Transforming organisations from within: Interview with an Intrapreneur

Many would view the term ‘corporate entrepreneur’ as paradoxical. But Janett Egber thinks differently. As head of the Melbourne Chapter of the ‘Global League of Intrapreneurs’, Janett leads a community of change-makers and innovation-leaders working to transform businesses from the inside out.

Deloitte will have the pleasure of hosting Janett for upcoming Innovating with Impact sessions – a forum for inspiring stories and cutting-edge perspectives from leading innovators. She’ll share the stories and experiences of real-life corporate ‘intrapreneur’ – who have successfully navigated complexity to make a meaningful impact – and will explain how each of us can be a force for transformation by learning from the wisdom of others.

In advance of this session, we interviewed Janett to find out more…

Anna Lindberg: How did you start your ‘intrapreneurship journey’?

Janett Egber: For about 10 years I worked for two of the major four banks here in Australia (ANZ and then NAB). Both very large and complex organisations that are facing significant challenges and are also going through a significant transformation.

I was always interested in pushing the boundaries, in challenging the status quo, in innovation, and most of all – in finding ways to shift the dial, even if just slightly. I’ve always tried to make a positive impact through my work.

It wasn’t easy… and it took me years to realise I was an intrapreneur at heart! It was also a relatively lonely journey.. until I found out about the League of Intrapreneurs.

AL: Could you tell me more about the League of Intrapreneurs?

JE: In a nutshell, the League of Intrapreneurs (LOI) is a learning community of people that are transforming businesses from within – very much like you, Anna at Deloitte!

We hear a lot of amazing stories of social entrepreneurship, impact-driven people starting and growing amazing businesses… But what about those ‘unsung heroes driving change from within’ and with the potential to make a significant impact through their work?

Those are the intrapreneurs and the LOI is a not-for-profit P that helps find, connect and support them!

AL: What problem do you think ‘intrapreneurship’ solves today?

JE: I think is threefold:

First and foremost.. the world today is facing real ‘wicked problems’ that have to be solved in close collaboration across sectors. It is really time for the business community to step up and play a critical role in solving these massive societal and environmental global problems. What’s even better is that these problems represent huge commercial opportunities as well!

Secondly, businesses today are facing challenges like never before and are in dire need of innovation – to transform and adapt to the changing landscape; and

Thirdly, the next generation of employees demands much more from their employers. To them, it’s imperative that businesses demonstrate the impact they are making, the issues they are helping solve and more and more often we hear that top talent will not settle to work for organisations that won’t step up to meet this need.

AL: So, how do businesses need to evolve to remain relevant in the eyes of millennials?

JE: I believe that this extends beyond millennials – people of all ages are demanding more from employers. They are looking for purpose, for a tangible demonstration of impact and for the opportunity to work on big, meaningful problems that they believe are important to solve – rather than just another commercial opportunity.

I think businesses are starting to evolve for a number of reasons, but critically, businesses must work to remain relevant, adapt to change and identify growth opportunities through their own people – and that is precisely what Intrapreneurship delivers!

To be an intrapreneur, you first need to understand your context, your culture, your industry and then be able to find opportunities to solve more meaningful problems and make a real impact through your work. One that’s aligned with your business’s strategy.

All this is easier said than done, but that’s what intrapreneurship is all about – challenge, collaboration, dedication and purpose!

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