Enabling dispersed corporate entrepreneurship through a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) toolkit.
Historically, management involved planning, organizing, controlling and incentivizing, to essentially reduce anxiety while proceeding towards a chosen future. However, in an increasingly uncertain and complex business environment, the ability to remain in control is extremely difficult. Therefore, management needs to be responsive while making strategic decisions, i.e. it needs to embrace exploration and experimentation. Moreover, economic risk is shifting from societal and corporate responsibility towards individuals. This is creating an environment for corporate entrepreneurship, where the role of management is to create an environment where ‘constant learning’ helps employees deal with business uncertainty.
This shift has been observed by many Finnish corporates, and Elisa Oyj. is no exception. In order to face these palpable business challenges, Elisa has created a toolkit named Idea box. Idea box helps Elisa’s employees use their tacit knowledge and market understanding to validate new digital service businesses through exploration and rigorous experimentation. It is accompanied by a governance model that helps management tackle such bottom-up innovation efforts. This style of entrepreneurship is based on
the belief that good business ideas can come from anywhere in the organisation, hence the use of the word ‘dispersed’.
Idea box and its governance model have been created by analysing rich primary and secondary data gathered from companies, academicians and practitioners in Finland and abroad. The rationale for developing Idea box and its governance model is in congruence with the academic literature on corporate entrepreneurship, its management and also with service dominant logic
and new service development process. An important practical finding from the design process is that while the toolkit’s contents can be created by combining the best practices from different innovation approaches, the governance model is dependent on the internal environment of an organisation. Therefore, companies and public organisations aiming to create a culture of
entrepreneurship can do so themselves, by contextually emulating the process followed for designing the Idea box and its governance model. The design process eliminates the need for involving external consultants, even though they might be needed during implementation.
Idea box also utilises the combination of human-centred design and lean startup approaches to create easy-to-use contents for the toolkit. Human-centred design helps employees identify customer needs, while lean startup helps employees build a business case for the solution that would solve the customer need. Both the approaches embrace exploration and experimentation,
making them appropriate for usage in the context of corporate entrepreneurship. Lastly, combining the DIY toolkit and its governance model has resulted in better buy-in amongst top management, resulting it Idea box being piloted in one business unit in Elisa.
MBA degree in Service Innovation and Design
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