Opinion

Majestic Wine's latest offering highlights the importance of intrepreneurs

5 min read

26 August 2015

Specialist retailer Majestic Wine’s announcement earlier this week that it was launching a “Text for Wine” service through its Naked Wines online service should be cheered for a couple of reasons.

There is the obvious one of course – a simple message typed on your mobile screen to get a case of red or white delivered to your door. What’s not to like there?

The second reason was outlined in Majestic’s announcement but did not receive as much coverage as the “Give me plonk” line.

“As part of Naked Wines constant drive to think of smarter ways for customers to buy their wine, the idea was generated by a Naked Wines employee,” it said.

In the lexicon of business this is known as intrepreneurialism. A way business leaders can foster and gain an advantage from nurturing an entrepreneurial mindset in their organisation

Tech giant Google is probably most well-known for trying to generate creative ideas from members of staff in this manner. Its Innovation Time Off program allowed employees to spend a fifth of work time on projects that interested them. Another example is that of 3M Corporation’s intrepreneurial “bootlegging policy,” which allowed employees to spend around a fifth of time at work developing creative ideas and produced the humble post-it note. 

It is now ubiquitous in every office place and family fridge, but sadly intrepreneurialism isn’t.

There are solid reasons why not. Large business owners may shudder at the cost, the lost downtime and even the loss of control if they let their staff go wild with ideas. They may prefer them to stay on message and be wary of ‘entrepreneurial’ ideas.

Smaller and medium-sized firms may be led by a visionary entrepreneur who may rightly think that in their growth stage employees should be doing everything to back his or her big idea and not introduce any others!

But think of the positives. You can tap into the minds and passions of your staff and motivate them in a way that other parts of their everyday work life can’t.

Read more about staff motivation:

How well do bosses know their employees? Their life outside of work, their interests? By allowing them time to tap into their creative juices who knows what might emerge? That young man in accounts for example – who knew that at the weekend he parachuted or bungee-jumped or had travelled all around Asia? Or the girl in marketing – who knew she was doing a creative writing course mixing with students of all nationalities at her college?

What ideas to improve your business could come from these real life cultural and emotional experiences? What new levels and depths of thinking? What innovation can they bring to your business – particularly if you are in that sometimes stodgy medium sized business space where your original ideas are losing colour and the spark of being a startup is beginning to dim.

There has to be a balance struck of course. Employees must be made aware that their employers setting aside an afternoon or one day a month for them to think of their own creative projects is not a jolly. Tell them that you are expecting results but don’t over-do the pressure. They should feel free to experiment and think ‘out of the box’ without negative consequences or raised eyebrows and giggles over ideas such as triangle shaped televisions.

Employees should know that their creative endeavours will be well rewarded and remunerated. Let’s hope the man or woman who devised “Text for Wine” will be able to enjoy quite a few crates as a thank you for their brainwave.

Cheers to them!