By definition, the term intrapreneurship refers to a system that allows an employee to act like an entrepreneur within a company or other organization. Intrapreneurs are self-motivated, proactive, and action-oriented people who take the initiative to pursue an innovative product or service. An intrapreneur knows failure does not have a personal cost as it does for an entrepreneur since the organization absorbs losses that arise from failure.
For many large corporations today, thriving in their respective industries is a herculean task because of the continuously rising amount of competition found in each market. The competition is so fierce that to remain competitive, corporations have been forced to develop brand new strategies and tactics on how to further promote innovation from within. Intrapreneurship is one of the groundbreaking strategies that many successful companies are using today to drive innovation. Essentially, intrapreneurship can be as simple as empowering employees to become more entrepreneurial in their jobs by working independently within a corporate structure to uncover opportunities for growth and development.
Intrapreneurship VS Entrepreneurship
To truly absorb the concept of intrapreneurship, one would really need to examine its origins. Intrapreneurship comes from “entrepreneurship”, which essentially is the practice of creating something of value through creativity, risk-taking, and accountability. Intrapreneurship takes the idea of entrepreneurship and applies it into an organization or corporate setting to promote innovation, growth, and development to name a few.
How Corporations Utilize Intrapreneurship
It is a fact that many successful organizations today have rebooted their structure with Intrapreneurship to gain favorable market share in their respective industries. With Intrapreneurship, employers and members of upper management restructure the corporate culture. With this new system, employees have fewer restrictions and are given the freedom to hone creative-thinking and proactive decision-making to examine current products and services and develop new strategies to improve on them. Additionally, employees are also encouraged to develop innovative new products and services from the ground up.
There are many different approaches toward integrating intrapreneurship into an organizational or corporate structure. In general, most organizations apply these basic principles:
- Adopt a culture of creativity and innovation. Organizations achieve this by encouraging employees to think outside the box by becoming more creative and proactive at developing unique ideas that they must immediately present to colleagues and upper management.
- Encourage constant communication. By establishing a culture of constant creativity and innovation, organizations should also promote communication within the workforce. Employees may be placed under a quota system to develop a number of ideas per day. This requirement will indeed prove effective at developing creativity and fostering constant communication.
- Provide a support system. Organizations should also look into hiring mentors who were previously successful entrepreneurs to work individually with employees to develop their creativity and resourcefulness. With time, employees will be molded into entrepreneurs in their own right.
- Allocate the proper resources in sufficient quantities. To provide further support to the culture of Intrapreneurship within the organization, employers and business owners should provide the proper resources to support innovation and creativity. A good example is an investment fund that will be used to transform the best ideas into actual products or services.
- Establish a rewards system. To inspire employees to perform well in an Intrapreneurship culture, organizations may establish a rewards system where employees receive incentives such as cash bonuses or some form of profit percentage sharing if their ideas translate into earnings from sales of products or services that arise from their ideas.
Any corporation looking to thrive and lead in its industry should consider integrating Intrapreneurship into its culture as a strategy to drive innovation. Particularly within corporate environments where layers of bureaucracy can hamper development of new ideas, intrapreneurship can be a highly effective, people-first strategy to drive innovation. Many large companies have found that intrapreneurship is a proven strategy that can result in constant innovation and uncover potential opportunities within the organization.
For example, large multinational banks such as BNP Paribas and Royal Bank of Canada have both had great success in driving innovation through well-crafted intrapreneurship initiatives.
Interested in learning more about how intrapreneurship can help your corporation become an innovation leader? Contact me today and let’s talk!