Corporate Entrepreneurship or INTRAPRENEURSHIP SUCCESS: The 3M Post-it Notes story overview
The Intrapreneur must learn to get around the roadblocks of corporate structure and a stodgy manager, or the traditional corporate bureaucracy. A successful corporate entrepreneur or Intrapreneur must first convince middle management to allow them to share with senior management their idea or concept. Then the hopeful Intrapreneur convince senior management their new and unique, "out of the box" product, service, or idea has real merit, a viable market, and would be both profitable and synergistic to the corporate mission. Intrapreneurship has successfully been utilized by corporations, partnerships and non-profit firms in the US, Europe, Asia and Africa.
An intrapreneur, or corporate entrepreneur, who is really being an entrepreneur who has less risk in a new venture outside the corporation, on their own without a "safety net." The Intrapreneur also has much less control of when, or even whether, the product will be launched. Being an intrapreneur takes a unique set of skills beyond creativity, including being willing to take some risks at sharing and pushing an unique idea, having the perseverance to wait for senior management's approval to create and launch the product or service, and the drive to see it through to fruition, no matter what.
The terms and basic concepts of intrapreneur or intrapreneurship have existed and been effective utilized in corporations for decades before incme into the mainstream media in the 1980's. Back in 1981, Dr. Haller wrote and successfully defended his Master's Thesis on the Intrapreneurship Success of PR1ME Computer Inc, with the Intrapreneurial PR1ME Leasing venture.
Steve Jobs, Apple's Chairman then and now, used the word "intrapreneurship" in a 1985 article in Newsweek about Apple's use of intrapreneurship to effectively have the Apple "MAC™ " team, "go back to the garage."
There are a several well-known examples of major public companies that specifically fostering and encouraged intrapreneurial explorations on company time through formal corporate intrapreneurship programs. The following story share the insight on how effectively use intrapreneurship to foster or nurture an innovation created through intrapreneurship, some time ignoring or neglecting intrapreneurial new product innovation in huge public companies.
In some cases, like the 3M example in this article, it took more than one person and in fact a dedicated team to successfully launch the new products. Intrapreneurs, like their entrepreneurial counterparts, need to envision and create the idea. But instead of convincing outside investors and risking their own personal capital, the intrapreneur needs to find the right team with in his company and get to an convince some mover and shaker in senior management to buying and invest the companies time, money and resources. Just like the entrepreneur, the intrapreneur must constantly stay focus, fully committed to the product and willing the keep pushing, even if it takes years to accomplish.
3M Corporation Post-it Notes ™
The usually staid, 3M Corporation, through it’s intrapreneurial “Bootlegging Policy” was able to capitalize on the creative ideas of 3M Intrapreneurs Spencer Silver and Art Fry to create and launch the 3M Post-it Note ™ product. 3M’s intrapreneurial “Bootlegging Policy,” which specifically allows employees to spend up to 15 percent of their time at work developing their own creative ideas under this unique program.
3M scientist Spencer Silver invented this not so sticky, repositionable adhesive in 1968, but took him several years to come up with how best to use it and market the product. Spencer shared his idea through seminars in which he shared with co-workers the features and benefit his semi-adhesive to 3M employees.
But no one really caught the vision of his product for five long years. Finally, a co-worker, Art Frey, recognized the need for Spencer’s idea to solve his problem that his bookmarks were regularly just falling out of his hymn book right during choir practice and performances. 3M still did not do anything with Spencer’s idea for over a decade. Post-its, the moveable semi-sticky notes product was launched across the US finally in 1980, and then throughout the world.
the 3M Post-It Note sell over $100 million a year in sales and it part of narly every office and most homes.
Dr. Howard E. Haller, Leading Expert & Thought Leader
on Intrapreneurship & Intrapreneurship Keynote Speaker
Chief Enlightenment Officer
Dr. Howard E. Haller is Founder/CEO of the Intrapreneurship Institute. As a member of NSA, he regular speaks to Corporations, Associations, and Non-Profit Organizations on how to effectively use the innovation and creativity of Intrapreneurship (Corporate Entrepreneurship) within their Organizations. Intrapreneurship has successfully been utilized by corporations, partnerships and non-profit firms in the US, Europe, Asia and Africa.
The Intrapreneurship Institute can help evaluate, design, and implement an Intrapreneurship Program within a company to effectively utilize the intellect and creativity of human capital of an organization to help maximize productivity and profits. The Intrapreneurship Institute can provide Keynote Speeches, Executive Briefings, and Workshops on Intrapreneurship plus the benefits and program features of an intrapreneurial program.
Howard E. Haller, Ph.D., is the Leading Expert and Thought Leader on Intrapreneurship, Intrapreneurship Program Design and Creation, Intrapreneurship Program Implementation & Operation, Using Intrapreneurship programs as a strategic tool for Recruiting and Retaining Key Employees, Increasing Innovation, and Entrepreneurship.
Dr. Haller is seasoned senior corporate executive, and published author of two books: "INTRAPRENEURSHIP SUCCESS: A PR1ME EXAMPLE" published by VDM Verlag Dr. Müller AG & CoKG ISBN 978-3-639-17509-7, and is available on Amazon in the US, Canada, UK and Germany. “Intrapreneurship Success” tells the inside full story of how a small OTC listed company grew to be the #1 performing stock on the NYSE in only five years. Dr. Haller is also the author of “Leadership and Adversity: The Shaping of Prominent Leaders.”
Contact Dr. Haller for inspirational Keynote Speeches, Motivational Speeches, Seminars on Intrapreneurship, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Leadership, and Servant-Leadership.
Dr. Howard E. Haller- Leading Expert on Intrapreneurship, Keynote Intrapreneurship Speaker/Trainer, Book Author "Intrapreneurship Success: A PR1ME Example" University Professor & Trustee, and seasoned Sr. Corporate Executive