REPOST: Story by Annalise Pennisi for Real World Futures
Organisations are changing the way they work in order to harness their employees’ big ideas and stay competitive in today’s global marketplace.
Dr Henri Burgers, a Senior Lecturer in Business and Management at QUT, said the trend of corporate entrepreneurship was about adapting business structures to support new ideas from employees.
“In terms of disruption, I think organisations increasingly realise that if they want to be able to deal with that kind of disruptive innovations and those kind of big changes … they need to be able to tap into the entrepreneurial spirit of their employees,” he said.
The role of corporate entrepreneurship will be the subject of a Real World Conversation at QUT on May 18. The conversation, Making Ideas Bloom will feature speakers from industry and QUT’s Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research.
Dr Burger said studies showed that at any given time, about 6% of the adult population, most of whom are in working environments, are starting a business.
“If you apply that to an organisation … say it has a hundred thousand employees – that means that at any given time, about six thousand of those employees are working on a new business idea or an entrepreneurial idea,” he said.
Research carried out around the world showed that about two-thirds of people started a business highly related to their current organisation.
“There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that they often want to contribute this to their organisation but somehow they found roadblocks,” he said.
“(It might be) A manager that says, ‘No, focus on your current work. No time for fiddling around with new ideas’.”
Firms are increasingly contracting employees for short-term projects as a way of engaging and enhancing corporate entrepreneurship.
“Even if it’s not about starting your own business, it’s about managing your career in an entrepreneurial way that you’ll be able to self manage these kinds of projects and new ideas.”
Dr Burgers said organisations tended to invest large amounts into few ideas and were generally good at predicting the outcomes of these investments.
The challenge with more disruptive or radical innovations is that they are much more unpredictable.
“We don’t know now what’s going to come out and if you apply that same approach, you’re very often wrong.”
“The challenge for orgnisations is to find ways to almost play that numbers game better.”
He suggests Lean Startups as a way of experimenting with many different ideas at low costs and the ones that succeed, the firms can take to the next level.
“If there’s all these would be entrepreneurs in your organisation, you can tap into those and some of those will be very good ideas.”
Hear more at the next Real World Futures event – How To Make Ideas Bloom Breakfast on Wednesday 18 May 2016. Learn more about the event and register here.
QUT ACE – Creating A More Entrepreneurial Organisation In Three Steps – watch the video