The Year of the Intrapreneur: A Story of Organizational Growth

An intrapreneur can be defined as an employee who is given the freedom to create and launch new products, services, systems, etc. within the support system and resource pool of their current organization. 

Reflecting on the last 12 months at Peer Insight, I would sum up our year as The Year of the Intrapreneur. If you receive our newsletter, Happenings, then you are benefitting from one of the many experiments of PI2013. We created it just last April in an effort to invite others into our world. What were some other things that we created and refined in 2013?

In March, we hosted Washington DC's first-ever Service Jam, The Uncle Sam Service Jam. For three days, people from all over the city met in our office and used human-centered design process to tackle a social challenge. We held a webinar on business model prototyping and  in-market experimentation and continued to share our ideas with the creation of our blog, Musings. Peer Insight and members of our team made appearances in The Washington Post, Fast CompanyForbes, and Entrepreneur Magazine.

And we traveled around the country. We spoke at conferences and hung out with people (customers) all over America helping our clients to understand just what it was that their customers needed. We created services to help elders age in their homes, to lower hospital readmission rates, for home automation, and to tackle diabetes prevention. We taught Design Thinking U to debunk the myths around design thinking and help managers build innovation capabilities internally. Stakeholders from corporations, non-profits, universities, and government-funded associations all experienced what can happen when you empathize, visualize, iterate, and co-create. It was a very good feeling. 

  Two participants brainstorm ideas at a DTU (Design Thinking U) workshop, "Innovation for the Public Sector." 

Two participants brainstorm ideas at a DTU (Design Thinking U) workshop, "Innovation for the Public Sector." 

We found that people liked talking about ideas. People wanted to change the rules, break the rules. Being the diligent designers we are, we listened to our users and launched Innovation Watering Holes, in-person forums where companies convene and discuss how a innovation approach can help them tackle a growth problem. You can drop us a line if you'd like to host one.

Let the previous paragraphs serve as proof: when provided with the right environment (permission, passion, and protocols) the power of small teams is prodigious. 


As we enter January 2014, I look forward to the experiments we will run and, more immediately, the release of Tim Ogilvie's next book in the Designing For Growth Books series, "The Designing for Growth Field Book." Perhaps I'll see you at the book launch party?

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