Patients and Big Data in Healthcare: Deriving Value and Accelerating Innovation” Nov.11, 2014

Patients and Big Data in Healthcare: Deriving Value and Accelerating Innovation
Nov 11 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

REGISTER:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/patients-and-big-data-in-healthcare-deriving-value-and-accelerating-innovation-tickets-12475417309

CURE and Yale, in collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim, presents “Patients and Big Data in Healthcare: Deriving Value and Accelerating Innovation.” In an increasingly digital age, healthcare stakeholders can access significant amounts of data and knowledge using various platforms. Critically, this “big data,” represents a vast quantity of complex and diverse information. While payers, providers, healthcare experts and the pharmaceutical industry have the capability to analyze this data to gain insight, this information can be overwhelming to patients. This BioHaven event, moderated by Richard Foster, has convened a panel of experts to explore the topic of “big data,” the role of the patient in data analytics, the role of payers and what actionable data represents. Further discussion will explore the state of the art, including discussing national hospital systems using big data and local ones in CT and at Yale. Finally, the discussion will conclude with discussion about effectively incorporating big data into operations and where the field is headed.

Special kudos to my valued colleague Faye Lindsay, who was instrumental in pulling this event together!

Some of the topics the moderator and panelists will consider:

Defining and Exploring the topic

  • Tell us what “big data” means to you and why it is important.  Give us one example which illustrates the best use of big data to date.
  • What is the role of the patient in data analytics?  Does it benefit them?  Do they naturally do it?  How error prone are the data they provide directly?
  • What is the role of the payer in all of this.  Can they get the data they need to better set rates?  Will “big data” help or hurt the payers?
  • What is actionable data?  What are the three major areas where we are making progress?

State of the Art

  • Where is the best state of the art in using data to improve outcomes in the US?  How do we know that is true?
  • What hospital systems or MCOs are most advanced?
  • How are we doing in CT compared to other states?  How do we know?
  • What is the state of the art in healthcare info tech/big data in the US.   Where?  Why?  What do we need to do to catch up?

Unanticipated Consequences

  • Will all this measurement result in intense, and from time time, unproductive rivalries between docs, or hospital systems?
  • How can the providers use “big data” and not put at risk the effectiveness of current medical care delivery processes which have takes years to define and perfect?

Specific Subtopics

  • Big Data and the bottom 5%
  • We know we spend $1.35 T on 5% of the population. Do we know who they are and how we can best treat them.  How much can we expect to reduce the cost, or improve the quality of the health care delivered to these patients?
  • Big Data and Quality
  • Integrating Big Data into Operations, effectively

What is coming?

  • Who is controlling the pace of advance in Big Data these days – Academia (who), the Payers (who?), the providers (who?) the Feds (who and who in HHS/CMS?)  What about the role of the National Cancer Hospitals.  Or other specialized (by disease/condition) providers (e.g. DaVita)

Moderator:

Richard N. Foster, PhD, Emeritus Director, McKinsey and Co; Lecturer, Yale School of Management.

Dr. Foster is an emeritus director of McKinsey & Company, Inc. where he was a Director and Senior Partner. While at McKinsey he founded several practices including the healthcare practice and the private equity practices, the technology practice and innovation practice. From 1995 to 1998 he led McKinsey’s worldwide knowledge development.

At Yale, Dr. Foster teaches “Managing In Times of Rapid Change” and serves as the Executive in Residence at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute. Dr. Foster’s research interests are in the relationships between capital formation, innovation, and regulation. Dr. Foster has written two best-selling books: Innovation: The Attacker’s Advantage (1986) and Creative Destruction (2001), both of which were cited as among the “ten best books of the year” when they were published by the Harvard Business Review.

Dr. Foster’s work has appeared in Business Week, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times as well as several dozen articles in research and popular journals. Dr. Foster was recognized as one of their ten “Masters of Innovation” in the past century. He was the external leader of the Concil on Foreign Relations Study Group on Technological Innovation and Economic Performance which led to the publication of Technological Innovation Economic Performance (2001, Princeton University Press).

Panelists:

Harlan Krumholz, MD, Harold H. Hines Jr. Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and Professor of Investigative Medicine and of Public Health (Health Policy); Co-Director, Clinical Scholars Program; Director, Yale-New Haven Hospital Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation.

Dr. Krumholz’s research focuses on improving patient outcomes, health system performance and population health. His work with health care companies has led to new models of transparency and data sharing. His work with the U.S. government has led to the development of a portfolio of national, publicly reported measures of hospital performance. These measures also became part of several provisions of the health reform bill. He is currently working with leaders in China on government-funded efforts to establish a national research and performance improvement network.

Dr. Krumholz is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine, the Association of American Physicians, and the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He is a Distinguished Scientist of the American Heart Association. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the American College of Cardiology, the Board of Directors of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the Board of Governors of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

Rishi Bhalerao, MBA, Director of PatientsLikeMe, a free patient network and real-time health research platform.

At PatientsLikeMe Rishi manages major relationships with industry partners. Prior to joining PatientsLikeMe, Rishi spent several years as a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and more recently, as an innovation consultant, at a firm started by Prof. Clay Christensen of the Harvard Business School. He earned an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and also holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Engineering.

You Xi

Director of Business Analytics at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals (BI)and leads a team of analysts conducting analysis across all BI’s portfolio and communicating findings and strategic insights to internal stakeholders (Marketing, Sales, Managed Markets, Sr. Management etc.).

The key deliverables include using various data sources to measure performance, build promotional mix optimization modeling, behavior segmentation, portfolio optimization, etc.  Prior to BI, You was a consultant at ZS Associates and then held various management roles in the pharmaceutical industry including Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Novartis.

Michael Matteo

Mike Matteo is chief growth officer at Optum, where he is responsible for creating and enabling growth across the company. Matteo focuses on the needs and opportunities of Optum’s customers and how the company can deliver creative, innovative solutions that meet their objectives. Prior to bringing his passion for modernizing the health care system to Optum in 2012, Matteo served for four years as chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare National Accounts, where he expanded the company’s industry-leading position in the large-employer marketplace. Prior to becoming CEO, Matteo led business development efforts for UnitedHealthcare National Accounts, where previously he worked in product development and was instrumental in designing and launching the company’s first consumer-driven product innovations. He joined UnitedHealth Group in 1997 as a strategic account executive, helping many of the company’s largest employer clients meet their health care objectives.

Before joining UnitedHealth Group, Matteo was with Physicians Health Services, where he served the needs of major clients as an underwriting director and senior account executive. He began his career serving in multiple roles with Traveler’s Insurance Companies. Matteo graduated magna cum laude with honors from the College of the Holy Cross, and participated in the Columbia University Executive Management Program. He is on the boards of the MetroHartford Alliance, Hartford YMCA, and Connecticut Science Center, and served as chairperson of the Greater Hartford Arts Council Capital Campaign.

‘School for Intrapreneurs” nominated for 5th annual Corporate Entrepreneur Awards

We are honored that the Boehringer Ingelheim “School for Intrapreneurs” got nominated for Market Gravity announce the fifth annual Corporate Entrepreneur Awards in New York.

The awards will be held at an inspiring new venue, 7 World Trade Center, and include the opportunity to explore some of the top corporate innovations in North America, network with innovation leaders, and hear from our guest speaker from Virgin Galactic.

The awards recognize and celebrate the achievements of individuals and teams who are working within large companies to deliver game changing innovation and growth.

Meet me at the 5th annual Corporate Entrepreneur Awards, New York City, Nov. 4, 2014

After four successful years, Market Gravity is proud to announce the fifth annual Corporate Entrepreneur Awards, and this year the Awards are coming to New York.

The awards will be held at an inspiring new venue, 7 World Trade Center, and include the opportunity to explore some of the top corporate innovations in North America, network with innovation leaders, and hear from our guest speaker from Virgin Galactic.

The awards recognize and celebrate the achievements of individuals and teams who are working within large companies to deliver game changing innovation and growth.

Join me at the Pharmaceutical Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy Conference in Philadelphia, PA on April 24, 2014

Q1 Pharma Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy
Q1’s Pharmaceutical Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy

Location: Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia Center City, 1100 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA 19107

Meet me at DEMO Enterprise, San Francisco/CA, April 3, 2014

DEMO Enterprise, San Francisco/CA, April 3, 2014
DEMO Enterprise, San Francisco/CA, April 3, 2014

New Tech Solving Big Problems!

Be the next Steve Jobs!

Can you innovate?

It a strange question.  Isn’t it astonishing how many people say “I am not creative” or believe “innovators” are so much different from themselves.  As if innovators are an enlightened lot of geniuses that come up with breakthrough innovations that nobody else could have thought of or made happen but them.  Icons such as Steve Jobs (Apple), Elon Musk (Tesla) or Jeff Bezos (Amazon) stand out.  They apparently think differently and changed the world.

The question for the rest of us is: could I be a Steve Jobs too?  Or do have to be born gifted to be able to innovate in ways that “make a ding in the universe” like Steve Jobs?

Are you a Steve Jobs? (photo credit: http://scrapetv.com/News/News%20Pages/Technology/images/steve-jobs-3g-iphone.jpg)
Are you a Steve Jobs?
(photo credit: http://scrapetv.com/News/News%20Pages/Technology/images/steve-jobs-3g-iphone.jpg)

You can learn creativity!

If you ask kids in kindergarten or preschool if they are creative, they enthusiastically respond “Yes!”  At that age we are convinced we are creative and express our views, thoughts and ideas in many ways.  We design rockets to Mars or create new animals, nothing is out of bounds or out of reach.

What has happened to us that we believe as grown-ups and employees we can no longer create and change the world? I heard “I could never do that” and “nothing will change anyway” too many times.

Good news is that genetic predisposition only attributes one-third to your creativity and innovative-ness (if this is a word), while two-thirds are skills that can be learned, as research confirmed many times over (see Marvin Reznikoff et al, Creative abilities in identical and fraternal twins, Behavior Genetics 3, no. 4, 1973).

Therefore, innovation can be taught, “nurture trumps nature.”  So, you can learn it too!

Are you an intrapreneur or entrepreneur? 

However, not everyone wants to take the risk and uncertainty to make an entrepreneurial dream come true by starting a new business on their own.  Many of us work in large organizations and would like to improve the company from within somehow.

This is where intrapreneuring comes into play.  Intrapreneurs are also called corporate entrepreneurs, since they apply entrepreneurial methods within the organization to create intraprises.   (See also The Rise of the Intrapreneur)

What innovators have in common

So is there anything that great innovators share and which we ‘mortals’ can replicate or do similarly to succeed? – In fact, there is!

In his iconic book “The Innovator’s DNA,” famous disruptive innovation guru Clayton Christensen (who is also known for coining the term ‘disruptive innovation’) identified four common catalysts that sparked the great ideas:

  1. “a question that challenged the status quo,
  2. an observation of a technology, company, or customer,
  3. an experience or experiment where he was trying out something new,
  4. a conversation with someone who alerted him to an important piece of knowledge or opportunity”

This comes down to the four following behaviors, as Christensen found out:  questioning, observing, networking, and experimenting.

Thinking different

While, typically, the underlying information is not unique, the innovator’s associative thinking combines information and connects dots that seem random or unrelated to others.  They create a picture or vision of a need or opportunity to pursue.

Now, on your way to become an intrapreneur (or entrepreneur), how can you get to these insights, find a suitable target and make it happen?

There are two basic steps:

  1. Don’t work alone
  2. Seek a fertile environment.

1. Don’t work alone

An  African proverb says “If you want to walk fast, walk alone; but if you want to walk far, walk together”.  Developing and bringing a disruptive idea to life takes time, work and -more than anything- collaboration.  It’s not a fast shot and you will need help.  What you can do is tapping into more brains: ask others and bring together a diverse team around an idea.  You want to get as many different perspectives to see the fuller picture, risks, needs, opportunities to tackle the problem you are working on.

You may be blindsided or unaware of things critical for your success including much needed political cover, validating your assumptions or technical aspects outside your expertise.  If you try to do everything yourself, you are setting yourself up for failure for a simple reason: you are not an expert in everything!  Stick with what you are good at and let other experts help you with what they are good at.

2. Seek a fertile environment

If you want to start your own business as an entrepreneur, you may want to move where you find the best condition for a supportive business environment, an ecosystem.  For entrepreneurs, for example, Stanford University and Silicon Valley remain a major tech magnets with ample and easy access to top talent and money.  Also accelerators can serve this purpose.  Comparable conditions for an innovative ecosystem exist at the US-East coast in the Boston area.  Depending on your business idea, other locations and ecosystems may be more suitable – do your homework and find the right one for you.

As an intrapreneur, your available ecosystem seems more limited: it typically is the company you work in that defines the perimeter of your freedom to navigate.  Your advantage here can be that you already know the environment and who could be supporting or funding your idea.  If not your, you could more easily ask colleagues for help than people outside your company could, which significantly lowers the bar for access to resources.

Let’s continue by focusing on intrapreneuring.  Compared to the entrepreneurial world out there, within an organization you may have more opportunities to help shape the fertile ecosystem for breakthrough ideas if none exists yet.

Now, if you are stuck with a company that does not provide an environment that supports intrapreneuring, you may consider becoming the innovation leader (see How to become the strategic innovation leader? (part 2 of 3)) to build an ecosystem within a large organization.

– Stay tune to find out how.

How open offices kill productivity – and how to make it work

Open offices are not a new invention.  They have been around for a long time as hallmark of start-up companies that simply cannot afford glitzy corporate skyscrapers with plush corner offices (yet). Open offices emerged less by deliberate design than driven by need.

Start-ups typically run on a vibrant culture of passionate people wanting to spend time together to create something great, everyone works together closely in the tight space available.  Information flows fast and freely.  Recreational elements and other services offered remove the need or motivation to leave.  Employees hang out to work maximum hours as a team in a fun, inspiring and supportive environment.  Productivity is up and work gets done.

Start-up open office (source: theepochtimes.com)
Start-up open office (source: theepochtimes.com)

Growing pains

Large companies are attracted by this powerful value-proposition for open offices – or so it seems.  Mature organizations struggle with their increasing size that, over time, entails increasing specialization and complexity with a stifling system of red tape and inertia.

While jobs are large in small companies and come with broad scope and high accountability, which are diluted when jobs narrow in large companies by increased specialization over time.  Functional silos emerge and sub-optimize often to the detriment of other business functions.

This siloed corporate world only contributes to a climate that works against diverse collaboration and inhibits breakthrough innovations; and business results degrade from 10x to 10%.  (See also 10x vs 10% – Are you still ready for breakthrough innovation?)

Cutting costs is a questionable driver

The reasons for large organizations moving to an open floor plan are often glorified and communicated as a measure to increase creativity and productivity in an appealing modern working environment: employees connect casually and spontaneously at the ‘water cooler’ to network and innovate together again.

The true and paramount driver for tearing down the office walls, however, is often more sobering: it comes down to simply cutting costs by reducing the expensive office footprint.  Fitting more people into less space comes at a price for the workforce.

Cost savings only get you so far.  It’s an easy approach but not a sustainable business model for productivity.  What do you really save if productivity goes down?  How sustainable is your business then?  Sacrificing productivity for cost savings is a narrow-minded approach lacking long-term perspective and, therefore, not worth it.  That is unless your goal is to achieve short-term gains without consideration for the future of the business, which is a disqualifying business perspective altogether.

The popular phenomenon in large companies is a move for the wrong reasons (the better driver being increased productivity) and entails serious consequences that jeopardize the company’s productivity, workforce satisfaction, and even the bottom line.

Design constraints

It gets even worse when the new environment is retrofitted space with structural limitations, founded in the legacy of existing buildings and investments, and if no flanking measures taken to enable effective collaboration needs.

A design from scratch has the potential support the collaboration needs and flow of the workforce best.  This is an advantage start-ups have when they can shape and rearrange loft space to their immediate needs without limitations carried forward.

Size matters

Controlling cost is necessary and reducing office footprint is an effective business measure.  Aetna, for example, has nearly half of their 35,000 employees working from home already, which saves ~15% to 25% on real estate costs – that’s about $80 million saving per year.

Do not get me wrong, there are undeniable benefits to open office spaces – when applied for the right reasons in the right context, with right priorities and proper execution.  The point I am making is that cost reduction alone is not a worthwhile driver if it sacrifices productivity.  There comes a point where a hard decision has to be made and if you prioritize cost savings, you sacrifice productivity and other aspects automatically.

Open Office Plan (source: Foundation 7)
Open Office Plan (source: Foundation 7)

What does it take?

Unfortunately, the start-up company model with open office space and its agile and enthusiastic does not scale for large organizations.  The corporate one-size-fits-all approach does not do the trick for several reasons.

Let us look at aspects that make the open office work:

  1. Tear down cost center walls
  2. Make presence easy
  3. Level the (remote) playing field
  4. Embrace work style differences

1.  Tear down cost center walls

Proximity favors who needs to work together closely.  In a start-up company, staff is few and jobs are big.  This ratio flips in large organizations where many employees work in highly specialized functions.  With increasing specialization comes complexity that leads to functional silos.  The employees become separated by every rising departmental and organizational walls.

In large organizations, work space is typically paid for by department and charged to cost centers.  Staff gets corralled this way and kept separated in functional clusters that are easier to administer but counteract productivity, streamlined workflow, and diverse collaboration cross-functionally.  After all, it wouldn’t make sense to have any department operating completely independent from the rest of the organization.

These artificial and structural boundaries make no sense (unless you are an accountant, perhaps).  Therefore, trade the urge for financial micro-management for what makes the workforce more productive, as this is the most important aspect of collaboration and, ultimately, the bottom line.

2.  Make presence easy

Make it easy for your employees to go the extra mile.  Now here is where large companies can learn from how start-ups: offer incentives for employees to hang out and remove reasons for them to leave to maximize time to work and collaborate.

The list seems endless: free beverages and food, services such as laundry, hair dresser, spa or receiving deliveries, exercise equipment, healthy snacks, child and pet care, and other useful perks that cost-cutting companies often omit.

Sounds like a waste to many large companies.  But is it really?  You get more out of your employees’ carefree working along longer than by pinching the free coffee and have them leave during the day or early to run their necessary errands.

3.  Level the (remote) playing field

It may sound counter-intuitive but when cost saving rules, the open office space often only works when not all employees are around at the same time.  If all employees showed up on the same day there may not be enough room and resources (seating, access to power and networks, etc.) to fit and accommodate everyone, since the physical office footprint is now too small ‑ a Catch-22.

When only a subset of employees can be present in the office at any given workday, the rest has to work remotely forming an –at least- virtual organization.  Consequently, the random personal connection “at the water cooler” becomes less likely as does spontaneous cooperation by “pulling together a team” since your pool of physically available staff is limited.

Management needs to take deliberate and determined measures to level the playing field for remote workers by giving them the same opportunities as colleagues present in the office.  Why?  “Out of sight, out of mind” is a powerful and human nature.  If not managed effectively, it only becomes worse when remote staff easily is continuously overlooked when it comes to projects staffing, development opportunities and promotions, for example. The resulting inequities undermine workforce cohesion, effectiveness, and talent development.

Read more on virtual teams at Why virtual teams fail, and how to make them work (part 1) and How to make virtual teams work! (part 2).

4.  Embrace work style differences

There are too many individual work styles to list them all – for example, just think of

FastCompany recently came up with a list of reasons by workers arguing against open offices, which is a good indicator where the pain-points are.  Representative or not, the list tends to resonate with people that experienced first-hand working in a corporate open office environment.

The key complaints are about

  • Distraction – hard to concentrate with surrounding noises of all sort; loud speaking coworkers; interruptions of coworkers stopping by at any given time
  • Discomfort – no privacy; by-passers looking at your screen and documents; food, bodily and other odors; white-noise generators blamed for headaches; spreading contagious illnesses; having to talk to people when you don’t feel like it; “hiding” by wearing earphones
  • Workflow obstacles – competing over quiet spaces, conference rooms or other rare resources; no place to store personal items or personalize the space.

In summary

One size does not fit all and it does not do the trick for large companies, in particular.  So if you have to downsize office space or accommodate more employees, take a sound and sustainable approach by making productivity the driving priority and not cost.

After all, we are human beings that work best when we have control over our work environment and schedule.  When we perform at our best, it is also for the better of the company as a whole.  Flexibility, empowerment and inclusion go a long way – otherwise, mind FastCompany’s warning: “What was supposed to be the ultimate space for collaboration and office culture was having the opposite effect” – also for the bottom line.

Free download for Intrapreneuring book on Kindle Oct. 23-24 only!

Download your Kindle copy of Gifford Pinchot‘s “INTRAPRENEURING Why you don’t have to leave the corporation to become an entrepreneur” from Amazon for free on Oct 34 & 24th!

"Intrapreneuring" by Gifford Pinchot III.
“Intrapreneuring” by Gifford Pinchot III.

Webinar: IXL Innovation Excellence and Hult Olympics 2013

Webinar announcement
Webinar announcement Oct. 16, 2013

HULT Innovation Olympics Speaker Bios

Our previous sponsors will share lessons learned as well as real world experiences from their participation in the Innovation Olympics.
Please join us on Wednesday, October 16th at 4 p.m. EDT for a dialogue with a rare gathering of executives from Verizon, Iron Mountain, Boehringer Ingelheim and Natura. They will share their experiences in deploying student competitions, like the Hult Innovation Olympics, to jump-start innovation initiatives inside their organizations.

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Ronald Jonash, Professor, Hult International Business School and
Senior Partner, IXL Center for Innovation, Excellence and Leadership

Ron is currently a senior partner at the IXL Center. He is on the faculty of the Hult International Business School, a partner at a venture capital firm, and on the Advisory board of Arthur D. Little. He was a senior partner of the Monitor Group where he founded and led their Innovation practice and was founder of IMI (Innovation Management Inc.). For 20 years he was the managing director of the Technology and Innovation Management Practice for Arthur D. Little worldwide. He was also Chief Innovation Officer and served on their Technology Investment Board and Management Education Institute Board.
Ron’s specialties are the strategic management of innovation, technology and R&D to create and capture maximum value. With degrees in Economics and Engineering Systems from Princeton University where he also received his Master’s Degree in Architecture and Design, he has led numerous executive leadership and development programs at major companies and has been a visiting lecturer at Rice, Wharton and Columbia universities and the Hult International Business School.

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José Escobar,
Managing Principal, Global Strategy and Innovation Group at Verizon Business
While his original background is Mechanical Engineering, Jose’s experience in consulting, business development, project management, research, and financial analysis has served him well in his role as Managing Principal at Verizon Business. Jose has fluently combined the aforementioned talents to design the road-map and strategies required to identify and organically build out the next generation of innovative products and services. At the same time, he also builds out the business by investing, negotiating, and executing on multimillion dollar contracts and strategic external partnerships.
Among Jose´s biggest achievements is to be the Co-founder of the Hult Global Case Challenge (recently re-branded Hult Prize), a student competition with the aim of solving global problems through business. Today the Hult Global Case Challenge is one of the most prestigious case competitions in the world.

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Geoff Nesnow,
Former Director, Ideation and Market Strategy at Iron Mountain
Geoff Nesnow is a passionate evangelist, coach, inventor and transformation catalyst. His “outside-the-box” thinking, no-nonsense style and ability to ask the right questions have served as the catalyst for breakthrough innovation and disruptive technology initiatives, driving revenue and building platforms for future growth. Geoff Nesnow is best known as a “builder” − of products, processes, people, new ventures, and customer/client relationships.
At Iron Mountain, Geoff built an innovation platform and processes that lead to the identification of more than100 potential growth opportunities, built business plans and obtained funding for over 20 new ventures, of which 8 are currently in development or in the market, representing over $1B in defined opportunity, $40M in investment and more than $30M in fast-growing revenue.

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Stephan Klaschka,
Director of Global Innovation Management at Boehringer Ingelheim
Stephan Klaschka is an awarded innovation intrapreneur, entrepreneur and executive consultant with over 20 years of international work and management experience in Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas. Throughout his international career, he founded several businesses as an entrepreneur and worked as a consultant to academia, government and international pharmaceutical firms.
Stephan currently serves as a Director of Innovation Management at Boehringer Ingelheim, a privately held FORTUNE Global 500 company, where he built external academic and cross-disciplinary networks including a successful innovation lab and incubator. Under his leadership, the innovation project portfolio continuously returns a high multi-million ROI. He successfully scouts emerging technologies and develops disruptive value-adding services as well as new business models for Boehringer Ingelheim worldwide.

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Romulo Zamberlan,
US Innovation Center Manager at Natura
Romulo has dedicated several years of his career in the packaged-goods industries, having worked for top companies such as Avon, Unilever and for the last 7 years, working for Natura (the market leader in Brazil to the beauty sector and considered the 10th most innovative company in the world by Forbes – 2013).

While at Natura, he established an Innovation operation in the Boston Area and he is currently the Innovation Hub manager at this office. In this role, he leverages both his technical and managerial expertise, allowing him to amass and contribute new ideas and new perspectives to both Natura and his innovation management career.

Podcast on Innovation in Large Organizations, Intrapreneurs and Corporate Venturing

Podcast Announcement 2013-09-24futurethink spoke with Stephan Klaschka, Director of Global Innovation Management at Boehringer Ingelheim, who is responsible for encouraging disruptive innovation within the firm. He spoke about creating “intrapreneurs” in large organizations by instilling an entrepreneurial mindset into employees and ways to use partnerships to get to new ideas.

Click here to get to the podcast.

Stephan will be leading the session “Reassessing the Organizational Culture to Better Engage Corporate Venturing Prospects” at the upcoming Corporate Venturing in the Life Sciences Conference November 13-14, 2013 in Boston, MA

The Rise of the Intrapreneur

The Rise of the Intrapreneur
How to become an ‘Intrapreneur’?  Why are Intrapreneurs needed?  What is the difference to Entrepreneurship?  – The future of innovation within large organizations lies within, if you know how to tap into it with intrapreneurship!

What is Intrapreneurship?

Did you know that ‘Intrapreneur’ and ‘Intrapreneurship’ are not new terms but were coined nearly 35 years ago by Elizabeth and Gifford Pinchot in 1978?

As a definition for our purposes, an intrapreneur takes responsibility in large organizations for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation.  In contrast to an entrepreneur, the Intrapreneur operates within an existing organization with an internal focus.  Intrapreneurship requires an organization of considerable size for an intrapreneurial role to become applicable in the first place.

What is the difference to Entrepreneurship?

‘Intrapreneur’ is not as well known as the more established term ‘Entrepreneur’ which it derives from.  It even takes a deliberate effort to pronounce the word Intrapreneur so doesn’t sound like and get confused with Entrepreneur.

The word ‘Entrepreneur’ has been around since the 19th century with its functional roots reaching even farther back into the 16th century.  According to the original definition, an Entrepreneur is “one who undertakes an enterprise […] acting as intermediatory between capital and labour” or in other words, to “shift economic resources out of lower and into higher productivity and greater yield.”  (source: Wikipedia)

The role of an Entrepreneur is not so different from the Intrapreneur but many differences exist relating to the environment they operate in and the approach they take.  An Entrepreneur founds a new venture, a business, or company, as an independent economic entity.  This new entity then typically competes for profit in a market with other companies.  Today, Entrepreneurship has fanned out to include specializations such as lifestyle, serial, or social Entrepreneurship that also expanded in markets (in lieu of a better word) previously dominated by non-for-profit, clerical or government institutions.

As a bottom-line, Entrepreneurship roots in competition between companies or organizations by introducing and building a new entity that grows as a company to stand alone in an economic marketplace – while the Intrapreneur connects “capital and labour” using somewhat entrepreneurial methods within an existing organization.  You can even see Intrapreneurship as a downstream evolution for a successful and matured entrepreneurial venture.

Why do we need Intrapreneurs?

With increasing size, an organization slows.  Inertia and paralysis set in to replace agility and effectiveness.  This is often caused by the organization’s own success: The focus shifts towards delivering with increasing efficiency (cost, time) and consistency (quality).  You can easily observe the results in many organizations – it looks somewhat like this:

  • Business functions specialize and sub-optimization to become more efficient and productive; they thereby form ‘silos’ with communication and interactions thinning between them to the detriment of the organization as a whole.
  • Hierarchical structures become steeper to manage more employees; they effectively disconnect the executives on the top from the workers at the bottom of the hierarchy.
  • Promising innovation ideas from the grassroots don’t get through to the executive level for backing or funding to be developed and implemented; the ideas starve and innovation suffers overall.
  • More rules and procedures regulate the growing workforce and detailed aspects of work processes; governance, red tape, and bureaucracy pour over the organization like concrete and become obstacles to change.
  • Career paths become linear, job profiles and responsibilities narrow, entailing an equally narrow view and mindset of the staff that eats away motivation and creativity over time.
  • Talented and creative employees are the first to leave or become hard to retain, as they are always in demand and easily find interesting work elsewhere.
  • Innovation suffers while competitive pressure increases when nimble competitors and start-ups outpace the organization.
  • Management used to command-and-control eagerly seeks fresh talent and ideas externally, i.e. ‘hiring the best and brightest’, to reanimate the organization – yet the leaky pipeline continues bleeding talent, as also the new ‘super stars’ find themselves trapped and escape to new adventures elsewhere.

It takes a jolt to overcome this inertia, revive it, and get an organization moving nimble again ‑ this is the hour of the Intrapreneur!

Time for Action - Clock
Time for Action – Clock

How to become an Intrapreneur?

It takes a new role in the organization to jump-start it, so we “Innovate to Implement“.  Sometimes, a new CEO is hired to turn the corporate ship around from the top; sometimes it works.  The Intrapreneur, however, also considers working bottom-up by pulling the loose ends together and connecting people again across all functions and levels of hierarchy.  The Intrapreneur bridges the various gaps within the organization vertically and horizontally.

It takes a different approach to include, and engage all employees in ways outside their immediate job description that makes best use of all dimensions each individual brings to the (work) table.  The Intrapreneur inspires and spreads a new sense of enablement throughout the workforce.

The Intrapreneur looks differently at how we conduct our business and unlocks innovative value chains, new business models, or propositions.  It takes a strategic lead to become a facilitator for the organization, to adapt continuously and make best use of the changing environment.  The Intrapreneur builds networks and alliances to help actively moving the organization towards its business goals.

The Intrapreneur is a much-in-need and critical role within the matured organization.  It can come in different flavors too!  Being the ‘Executive Champion’, for example, is an intrapreneurial role (see “How to become the strategic innovation leader? (part 2 of 3).”

As an Intrapreneur it is important to be aware what hat to wear and when.  Sometimes an ‘architect’ is needed and an ‘orchestrator’ at other times, for example.  ‑ For more details see: “Innovation Strategy: Do you innovate or renovate?

Risks becoming an Intrapreneur

Now, as a word of warning, being an Intrapreneur is not always easy:  You tent to step on many people’s toes if you want to make a difference.  It can be so risky, that Gifford Pinchot even formulated The Intrapreneur’s Ten Commandments starting with: “Come to work each day willing to be fired.”

So brace yourself because there are many obstacles to innovation and change out there that the Intrapreneur will face.  Intrapreneurship is most and foremost a leadership role, which has a natural tendency to conflict with managers (see “Leadership vs Management?  What is wrong with middle management?”).

Prepare to hit the obstacles to an innovation environment that Irving Wladawsky-Berger in Business Week calls “indifference, hostility, and isolation” – I couldn’t agree more!

The bottom-line

It is not always easy to become an Intrapreneur.  It takes skill and persistence as well as courageous leadership and risk taking.  Truly making a difference and reviving an organization though is rewarding in itself – at least you will learn a lot and make new friends.  ‑ Most of all make sure you have fun!