Intrapreneurship to Boost Company Innovation

This year, Grenoble Ecole de Management is creating a new module called "Intrapreneurship" for its Advanced Master's in Entrepreneurship. Olivier Leclerc, head of Intrapreneurship and the AIS Business Enabler at Snecma, will participate in this new module to share his expertise with students.


Olivier Leclerc joined Snecma at the beginning of last year to implement intrapreneurship within the company. Snecma, which is part of the Safran group specialized in motors for aeronautical and space industries, is a company that is used to working behind closed doors and has a company culture prone to secrecy.

"However, today if we wish to find new ways to grow, we have to innovate differently." explains Olivier Leclerc. To do so, Snecma, like many major companies, has to find ways to implement a startup culture for certain projects. The goal being to become more agile, quick to react, flexible and learning to work in lean and test and learn modes. "Intrapreneurship opens the door to working in such a manner. It's less stressful for organizations to innovate in small units and this helps control risks."

Thinking outside the box

One of the first goals of intrapreneurship is to not only spark new ideas, but also implement them. "To imagine the future of airplane motors and their associated services, we have to dream up new ideas and expand our range of possibilities. If we remain in the same place, then we can't take advantage of the entire company's potential for creativity." adds Olivier Leclerc.

In concrete terms, Snecma has implemented a collaborative company network that allows each employee to submit projects and voice their interest in participating or not in the project. For a project to be launched, it must provide a new idea that is in line with Snecma's strategy. Once a project is approved, a small group of less than five people who are motivated by the project will be charged with creating a business plan and presenting the project within three months. Business Angels and/or external investors will then be able to share their perspectives on the project and accompany it if they wish.

Employees are the key to innovation

Intrapreneurship is both an individual adventure and a group effort built around experimentation. "This helps overcome the fear of risk that can paralyze innovation. It's better to tone down the fear of failure. Not everything will work, but the skills and experiences gained from each project help the company and individuals progress." says Olivier Leclerc.  Intrapreneurship serves to mobilize, engage and earn the loyalty of employees by turning them into the keystone of each project. 

Decompartmentalizing a company

"I believe that it's crucial for employees from different departments to work together and create value that will impact the group as a whole. Today, each Business Unit works autonomously. But I'm convinced that if they collaborate together, we have a real opportunity to stand out on the market and create a new spirit of innovation." says Olivier Leclerc. Once intrapreneurship makes its mark within Snecma, Olivier Leclerc hopes to spread this method throughout the Safran group.

Raising awareness among future company leaders

Olivier Leclerc will partake in the Advanced Master's in Entrepreneurship at Grenoble Ecole de Management as part of the School's first module on intrapreneurship. As an expert who already shares his experiences at the Cnam, Olivier Leclerc aims to raise the awareness of future managers on a topic that he believes represents one of the keys to successful innovation. At stake is the ability to create value and demonstrate that it's possible to take new actions without creating a separate organization. "I would like to change how future leaders are trained. Intrapreneurship is not just an idea. It has to allow companies to transform and grow. That's what I would like to share with students at Grenoble Ecole de Management." concludes Olivier Leclerc.