Paul Buchheit had toyed with the idea of creating an email software long before he joined Google. He was its 23rd employee, working on Google Groups. He used part of the code from Google Groups to create the first version of Gmail, which he tested on his own email before sending it to some colleagues to try out. While there was some initial resistance to the idea, the company’s structure allowed interested staff members to start working on it. It was launched to the public in 2004. Now, it’s the most widely used email platform in the world.
Paul’s story is a definitive example of ‘intrapreneurship’; the concept of bringing an entrepreneurial spirit into all elements of a business. In an intrapreneurial organisation, individuals or teams will take charge of developing and implementing a new innovation, be it a product, service or operational improvement.
Be more intrapreneurial
It requires a culture that enables ideas and concepts to surface, says Rita Trehan, a former HR director turned author and transformation consultant, who works with global giants such as Coca-Cola and World Bank. She argues that intrapreneurship has never been more important as organisations try to figure out their future post-Covid.
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