The single biggest problem intrapreneurs face is the company we work for.

That’s the conclusion Georges Sassine reached after his experiences trying to innovate within a corporate structure. While he found intrapreneurship exciting and energizing, he ended up frustrated and, in some cases, angry. “We wouldn’t be here,” he said at #IntraCnf Toronto in November, “if intrapreneurship was actually working in our companies.”

If companies are serious about driving intrapreneurship and innovation internally, they need to get out of the way and hand the reins over to their employees.

Otherwise, they risk losing game changing ideas to the intrapreneurs who leave and start their own businesses; entrepreneurship is often perceived as easier.

Georges sees the solution in a new model for intrapreneurship, which he “MVP’d” for us at the conference. His model is a three-step approach that gives employees total ownership over funding internal startups, building them, and, when necessary, killing them.

Step One: Employees as investors

Funding is a huge barrier to innovation, especially in an environment where many companies are looking for ways to cut costs. It’s great that you have an idea; but, who’s going to actually hand over money and let you run with it, especially when it hasn’t been tested and isn’t guaranteed to bring in new cash flow by next quarter?

How about your colleagues and co-workers?

Georges proposes companies offer their employees an exclusive pool of investments in several internal startups. Employees would invest their money in their colleagues ideas, and own equity.

“Imagine a company with 100 thousand employees,” he said. “If 10 percent of them invested a thousand dollars each year, that’s $10 million in the pooled fund for your innovation program. As a corporation, you don’t have to spend a dime.”

Exclusivity is the key to making this work. Only employees are given access to investing in these startups while alumni and senior executives can act as angel investors. This exclusivity, in turn, drives corporate citizenship, loyalty, and pride.

Step Two: Employees as CEOs

Corporations need to incentivize intrapreneurs to develop their ideas within the organization rather than leave and start their own company. To do this, Georges says that intrapreneurs need to know they will get a fair deal. They need to feel that they are getting a fair deal. Intrapreneurs could sometimes feel like they don’t matter in the Corporate world and this needs to change.

The solution? Give employees complete ownership over their startups.

To Georges, the organization needs to step back and give intrapreneurs complete ownership of, and autonomy to build, their ideas. “Let them be the CEO, let them own the IP, give them a fair equity share and the ability to offer an option pool to their future hires. Design it as a real startup.”

The corporation would supply coaching and resources during the early stages, but allow the startup to function separately from the mother company, with employees responsible for all decision making. The corporation would also retain the majority of equity and have right of first refusal to invest in the scaling stages, and allow the founders to seek external funding if required.

“Being flexible, giving options, and allowing employees to really own their ideas is critical, and as far as I know this is not common practice,” he said. “In my opinion, it would be game changing.”

Step Three: Employees kill their own ideas

There is a lot of talk about what a good innovation culture looks like. You need to not only empower, but encourage employees to come up with ideas. But to Georges, it’s not enough to make innovation obligatory: “You need to empower employees to kill their own ideas, and reward them for it.” It needs to truly be safe to fail.

At Alphabet, Google’s R&D lab, employees are given cash bonuses when they stop their own projects. Why? Because as intrapreneurs, we’re emotionally invested in our ideas – and that can make it more difficult to let go, even when the idea is proving to be non-viable. That reluctance wastes time and resources, and can end up costing the company a lot of money. The best way to avoid that is to simply let the owner of the idea kill it when it needs to be killed, and reward them for it.

A corporate dream deal

To Georges, this three-step model incentivizes true innovation and intrapreneurship, and will help companies grow in ways they haven’t considered.

“Imagine you were working for a taxi company and you came up with Uber,” he asked. “Would you have stayed with the taxi company and done it, or would you have done it externally?

In the current context, you should definitely leave. But if the taxi company had an innovation structure like this, you would actually be incentivized to stay in your day job and pursue Uber internally.”

This model, to Georges, is a “dream deal” for large corporations. It allows them to tap into employee creativity, own equity, and be strategic partners – without risking any money. It enables them to escape the short-term, quarter-driven mentality, compete directly with venture capital funds, and reap significant long-term gains.

What do you think? Would you be more inclined to act on your ideas if you knew you would be allowed to run the show? Would you invest in an internal fund pool? Would your organization even consider a model like this?