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Intrapreneur Academy: Kickoff Recap

“Innovation” rarely brings to mind visions of local government, but the Office of the Linn County Auditor plans to change that. They joined five other teams in NewBoCo’s inaugural Intrapreneur Academy.

“We joined Intrapreneur Academy because we want to set an example that innovation can occur in local government so as to encourage others and to provide a model on how to do it,” said Joel Miller, Linn County Auditor.

NewBoCo launched Intrapreneur Academy, a year-long training program, to help established organizations from all backgrounds build cultures that embrace experimentation and rapid change.The Office of the Linn County Auditor isn’t the only “nontraditional” organization looking to become more innovative. The six teams in NewBoCo’s Intrapreneur Academy cohort represent every sort of organization: Rockwell Collins, United Way of East Central Iowa, Van Meter, Marion Process Solutions, and Woofables, a small dog treat bakery.

During the Intrapreneur Academy Kickoff day, the six teams gave group presentations, got to know each other, covered expectations for the year and reviewed their company-wide Innovation Readiness Assessment results. Every organization is at a different place on their innovation journey, and consequently has different priorities. The Innovation Readiness Assessment gives teams a baseline assessment of their organization’s efforts on all four innovation competencies covered in-depth each quarter in Intrapreneur Academy: agile, methods, strategy, and culture.

Teams went through a series of exercises to evaluate and interpret their assessment scores.They also created an action plan for how their team would immediately implement some of their takeaways from the Innovation Readiness Assessment. A large part of Intrapreneur Academy comes from the shared learning that happens when teams share their successes and struggles. Creating these action plans helps increase accountability for the cohort as they prepare for their year participating in Intrapreneur Academy.

“NewBoCo’s Innovation Readiness Assessment is such a powerful tool. In fact, our own employees took the assessment and it opened up some great discussions about our innovation culture here. Getting everyone on the same page about our innovation goals and using consistent language helps the entire organization get on the same page.” said Aaron Horn, COO, NewBoCo

To wrap up their kickoff day, the Intrapreneur Academy cohort joined NewBoCo staff and the Vault Coworking community for Whiskey Friday, a weekly celebration of adult beverages (not just whiskey!), good company, and the official beginning of the weekend. Whiskey Friday attendees are invited each week to ring the gong and announce a big win for the group to celebrate with them.

Going forward, the Intrapreneur Academy teams will begin their quarter focused on Agile with workshops led by NewBoCo’s Agile Coach, Nate Adams, and immersive tours at local businesses using Agile practices, such as Geonetric.

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