Business

NewBoCo launches inaugural intrapreneur academy

Teams represent government, not-for-profits, for-profits

David Tominsky, Iowa Startup Accelerator Managing Director, talks during NewBoCo’s Iowa Startup Accelerator Launch Day at the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
David Tominsky, Iowa Startup Accelerator Managing Director, talks during NewBoCo’s Iowa Startup Accelerator Launch Day at the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

Seeking to spark innovative change within their organizations, six teams representing government, for-profit and not-for-profit entities have joined NewBoCo’s inaugural Intrapreneur Academy.

The teams, introduced Friday at the Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery in Swisher, represent the Linn County Auditor, Marion Process Solutions, Rockwell Collins, United Way of East Central Iowa, Van Meter and Woofables.

NewBoCo launched Intrapreneur Academy as part of its innovation services to help established companies and organizations build a culture that embraces experimentation and rapid iteration.

Mandy Webber, NewBoCo director of innovation, said the teams will spend the next year together focusing on the four competencies of innovative organizations — agile, methods, strategy and culture.

“Those who engaged with our organizational innovation programs last year gave feedback that, while the content was good, it was hard to implement alone when they went ‘back to the grind,’” Webber said. “Those individuals are not alone.”

Having cross-functional teams from an organization go through Intrapreneur Academy together will be like a having a startup working within an organization focused on making innovation part of the day to day, Webber said.

“Throughout the program, we add a layer of accountability by beginning and ending each session with reviewing and setting new commitments,” she explained.

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Each quarter will focus on one of the innovation competencies through workshops, networking groups, expert-led sessions and immersive tours as well as access to other NewBoCo events.

“Getting the cohort out of the office to learn new concepts is a big element of the academy,” Webber said. “The program includes local immersive tours to places like Geonetric, Kinze and MediRevv as well as event access to EntreFEST.

“There is so much value in seeing firsthand organizations and individuals who specialize in the key areas of innovation.”

Each teams in the cohort has its own motivations and objectives.

“Left to our own devices, we will continue to do business as usual, and this is not good enough for our customers or our organization,” said Alex Taylor, co-owner of Woofables, which is sending three key employees to the Intrapreneur Academy.

“By getting off-site, the facilitated format and content of this program is designed to help us creatively evaluate of what we do, how we do it, why we do it, and how we can do things better,” Taylor said.

“If we do one or two things better or differently to improve our operations and/or grow our revenues, this academy will be well worth the investment.”

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