NewBoCo launches Intrapreneur Academy with six teams from across the Corridor

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Mandy Webber presents to participants of Intrapreneur Academy seated in front of her.

Friday, April 13, Cedar Rapids, IA – Six teams joined NewBoCo’s inaugural Intrapreneur Academy cohort in order to spark innovative change within their organizations.

“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’,” NewBoCo Director of Innovation Mandy Webber said. “Those individuals aren’t 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. Throughout the program, we add a layer of accountability by beginning and ending each session with reviewing and setting new commitments.”

The six teams represent the Office of Linn County Auditor, Marion Process Solutions, Rockwell Collins, United Way of East Central Iowa, Van Meter, and Woofables. This mix of nonprofit, for-profit, and government entities will spend the next year together focusing on the four competencies of innovative organizations: Agile, Methods, Strategy, and Culture.

“I’m excited about the mix of companies we have going through the first cohort because it’s an eclectic group,” Webber said. “The learning they will derive from each other is an invaluable benefit. We have a lot of sharing baked into the program, so being able to hear how new concepts are resonating and being used by other teams will be quite interesting.”

Each quarter will focus on one of the four 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 Academy,” Webber said. “The program includes local immersive tours to places like Geonetric, Kinze, and MediRevv as well as event access to EntreFEST because there is so much value in seeing firsthand organizations and individuals who specialize in the key areas of innovation.”

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

“Helping Iowa companies implement innovation strategies with new tools and concepts is very important to our nonprofit, so I’m really excited about this offering,” NewBoCo Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Aaron Horn said. “We have a lot of experience with innovative startups through the Iowa Startup Accelerator and our own adoption of Agile. NewBoCo has been recognized as a leading organization for culture and innovation, including being one of CBJ’s Coolest Places to Work, and I am often asked on tours about how we’ve created this environment. It’s great that we have an avenue to share what we’ve learned with other organizations.”

The teams in the cohort all have their own motivations and objectives and why they’re looking forward to the next year of Intrapreneur Academy.

“Woofables is very excited to send three key employees to the inaugural Intrapreneur Academy. Left to our own devices, we’ll continue to do business as usual, and this is not good enough for our customers or our organization,” Woofables Co-Owner Alex Taylor said. “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. 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.”

“Given NewBoCo’s stellar reputation in successfully accelerating business ideas while driving the entrepreneurial spirit throughout the Corridor, I have no doubt that the Marion Process Solutions team will significantly raise our abilities to innovate through participating in the Intrapreneur Academy. It’s a natural outcome when you hang around A-grade thought leaders who know the business of innovation,” Marion Process Solutions President and CEO Lee Eilers said.

“Van Meter has 90 years of history in an industry that is traditionally slow to change and slow to respond to disruption. We’ve stood the test of time by taking risks and innovating in the products we sell, our processes, and our culture that supports our most important asset, our people. As we look into the future; change and disruption are happening at an exponential pace and we’ve got to figure out how to stay ahead,” Van Meter Continuous Improvement Specialist Tyler Thompson said. “We’re extremely excited to participate in NewBoCo’s Intrapreneur Academy inaugural cohort to help us do just that. The diversity of NewBoCo’s resources and the ability to collaborate across industries within the Corridor will provide us with brand new perspectives as we look to build strength in Van Meter’s ability to innovate and create value for our partners and the community.”

If you are interested in joining NewBoCo’s next cohort, please email innovation@newbo.co for more information – the next cohort will begin this October.

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