Intrapreneurs in Paradise: The League of Intrapreneurs APAC Gathering / by Tim Mahlberg

In May a group of passionate, maverick corporate changemakers and catalysts gathered in Ubud, Bali for the first League of Intrapreneurs APAC region gathering. Our purpose was to start the ball rolling on a united approach to supporting and developing intrapreneurship in our own backyard. Taking a cue from established regions like Latin America and Europe, we all see great opportunity to develop stronger connections across our countries and learn about different approaches to nurturing the intrapreneur.

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On our first encounter together, I was struck by the energy each person brought and the rich spaces for learning and reflection that was to unfold. Each of us brought a piece of the agenda for our time together; a strong reminder that our learning community has such an amazing talent to draw on. Just some of the highlights over the days for me include:

 + Hearing from Dr. Takeshi Takama on his approach to going beyond the typical “thinktank” to become a “do-tank” engaging with locals in an array of sustainability projects. What stuck with me was to ensure we take time to reflect on our role in holding different conversations and inspiring action, as a “be-tank”. Seems appropriate in the fast-paced world back home.

+ Our visit to the Green School with its tangles of bamboo, empowerment of youth, and vision of reimagining education left us with plenty to ponder on. How do we integrate the innovations we envisage into our organization so they don’t become a “bubble” of good, and have strong sustainable business models behind them, all without compromising the original values and purpose? Personally, I took this into our F*ck Up Night as I shared my own intrapreneur journey.

+ I experienced my first League Case Clinic where we split into small circles to support one person in finding their intrapreneurial path in their organization and profession. I was struck by the compassion, consideration, and encouragement that left the case sharer with tangible next steps, plenty of food for thought, and importantly, ongoing access to expertise and support as needed.

+ Finally, hearing about intrapreneurship in South Korea from the League Catalysts in Seoul, and the particular challenges and opportunities drawing on the strengths of the culture there, really opened my eyes to the assumptions we might have around how intrapreneurship is “done” in a different context. 

Personal resilience is a recurring theme in most conversations around intrapreneurship. How do we sustain our passion and energy in environments that often work against us? How do we sense before pushing ourselves too far and risk total burn-out? How do we ensure we are sharing the load with others, being willing to say no or stop, and taking the time to rejuvenate and recharge? I’m learning to take it a bit slower, noticing where I am in each moment and the impact that I can have here. To be sustainable intrapreneurs, we need to balance holding a vision of how the world could be, with the reality of where we are today.

Gatherings like these are special moments to remind ourselves that we don’t need to do it alone, and I thank all participants for their own unique contribution.

This blog was also featured on The League of Intrapreneurs website