Intrapreneurs and Enterprise 2.0 adoption



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While reading Guy Kawasaki’s compelling book: Art of the Start, I can’t help but think that adoption of any new paradigm (Enterprise 2.0 for instance) would be far less problematic if piloted by intrapreneurs.


What’s an intrapreneur?

“Intrapreneurship is the act of behaving like an entrepreneur, except within a larger organization.

Intrapreneurship refers to employee initiatives in organizations to undertake something new, without being asked to do so”

– Wikipedia


Intrapreneurship for better enterprise 2.0 adoption?

Gawasaki made a list of recommendations for employees to become internal entrepreneurs, here are the ones I found most relevant to Enterprise 2.0 adoption:

Put the company first: every enterprise 2.0 evangelist knows that getting a large number of employees support depends on his motives. “They will support you if you’re doing it for the company, but not if it’s for your personal gain”.  Enterprise 2.0 adoption lies basically on a bottom up approach, so such support is essential.

Stay under the radar: mainly off top management’s radar, at least at the very beginning.  “You want to be left alone until either your project is too far along to ignore or the rest of the company realizes that it’s needed”. So you can mainly decrease the resistance to change, especially from people with the power to block your project.

Find a Godfather: godfathers are figures that “are relatively untouchable, and usually have the attention and respect of top management”. Getting the support of a Godfather can ensure you advice, insight and sometimes protection.

Give hope to the hopeful: launching an enterprise 2.0 project is about getting beyond deployment into adoption and participation. It’s about changing the culture. And that would only get much easier if you reach out to the “idealist” within every employee. “Your goal is to advance these people from wanting to see innovation happen to helping you make it happen”.

Build on what exists: You may be surprised to find how many teams are already using Enterprise 2.0 tools; maybe they just don’t know it yet. Building on existent infrastructures (human or technical) will “not only garner resources, but also make friends as other employees begin to feel as if they’re part of your team”.

Let the vice presidents come to you: Staying under the radar will have to ensue into an intentional yet, accidental discovery of your project by a vice president (or anyone in Top management with enough power to back- up the initiative). You need to ensure he “makes the discovery when the time is right, but this is not the same as seeking permission to get started”

Reboot your brain: E20 practionners can’t say this enough: It’s not about technology. It’s about culture. So in order to be an intrapreneur and launch an Enterprise 2.0 initiative you need to begin by rebooting your brain. “The reality is that starting something within an existing company requires adopting new patterns of behavior”. Try finding a niche and dominate it rather than positioning as “All things to all people”.  Instead of recruiting the big shots in the company, you need to suck in the people who “get it”. Think just like a start-up but never forget the context of your organization.


Although Enterprise 2.0 is considered to be “the next big thing”, it is still in its early days. Don’t be surprised, as you’re working on your initiative, to realize that it’s too soon, or that it would rather necessitates a top-down approach to reach adoption. It’s okay to give up than pursue a doomed venture. At least you know that a more pressing initiative needs to be undertaken: “readying the mindsets”.

Lamia Ben