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To move beyond innovation theater, intrapreneurs have to become keenly interested in creating value for the companies they work for. …

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When it comes to innovation, the one commonality that unites people who work in large companies is a sense of doubt. Can this really be done in our company? Getting people to step over the breach and try to innovate is often met with a sense of trepidation. I often get the feeling that people are waiting for somebody else to try first before they join in.

Although many people find very little to disagree with when it comes to the concepts of innovation, their main concern is how to get it done within their company and whether they have the right people to do it with. They are right to be concerned. Not only have they seen many innovation projects flame-out inside the organization, they have also seen many so-called innovators do a lot of workshops and sticky note stuff but produce no tangible results. …

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When it comes to innovation success, I find it difficult to stop for a moment and smell the roses. When I meet corporate innovation teams that have succeeded in launching one or two products in the market, I become fearful that they are about to get distracted by their success. The question that is constantly spinning in my head is whether they could repeat that success within the same organization on a new project.

Corporate innovation is hard to do. Success often comes through navigating political landmines and corporate bureaucracy. So when teams finally succeed, they deserve to be congratulated and celebrated. But in that success lies a trap and some often ignored questions. Are the one-off successes that these innovation teams are having making a contribution to changing their company culture? …


Tendayi Viki

Associate Partner at Strategyzer. Author of The Corporate Startup and The Lean Product Lifecycle. Thinkers50 Innovation Award Nominee 2017 - Radar Thinker 2018.

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