Time and focus are at a premium when you’re pushing to build and launch a new software product in less than two working days. But, I was lucky enough to grab a few moments with the ringleader of an ambitious entrepreneurial circus.
Eric Tobias founded the Midwest-based software company iGo Digital, a product recommendation platform that powers online personalization for clients like Best Buy, Staples, and Amazon. He’s an innovator with a track record of launching and growing other successful web-enabled businesses like Technuity and Batteries.com. His creativity is contagious and, clearly, company-wide innovation fuels the organizations he leads.
Much like the intrapreneurial execution of Factory Week, a week-long hiatus from “business as usual,” Tobias and the iGo team took time out of their schedules to move offsite (to a startup coworking space called the Speak Easy), to build something new and peripheral to their core business. Here’s what he and his team learned with their #iGoInnovate days to build Scribblr, a more effective way to turn your company email signatures into marketing tools:
Intrapreneurship Example, Main Takeaways:
Capitalize on opportunity.
The iGo Digital team found their product inspiration for Scribblr in the opportunity identified by their sales team. Reps were including links to recent blog material and whitepapers in their email signatures and prospects were clicking on those links more frequently than other content.
Or is it an opportunity? You’ll never know unless you try. And that’s where dedicating time to exploring new opportunities can be so powerful.
Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
It’s no secret that you work different parts of your brain when you remove yourself from familiar environments and plunge into new roles. Tobias’s team learned a lot and refreshed their company-wide camaraderie.
Imagine the empathy you build for your fellow teammate when you’ve actually worked a few days alongside them—or better yet, doing some of their work. You also do some serious flexing of your communication muscles when you have the finite project capacity that two-day off-sites (like iGo Digital’s) deliver.
Get everyone on the same page.
It’s easier to get in a rhythm when everyone’s playing from the same sheet of music. The Scribblr launch team found that things fell into place after they organized their sub-teams and defined their goals.
Don’t save this last tip for intrapreneurial exercises or product launches (though these certainly help to encourage the syncopation). Things always go a little more smoothly when there’s even a rough plan in place.
Have you ever launched a product that wasn’t core to your business? What kinds of opportunities are still on the table?