It’s time for another recap of takeaways from the fascinating conversations happening at the Women’s Executive Breakfast events here in Ottawa. This month, there were a mixture of both familiar and new faces at the Rideau Club, and we were honoured to hear more about “intrapreneurship” from Co-Founder and CEO of Actua, Jennifer Flanagan. Her ideas around this new label, yet gold-standard concept for a growing organization, were relevant and valuable.
Actua is a national charitable organization that engages kids across Canada to get involved with science and reaches out specifically to those who would not otherwise be exposed to the possibilities of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) studies and career opportunities. She’s an impressive individual, and if you’d like to learn more, check out her bio.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE EVENT:
“An intrapreneur is someone who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into reality,” explained Jennifer to a rapt crowd at the WXN Breakfast Series on October 21. “They take the risk to innovate, even in the face of opposition or challenge. The results can be dramatic. Not every time, but often.”
When it comes to supporting the intrapreneur within your company, Jennifer lists three aspects you want to consider:
“Pivot fast,” she says. “You know what’s not working in your organization. Fix it or propose a fix. You’ll need data and you’ll need support.”
“Prepare to fail smart,” says Jennifer. “I know this is the toughest for all—it’s the toughest of all for me. But the first step is admitting failure. If you’re in a situation where that’s happening, try not to fall into that group-think mentality. Applying the learning from that failure will result in a strong product.”
“Embrace shared leadership,” she adds. “Find avenues and ways for leadership to come from any of your team members and see how those ideas can be considered legitimately. Intrapreneurship is not only something that can happen in corporations; it’s a spirit that Actua is nurturing within the next generation of young Canadians. That, I think, is essential for Canada’s future social and economic prosperity.”