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Corporate innovation 101: advice for intrapreneurs and innovation managers

Learn more about achieving success with corporate innovation.

Bruno Pešec
Bruno Pešec
25 min read
Corporate innovation 101: advice for intrapreneurs and innovation managers

What is the difference between doing and managing innovation?

What is intrapreneur's job?

How should you measure innovation?

How can an innovation manager make a difference?

Is corporate innovation career suicide?

Above were the topics I covered in the Corporate innovation 101: advice for intrapreneurs and innovation managers webinar.

You can find recording, timestamps, and transcript below.

License information is included at the end.

This webinar was a part Stay home, keep growing series of online events.

Webinar recording

Download link.

Webinar timestamps

Time Topic
02:19 Corporate innovation definition
04:38 The difference between doing and managing innovation
08:38 Intrapreneur's job
12:11 Bruno's advice to the intrapreneur
21:53 Innovation managers' job
25:15 Bruno's advice to the innovation manager
30:58 Measuring innovation
33:47 Corporate innovation as a career path
40:55 Q&A and closing

Webinar transcript

Hello. Welcome to this webinar. I’ll be your host for tonight and my name is Bruno Pešec.

Before we move on, I just want to go through some technical details. For those of you that are joining via Zoom, on the bottom you should find a Q&A box.  So, please leave questions and those of you that use the chat function, make sure that you change the option that you are talking to everybody and not just to the panellist and that increases the likelihood that the question is seen.

Now, this webinar is a part of a broader series of events, called Stay Home, Keep Growing, organised by Le Wagon, Founder Institute and Young Sustainable Impact. You can find all the events that have happened and that will happen on the

Now, the topic for today as you can see in  massive bold letters is about Corporate Innovation, but before we jump intothat I just want to give you a short introduction of myself so that you can see what are my biases and where are my comments coming from.

Now, as I said my name is Bruno Pešec and what I specialise in, in the last few years and what I keep specialising in, is helping large organisations innovate profitably. Now, before I came to that point, I am atrained industrial engineer and I used to design battle tanks, weapon systems, freight trains and what not and then I also worked in financial institutions, changing massive systems through organising, basically setting everything up and leading a lot of innovations to success and failure. That’s all included. So, kind of I had good luck and good fortune of working on some really, really challenging and really massive projects; both in terms of success and failures and I got to experience innovation and invention end to end; from conceptualising an idea to actually taking it to market and succeeding as well as failing.

Now, when you know what this kind of mind bias and where I am coming from, I want to go to some of the topics that we will cover today.

Before we jump into that, this whole word ‘Corporate Innovation’ needs to be clarified. So, I will give you what I mean when I use these two words. So, innovation to me, the best definition there is; something new that creates value.

Now, this something new is defined relative to both the creator of this innovation and the recipient of this innovation. It is not novelty by itself. In more practical terms, it might be something that exists in a certain market, but you are taking it and you never did it yourself and you are brining it to somebody who has never seen it. So, in that and in this definition, that would be considered innovation and that value that I mentioned; that value must be a two-way street. The value must be created both for the recipient of the innovation, usually the customer of some sort and the creator of the innovation and this corporate refers to the context in which it happens.

There are some specifics that apply only to innovating within large organisations. They are not really presentor seen with entrepreneurs or smaller organisations.

So, let’s dig into it. The four topics I will cover is the difference between doing and managing innovation. That’s one of the problems that doesn’t really happen at all in smaller organisations and in start-up’s and scale ups. We will come back to that.

Then two roles within large organisations when it comes to innovation; the intrapreneur or the innovator and the innovation manager. Some considerations for them to be more successful intheir day to day practice and finally one topic that I’m often asked is how to measure innovation.

That’s something that we could be talking for hours. So, here I will just give you some pointers of where to go and hunt further. There is a special topic that I will come back to at the end and that is a massive question. Is corporate innovation a career suicide?

Let’s start with the difference. So, the biggest difference in a nutshell is that doing innovation is focusing on creating customer value and managing innovation is focusing on creating organisational value. That’s it in a nutshell. Let’s go and see more detail.

What is the customer value? Well, there is usually an innovator, an entrepreneur or someone in an organisation that has this idea, sometimes it is brilliant and sometimes it is not. It doesn’t even matter, but usually that idea should lead to some sort of outcome that is related to the customer and here, I just put three generic ones.

So, value proposition for the customer. Increase customer happiness, satisfaction or any other measure for that and some financial result. Now, doing innovation is about transforming these ideas into those value propositions or products/services, taking them to market and then extracting something from them and at the same time, making one customer happier and here, when I say customer, I am talking about segments. Of course, it is very, very rare that is aligned like this. In most cases it is like this. Still, handling that uncertainty and finding sense in all that mess. That is what doing innovation is.

Now, in most cases of managing innovation, you have some sort of portfolio. So, managing innovation is basically a bunch of those smaller groups or individuals that have ideas and here, I just put one type of portfolio. A very generic one. We have here a horizontal axis, you have idea maturity and on the vertical axis you have type of innovation. So, here you can think of innovation ambitionmatrix.

One of the things that when I am constructing innovation portfolios is that you will see some of them have the time dimension. The problem, with time dimension is just because you have been doing something for long or something exists for a long time, it doesn’t mean anything for maturity. For example, you might have an idea that someone is keepingin a drawer for seven years. Now, is that a mature idea, if no one did anything with it for seven years? Most likely it isn’t. Spoiler, right?

So, that’s why I much prefer idea maturity models where basically you have certain questions and you expect certain evidence for every idea stage before you can declare how mature it is. Why am I talking about this? Well, because that is managing innovation. It is kind of matching the right idea at the right stage with the right resources with the right people and with the right level of investment. There’s a lot of things to include. Portfolios don’t just pop out of nowhere. So, there are innovation strategies, innovation accounting, connecting all of that and how to set up meetings, how to set up decisions, how to set up venture boards... So, you can see those two very, very different jobs.

What’s usually the case is or not usually the case because I haven’t actually seen a lot of those cases because these two roles kind of should be separate. To some extent, if you have a person who is in charge to manage innovation and at the same time is innovating, that person is in conflict basically, with itself because you cannot select what you are going to find if it is all yours? You just fund everything, then. It takes very special people with very, very strong mindsets and very self-critical ways of thinking to be able to actually regulate themselves.

Now, let’s take a look at an intrapreneur’s job a little bit in more detail. So, I said that an intrapreneur’s job is taking the idea, developing the idea, and basically taking it to the solution and taking it to the market in moist cases. Those are the ideas that are customer centric. Ideas that are internally oriented, for example, improvement systems, improvement of profit and improvement of cost margins and what not. The same; you need to develop those ideas and there is some uncertainty.

There is a question. Okay, are there some generic steps? Can we look at this intrapreneur’s journey with some generic lenses so that we can try to improve those steps? I believe so and these are the three steps that I usually talk about. They are not the only steps. They are not the only three steps for everything, but they are something that are overlooked and that is why I am drawing your attention to it.

So, the three generic steps in every idea, is at all times the intrapreneur that always needs to work in understanding of what is currently the weakest link in the idea? What is currently the risky assumption? The risky assumption refers to some part of your idea where if you are wrong, the whole idea falls apart. So, that is something that’s the intrapreneur’s job to always be aware of and to demonstrate he knows that and he knows how he can question that.

Here, knowing is not knowing that that assumption is true, but knowing that they don’t know about that assumption a lot and that they must learn more about it. Then the other thing is controlling this assumption and actually successfully turning it into testable and falsifiablehypothesis. That’s one of the very difficult jobs for intrapreneurs. Something that we are not naturally good at because first, some people will not even have in their language the difference between assumption and hypothesis and even in the English language if you go the dictionary.

You will find in some dictionaries that they are defined almost the same. Why differentiate? Because then we turn it into a two-step process that is much easier to comprehend and work with. So, basically assumption is just a broad statement. Hypothesis is restated with numbers. So, assumption might be people who want that. Hypothesis would be specific people will in specific situations do specific action. That is a hypothesis. You suddenly have put specific things with specific numbers and that’s something that you can experiment with. You cannot experiment with assumptions. You can only research them and you can only study them better.

The final step, which is not final, but the infinite loop, is keeping repeating allof that. So, these three steps are always happening. It does not matter how mature the idea is. That is innovator’s job, the intrapreneur’s job. So, always doing that. Always learning more. Always identifying the weaknesses and always improving on them. If in that process, that knowledge is also documented, then the intrapreneur is directly contributing to the bottom line of the organisation and is building up reusable knowledge. I’ll come back to this topic a little bit later.

So, with this on my mind, I have six specific points of advice specifically for intrapreneursto be more successful and first, remember that it’s about the customer.

So, your idea is about helping someone. This customer can be a real external customer, a real customer if you are working on a new IT system within the organisation that could improve processes and systems dramatically, but you must remember it is for them. It is very rare that we are so genius that what we have come up with is exactly how it needs to be and exactly how it will be successful so always keep reminding yourself that it is about the customer and they hold the keys that you need to understand what will actually work.

There is a great quote, “Customers validate. Innovators innovate” so yes, it is your job; the intrapreneur’s job to come up with new solutions, with products and services and value propositions, but it is up to customers to actually confirm that it’s a good idea. So, remember it is always the customer.

The next one is be humble. What I observed in large organisations is depending on the climate and organisational culture, innovation can be something what people wear like a badge, but they also use it as a stepping stone.

So suddenly, you get the better office or you move to that fancy place. Everybody is working in the two office buildings, but you, you work in the co-working space so really fancy and it is paid. You also get to meet all the cool people. You get to meet other start-ups. Sometimes you come back to the home office and then you talk about it. How you talk about it and how you present all that can backfire in large organisations.

So, you needto be aware of that. Being humble helps continuing working and gloating and taking everything for yourself selfishly can really backfire and I feel a bit silly that I need to reiterate that, but it is based on my observations and it is really insidious. It is really if you are not boasting openly and loudly, people can still misinterpret something.

So, it is better to be humble. Remind yourself kind of, “Okay, this is an opportunity I received. I am not better than others. I don’t know more than others. It is what I worked for and what I keep on working for.” That will not get you intotrouble and it will allow you to actually generate more buy in. It is rare that innovations have a lot of overhead support.

So, if you don’t have that air support from very strong figures in the organisation, why then draw the extra trouble?

The next one is don’t ask for the world and here, I am thinking about when you go to your manager or manager’s manager; boss’s boss and what not. How you can demonstrate that, actually know your idea and that you did your homework is if you can ask for specific things.

If you walk into the office and say, “Hey boss, I have this brilliant idea. We just need 30 million Euro’s to roll it out.” It’s kind of, “Okay cool, what is the idea?” If you actually share a thought and not an idea and it is something unfinished or it is something you can demonstrate it is kind of, “Okay this guy may be a good talk, but common just based on that you are asking for 30 million.” You immediately lose credibility.

When you are actually more aware of kind of, at what stage you are and what you need to learn, you know those assumptions and to test those hypotheses that I have spoken about, then you demonstrate that you actually know what you are doing, that you understand what the risks are of your idea that you want to propose or are proposing and you are much more likely to actually get then the investment that you need. If you go in and ask for the world, it won’t go very well unless you are working with someone who trusts you a lot and you have an extremely strong relationship and in that case, I hope that you are really right and that you will succeed with the investment.

Now, the next one is, don’t forget that in large organisations, it is damn large. Thereare shared services and they are usually happy to help because in half of the times, no one really asks them for help, but they try to force themselves upon the rest of the organisation because they have KPI’s to meet.

So, leveraging existing organisation can be quite beneficial. For entrepreneurs that are operating alone, this is basically relying on their social skills and networking skills. You can also check out the official route. It is usually within large organisations. There is some sort of a training portal, internal addressbook, internal manager’s book and so use that.

Don’t forget that. No one has that. That is your competitive advantage. Small start-ups don’t have the benefit of that. They cannot just call up experts They can try, but sometimes it does not work. Large organisations do have service functions that are usually happy to help. Just be careful because in some organisations there is internal billing, which I think is just bollocks, but for some organisations, I guess it works, but just be aware of that so there is no surprise bill.

Now, I touched a bit upon it and I will go deeper now.

As intrapreneursand innovators, you will be expected to contribute to the business success of the organisation. I think that this is perfectly fine. There is massive narrative on how the traditional financial metrics are not good enough for measuring innovation. That is just partially true because for mature ideas of course, you should measure financial metrics, but for immature ideas, no, you cannot because they don’t exist.

So, when you argue as intrapreneursfor your case, this is your shot. Creating reusable knowledge and what does that mean? Literally, the English words; you have assumptions and you have hypotheses and you will be spending money to learn more about customer needs and about your problem, about the channels that work, about the revenue streams that work, about pricing mechanisms that you can leverage and so you will be learning all of these things.

It is your job to document that and make it available to the rest of the organisation in a readable way. If you can do that, then you can directly argue that you are creating organisational value by ‘for’ the organisation. There, from that you can start leveraging and calculating and see, “Okay this is actually cost reduction.”

If you can actually demonstrate that what you have learned can be used by another team that’s in production or by a very successful product line. Hopefully you don’t run into any political problems, but if you can do that, you can actually directly demonstrate how your innovation created value without necessarily being in the market. So, this is your short-term currency. Be smart, leverage it all the time.

Long term, it is about increasing revenue potential. It is as simple as that and decreasingcost structure. Innovation usually leads to both. I am in strong preference of increasing revenue potential, but if you are going solely for that, because that is very difficult in bigorganisations, be careful.

Be aware of actually the numbers in your organisation because I have seen it happen and people spend a few years of their lives working really well, doing really good work, coming up with really impressive ideas and businesses and get traction, but because of the size of the revenue captured by their idea is not on the similar type of size or scale of size as the main organisation, it might still be rejected. 40 million Euroof revenue sounds very attractive, but if the main organisation is making billions, then you have a big mismatch.It might be more costly to take that into a new system and run it than to just pin it off or completely stop it. You must be aware of that.

Cost reduction is a bit easier and it is usually attractive to at least to theCFOoffice, but if you use that as the main driver, you might get into trouble in the long run when you try to implement some sexier features that are actually customer-facing because then you might get stone walled. “Okay, we founded it for cost reduction and so we don’t want these extra features you are talking about. They have nothing to do with cost reduction.” So, it will be difficult to argue.

Nonetheless, you have your short-term benefits and you have long-term benefits. You have to use both when leveraging the organisation when discussing with others when getting a buy in and working all the tie. That is the responsibility of the entrepreneur; to be aware of that. No one should sell your idea, except yourself.

Now, let’s move to the other side of the coin. The innovation manager.

I already spoke about the portfolio approach and that is at least when I talk about innovation management, I focus a lot on this approach. The reason for that is that innovation really is a numbers game and entrepreneurs also have limited time. What is part of innovation that entrepreneurship is falling in love with your product or solution and similar things. We are saying, don’t do that, don’t fall in love with the product. Fall in love with the customer, but it is hard to go against human nature. So, being aware of that and accepting that is better. You are not then fighting against yourself, but you are working with yourself.

The innovation manager is almost an impossible job where he/she is being pulled apart by innovators and the rest of the organisation. So, this management, this balancing of needs and needs of the innovators and needs of the organisation is really critical and portfolio approach; going back to that because it is a numbers game.

Basically, there are a lot of ideas and innovators work on it because ideas by themselves are useless. That is one of the misconceptions; that there can be a great idea. Ideas can be crap if there is someone to execute on it, it can still return something. An idea can be genius if there is no one that can execute on it or work with it, it is worthless. The same goes here. How can you match?

My experience is in large organisations, you will have more ideas than people.  That is normal and not such a massive surprise, but what is a challenge, a specific case that can be very costly in the organisations are ideas without people in a sense that someone submitted an idea and that idea was handed over to a third party whose job is maybe qualifying ideas or exploring ideas or I don’t know; showing them in the box and counting them up.

You have then a big disconnected. So, an innovation manager’s job is, how can I balance that? The best person to work on the idea is usually the person that suggested it. At least in the initial stages, otherwise it is too difficult to capture the whole side and all facets of an idea just in a single piece of paper, especially in the beginning.

People have a lot of things in their head and almost impossible to get them out. So, managing that innovation is something that gets… it doesn’t get easier. It gets more and more difficult. The innovation manager’s prime job is building different filters into the system, into this portfolio so that here she can ensure that the ideas that are worked on, are ideas that are already aligned with the organisation.

So, that way he/she prevents actually wasting time on ideas that o on will support and that is something that really hits large organisations because even a bunch of people that are spending a few weeks or even a few days on something that no one could realistically support, that is all wasted time and that is something that does cost, but doesn’t show up and that is something that really hurts on the inside. So, let’s go to some specific pieces of advice for the innovation manager.

The first one is that you cannot see the future.

So, all that I was talking about balancing, the numbers game etc. Yes, there are some things that can indicate that the idea is better or worse and here, what I at least focus on is the quality of writing, the quality of expression. How developed are these? Is there thinking behind the idea? I really care about the idea itself. I accept that I don’t know the future. I cannot know everything that develops. I cannot know every industry. I cannot know every market.

So, it is important to remember that as an innovation manager, you cannot see the future. Accept that and then focus on the things that you can control. You can control the quality of work. You can control how much you invest in the innovators and entrepreneurs. What are their skills? How to develop them further. You can invest into the systems that you are using. All of that, you control, but the future we don’t.

Then the next one and this one is inspired by Taiichi Ohno, one of the creators of the Toyota Production System. That is go hard on ideas, but be gentle with people. That is something that I try to take all the time and mention it because we really cannot pamper ideas.

We want to rip them apart. We want to throw them into garbage. I say if an idea is good, it will come back. Don’t be afraid. Large organisations are afraid of leaving a large cake on the table. They must eat everything. No, no, no you don’t need to eat everything. You just throw it away and if it is good, it will come back. Now, how can you do that?

Well, what I found works really well is turning ideas into something tangible and being very clear. So, I am not attacking you. I am attacking this. This is my idea. This is your idea and so this is what we are discussing; not you nor me. That is important. That way of thinking will really then help.

You must create an environment in which ideas can be discussed candidly and sometimes, you need to say, “This idea is bullshit” or, “I don’t understand this idea at all.” If that idea is tightly connected to a person and that person doesn’t understand the idea, but thinks they are going at him because their idea is part of me, then you just created trouble. So, you need to create the space, the framing that, “Hey, these ideas are now taken out and that is what is being discussed.” It doesn’t take long. It doesn’t take much energy, but it pays handsomely.

Now, the next one for the innovation manager is, don’t be a sadist.

Sadism is what I refer to when there are all these ideas within your organisation collecting ideas, submit your ideas and it usually goes for two days or a day; 48 hours. They collect 300 ideas and it’s like, “Thank you very much. Bye-bye.” On the opposite, you get everyone an idea. “This is it. There is massive support from the organisation. Go and innovate” and then they disappear. They build up motivation without providing tools and training. That is sadism. It is like throwing grown-up people who don’t know how to swim, into the sea. They will drown in most cases unless It is shallow so please, don’t be a sadist.

The next one is the opposite of sadism and that the innovation manager serves as the ultimate translator within the organisation.

So, the innovators and entrepreneurs are really patient enough for organisational and political issues. The opposite goes the same way. It is kind of the rest of the organisation is not often very patient with the people that they have caused innovation to happen. So, that is the role of an innovation manager.; to make sure that he is still translating between these two groups and another thing is that he is translating the organisational goals.

The strategy that might not be clear, the targets that may not be obvious or even openly accessible because innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Corporate innovation must be aligned for corporate targets. Anything else is a folly. So, the job of the innovation manager is to gently and repeatedly remind his/her innovators what the company targets, company goals and company strategies are.

A final piece of advice is being a matchmaker.

I have spoken about that in the portfolio approach. Matching ideas with innovators. Something is easy, but it doesn’t seem important, but it is critical. What I found works best is you submit and idea and you can work on it, at least the early stages of exploration, pre-problem-solution fitand what not. When it comes to scaling or when it comes to actually building something for market, then we can have a different discussion, but for early stages, the person proposing the idea is usually a good fit.

What I observed with the organisations that have teamsthat are specialised in innovation and then they are taking the ideas from the organisation and are working with them, a fascinating thing happens. They might find things out that are even good and then come back to the organisation that proposed it, it might be rejected even though they have all the evidence, because it hasn’t been done by that part of the organisation. It is human nature.

Now, on the topic of measuring innovation, as I said, I can easilygo more on that. It is still an unfinished topic. There is still no best practice. There are still no proven measurements, but I will give you some leads that you can use.

Basically, innovation should be measured on three different levels. So, the product metrics are best for actually innovators and entrepreneurs for their own idea. Product metrics here are the best from the Dave McClure; the pirate metrics: acquisition, activation, retention, revenue and referrals.

So, it is kind of these five, but still the best and the simplest ones. They are both for internal projects, external projects etc. If you couple it with the theory of constraints and then you have the customer factory from Ash Maurya. Perfect model. No overkill. It works almost every time.

I have seen very, very few projects that cannot be measured in that way. Now, as a translation between the innovator and innovation manager, it is actually the process metrics that matter the most.

When I say process metrics this is primarily the speed of learning. So, kind of, “Okay what is the knowledge to assumptionratio?” How many experiments are we doing? What are the outcomes of these experiments? How are we basically…the speed of progress?

That is something that usually isn’t necessarily that valuable to the team itself, but it is valuable in a sense to demonstrate to the rest of the organisation, how are they creating that and remember what I said, creating reusable knowledge would happen under process metrics because product metrics measure the success of your idea, but measuring actually your learning or amount or reusable knowledge, how fast we are learning it is something immediately usable by the rest of the organisation and that is something that the innovation manager can use to argue further for the idea or against it.

Portfolio metrics are around the structure of the portfolio. What are the actual maturity stages that we have? Where are our investments? How many things are progressing between the maturity levels? How much are we staking let’s say into core innovation? How much are we staking in disruptive innovation? Are protecting ourselves? Is it live or overall strategy? It is aligned with where we want to go and so on?

So, it is these three fields that are relevant for measuring innovation. For further discussions on that you can just hit me up later. I am very happy to share and discuss it. It is a very fascinating field. Innovation accounting is I think just coming up in the next two years. We will see. Exciting.

The final question and then I will look at the Q&A box and have a short discussion, hopefully with you guys.

So, is corporate innovation career suicide? The million-dollar question.

There is a narrative. Pirates, rebels, corporate renegades. Now, in most cases people with such roles didn’t end up very fabulously unless they were plundering for the crown. So, the big question is, do you really want to be that?

My take on it is, no. Some people enjoy being in a similar role, but I have rarely seen it work out long term. The question is, how can you move beyond that and how can you actually smartly live within an organisation?

What I have seen unfortunately for some as well, is people that use innovation to progress as a career ladder, but don’t really care about innovation as we define it as something new that creates value, but actually use it as career progression tools. So, that creates a lot of buzz, doing a lot of innovation, but you don’t have anything tangible.

Then they get promoted usually into another role which has nothing to do with innovation, leaving the team behind with basically nothing; in shambles and money spent without a clear way forward. Then the team get sacked or unceremoniously moved throughout the organisation and let’s say everybody has a really nice life after it. Not really.

So, what I think is much better is being smart, accepting that large organisations do have political aspects within them and then educate yourself on how can you actually actively leverage that. That will be my last three pieces of advice and then as I said, I will take a look at the questions.

The first one is understanding how decisions are made within the organisation.

This sounds so trivial, but it is so important. It is basically when you have all these big consultancies and they do a lot of pre-meetings before there is actually a real meeting where something is decided. So, they are trying to frame everyone so that the final meeting is more of a theatre, basically where people just nod, yes. So, understanding how are the decisions made is extremely valuable.

That means what’s measured, who is making the decisions, when are decisions being made; everything that leads to that process, who is involved, what is at stake? As an innovation manager or intrapreneur, when you ask for funding, if you don’t know where the funding is coming from, you are at a disadvantage and spending time to understand how it actually gets funded within the organisation is insanely valuable because then you can understand exactly who they are satisfying and then you are not always relational beings.

Ideas are not judged fairly unless people have them trained to kind of understand who are the actual persons involved and then you can leverage that. That might sound manipulative, but it is not. It is just intelligence. Finding out what is happening. You don’t need to be malicious. You just need to be informed.

This ties into the second level that you can leverage is, who controls the agenda?

Just because you understand who makes the decisions, it doesn’t mean that the same people control the agenda. So, actually, how can you make your case if you cannot even get into the right decision arena? So, that is another thing that you need to investigate and become aware of.

Okay, who adds the agenda? Can we avoid it? Can we leverage that. Again, being smart, a lot of intelligence finding out how things are made and how are the agenda points made? Can it be on top? Is it better to be in the middle? Is it better to be on the bottom? How is the agenda controlled? How is it determined? How are the points added? How are they measured?

I have seen different ways to set this up. So, for example, if you don’t know that the board is making the decisions on a 20-minute basis; 15 minutes in total and then 5 minutes break and in those 15 minutes you are expected to present for 3 minutes and then have a ten-minute discussion with a 2-minute decision time. If you don’t know that and you walk in expecting that you have a full 20 minutes to state your case, you are at a very big disadvantage and this may seem as totally obvious, but I have seen so many innovators sabotage themselves by not being aware of these things.

You could say yes, it is maybe the fault of the personal assistant not informing the people coming to the meeting. It was the structure, but do you want that as an excuse for your idea, that someone hasn’t informed you how it will actually be done? Sometimes you have one chance and so it is better to use it best.

The final leverage and the most difficult leverage. The most vicious leverage is finding out who controls meaning of words within the organisation.

That is in most cases a corporate function; a shared function. Usually something related to HR or something related to corporate communications. You might also have specialised functions. So, hopefully if it’s about innovation, someone who has specific responsibility for innovation will be able to define what it is.

Why I say that it is pretty vicious is because it is quite difficult for individuals to influence that. You can attempt to start a grass roots movement, but a horrible risk that you are running if your movementbecomes successful, is the organisation appropriating that and changing the meaning. That is quite soul crushing. I think the saying goes, find out who you cannot question and you will find out who rules over you.

I don’t want to end this on a depressive note, but understanding this is valuable in itself as well because then you can poke.

It is not always ill intent. It is not always control mechanisms that are to destroy and crush people. Sometimes meaning comes up by accident and you collectively shape it into something different. So, giving a new meaning to the word innovation so it is not meaningless and left upon in the organisation.

So, that is a positive way to leverage that and go on the journey together.

Now, as I said, I covered these 4 questions and I went into an extra one. I will now check your questions...

Perfect. So, it seems I have been extremely clear and there are no additional questions.

So, due to the format, if you would like to get the presentation or any additional materials, you can hit me up on

This recording will be available on  You can also go there to see previous events and upcoming events. Thank you very much for joining. I hope you learned something new.

I wish you a very successful career in innovation an have a great day. Take care.


Webinar recording

Corporate innovation 101: advice for intrapreneurs and innovation managers (webinar recording) by Bruno Pešec is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at

Webinar transcript

Corporate innovation 101: advice for intrapreneurs and innovation managers (webinar transcript) by Bruno Pešec is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at

Bruno Pešec helps business leaders dramatically increase returns on their investments in innovation.

Bruno Pešec

I help business leaders innovate profitably at scale.


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