Corporate Intrapreneurship: Steps to Building a Sustainable Startup Mentality Within an Established Organization

I wrote this thesis for the fulfillment of my Master of Science degree at MIT. Not to bore you with the details, I was interested in the methodology of sparking innovation within established firms. There are countless articles that rave about the “innovativeness” of startups and how established companies are in danger of extinction. However, we all know that some companies (e.g., Microsoft, Apple, 3M) have stood the test of time and I began to uncover the methodologies behind their success. I pieced together a lot of prior research and came up with a 3 part methodology of sparking innovation within large organizations that was also sustainable.

If you haven’t fallen asleep yet, the full abstract is below and you can click here to download my thesis.

Past research has solidified that breakthrough innovations are often prevalent in the context of entrants rather than incumbents. However, market leaders have been able to survive the disruption caused by market newcomers despite the irregularities of breakthrough innovations within incumbents. This paper will connect current research in corporate intrapreneurship from all perspectives including organizational behavior, corporate governance, incentive programs, and cultural relevance. Drawing from published literature and case studies this research will substantiate the following claim that the success of leading intrapreneurial organizations is due to their capability to support an ecosystem of innovative organizational choices in accordance with their goals and objectives. This paper will propose that there are three main steps to fostering a sustainable startup mentality within an organization. These phases include idea generation, supporting new corporate ventures, and creating a positive learning cycle. Within each phase, the firm has to pay special attention to important aspects of the organization including organizational culture, corporate structure, venture selection, team formation, venture programs, supportive infrastructure, sustainable venture development and positive learning cycles.

Also published on Medium.