How Government Employees Can be Intrapreneurs

Government Employees Can be Intrapreneurs

I recently watched (for the second time) a fabulous lecture which introduced a framework called the “Inventure Cycle” by Professor Tina Seelig. Tina is the Professor of the Practice at Stanford University School of Engineering, and Executive Director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program.

Her presentation offered practical tips to take your ideas from inspiration to implementation. If you aspire to be an intrapreneur, (an intrapreneur is an employee of an organization who follows entrepreneurship training to create a new product or service) this framework can help you and your peers not only brainstorm but also prototype and finally implement your idea.

A recent survey conducted by IdeaScale asked our customers, “How do you know if your IdeaScale campaign was a success?” The number one answer was the number of ideas implemented. The Inventure Cycle is a practical tool that can set you on the journey to implementation.

The Inventure Cycle Framework has four main concepts:

Imagination: Envision something that doesn’t exist
Creativity: Applying imagination to solve a problem
Innovation: Applying your creativity to come up with a UNIQUE solution
Entrepreneurship: Applying innovation to bring the ideas to life




Attitudes and actions associated with the Inventure Cycle:

According to Seelig, every organization could benefit from having various individuals in each one of these roles. However, to be successful in each role, she says that a set of attitudes and actions are required:

Imagination: requires the attitude of engagement and envisioning
Creativity: requires motivation and experimentation
Innovation: requires focus and reframing the problem or the question
Entrepreneurship: requires persistence and the ability to inspire others

IdeaScale offers intraprenurs the opportunity, via crowdsourcing, to brainstorm ideas, build teams around an idea, refine ideas, prioritize ideas and ultimately mark those ideas for implementation. Intrapreneurial thinkers are crucial to driving innovation within a company.

Two examples of government institutions that have benefited from crowdsourcing are the City of Atlanta and the Department of Labor. Results from the City of Atlanta’s campaign resulted in ideas that had a potential cost saving of $7.1 million annually. And the Department of Labor won the ePolicyworks team recognition from the Secretary of Labor while improving the efficiency of the policymaking process.

As an individual working on government initiatives, you and your team member can be intrapreneurs! I recommend setting up an IdeaScale community or an internal brainstorming workshop to envision the practical, but also the wildest, craziest out of this world solutions to a problem you are trying to solve.  Next, apply your creativity. See this infographic on How to Get Creative. Start experimenting, try things, break things. But be Innovate, come up with a unique solution to tackle the problem. Finally, practice intrapreneurial thinking to implement the solution.

Share your ideas here about how government agencies can be more innovative on this IdeaScale community.

This blog post is part of a series authored by IdeaScale employees. It showcases how they’re thinking about crowdsourcing and innovation as part of their daily routine. Feel free to ask questions or make comments.

This post is by Sonja Sulcer, Innovation Strategist at IdeaScale

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