Evaluation of Intrapreneurship in Business Innovation – an analysis between Scale-ups and Big Corporations 2/2

Evaluation of Intrapreneurship in Business Innovation – an analysis between Scale-ups and Big Corporations 2/2

Welcome to our series of articles about current theses of our students!

The Alumna Nieki Hashemi has written an outstanding master thesis on “Evaluation of Intrapreneurship in Business Innovation – an analysis between Scale-ups and Big Corporations” as part of her Digital Management studies at the Hochschule Fresenius in Cologne. The summary is presented below. Read the second part now! You can find the first part here.


Intrapreneurship has already proven successful

The fact that large corporations such as 3M, Deutsche Bahn or TRUMPF, all operating in different industries, have integrated entrepreneurship into their corporate strategies shows that intrapreneurship is not just a trend, but has already proven to be successful in business innovation. This is not only relevant for large companies, but also for scale-ups (start-ups in the phase of rapid growth) such as SumUp.

Large companies have it harder than scale-ups

The main difference between intrapreneurship in scale-ups compared to large companies is that large companies find it more difficult to manifest entrepreneurial thinking and action throughout the entire company. Due to their organizational structure, traditional management and leadership thinking, such change processes take longer and are associated with complications such as resistance and fears.

The implementation of intrapreneurship is individual

It should be noted that there is no patent solution for intrapreneurship. 3M and Google, for example, spend a certain percentage of their time on projects they care about. Deutsche Bahn, DHL or TRUMPF organize intrapreneurship batches in which a winner is selected after several months of operation. The Scale-Up SumUp creates an open framework in which every employee can submit ideas, collect investments and develop products that ultimately contribute to the company’s overall earnings.

Recommended actions for successful intrapreneurship

  1. Creating the organizational foundation: Without a strong foundation, change processes
    prone to failure.
  1. Cultivate an innovative culture: An open culture is one of the most important factors in
    innovative environments. All must be considered equal.
  1. Empower executives and managers, but also your employees: The executives
    must actively approach their employees in small groups and create a space for open communication. You have to motivate them and take away their concerns.
  1. Preserve the entrepreneurial spirit: Once intrapreneurship is integrated, it is important to
    To maintain and continuously promote entrepreneurial spirit.
  1. Do not come to a standstill: never stop developing innovations.


It is imperative that large companies change their attitude and actions

With regard to intrapreneurship within a large company or start-up, the general opinion is that start-ups perform better. There is no doubt that established companies have all the resources that a start-up would like to use to turn its ideas into reality. However, the corporate culture is rather rigid, traditional and not particularly innovative. Large companies will not be displaced immediately, but they will have to change their attitudes and actions drastically to keep up with the innovative mindset of start-ups.

More collaboration in the future

In the future, start-ups could increasingly work with large companies. In order to avoid selfishness and dissatisfaction during a collaboration, both parties should leave each other enough room, but still help each other and always pursue the common goal. Another possibility is a long-term, regular exchange between large companies and start-ups / scale-ups. Experiences can be exchanged continuously and the companies can learn from each other.


Summarized and edited by Louisa Roszinski