What countries to pick to study best practice in intrapreneurship?

Ron Immink discusses the dilemma of deciding which countries to pick to study best practice in intrapreneurship.

The Ireland South East intrapreneurship study hopes to increase the competitiveness of companies in the region, combat regional economic disparity, and provide resilience against future economic shocks such as Brexit. A toolbox will be developed for companies to follow to achieve optimum levels of intrapreneurial performance within companies and enhance the levels of intrapreneurship among employees.

We are now reaching the stage of the project where we are going to examine best practice at both a company and policy level in other countries, inside and outside the EU. In order to start considering  the selection of the countries we would study we began to look at a range of different filters:

  1. The expertise of the team and their awareness of best practice across the globe
  2. The availability of best practice models in the literature
  3. The need for a global spread (not too EU centric)
  4. The shape and characteristics of the economy in the South East
  5. The SME dimension
  6. The international Innovation Index
  7. The Global Entrepreneurship Model
  8. Presence of entrepreneurial ecosystems
  9. The potential for policy innovation
  10. Potential outliers (we are looking for fresh perspectives)

Country research

Within each country we choose experts on innovation and intrapreneurship to interview. We are using structured interviews, consisting of 5 basic questions focus on finding the characteristics of best practice. The original list we had drawn up contained countries such as the USA, Japan, China, Switzerland, France, Finland, Sweden, UK, Korea, India, Turkey, and Australia. We decided that most of those countries will be picked up in our literature review. The purpose of the literature research is to come up with instruments to put into our toolkit:

  • Methods to improve the level of intraprenuership
  • Actors which influence the level of intrapreneurship
  • Models which will help organisations to improve the level of intrapreneurship

Proposed countries

Based on our analysis we initially proposed the following countries:

  • Rwanda (similar to Ireland, promoting entrepreneurship)
  • Georgia (Youth, SME, further back economically, SME policies)
  • Estonia (most innovative nation, digital)
  • Holland (innovative, network, SME policy)
  • Germany (Mittelstand, SME policy)
  • Singapore (innovation, policy)
  • Israel (intrapreneurship, small economy, export focussed)
  • Taiwan (transformation)
  • Brazil (frugal, unstructured)
  • Canada (SME policy)


We then received feedback on our initial country selection including:

  • Limit the selection of countries to a smaller number of key countries (3-4).
  • Include cases that are similar to the South East region in Ireland (i.e. rural, an island economy, strong role of MNC’s in economy etc.).
  • Southern European countries may be more relevant to Ireland in terms of culture and attitudes.
  • Malta, Denmark and Finland are possible countries to include.
  • Exclude countries that have very specific economic and regional profiles such as Georgia, Rwanda and Israel.
  • The analysis could include a brief overview of outliers or unusual examples of intrapreneurship.
  • Use the European Innovation Scoreboard as an additional index

Ireland South East Development Office

After a subsequent meeting with Richard and Alan of the Ireland South East Development Office we have included a number of new countries, namely:

  • Denmark (as suggested by the steering committee)
  • Chile (link start up eco system and intrapreneurship)
  • South Africa (tech-leap)

EU Perspective

However, our colleagues in the EU have recommended that we focus on four European countries. The current proposed list is:

  • Holland
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Slovenia

What do you think? What counties should we look at and for what reason? Drop me a line at ron@ronimmink.com