Fostering Intrapreneurship: Think Like a VC, Act Like an Entrepreneur

By Jeffrey J. Bussgang from IDG Ventures Boston

All corporations have the challenge of trying to infuse an entrepreneurial spirit into their workforces. As the theory goes, when employees act like entrepreneurs, they put themselves in the mindset of business owners with a bias for action, which results in good decisions and good outcomes.

The practice, however, is more difficult than the theory. To get employees to act like entrepreneurs, companies have often taken a structural approach. For example, Google and Microsoft organize into small units of 50 to 100 employees to maintain a sense of entrepreneurial spirit and eliminate bureaucracy. The trade-off is that small groups can create silos across units, leading to duplication of efforts and a squelching of synergy. But if a company chooses to organize in large functional groups to achieve maximum efficiency and scale, it risks creating behemoth departments that crush the natural entrepreneurial spirit that exists within its employees.

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