Most of us are aware of what it means to be an entrepreneur. It can be a challenging route, so it seems reasonable that not everybody would be up for the task. But what if something called “intrapreneurship” could make the path easier?
What if we could support and help fellow workers pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions without quitting? Could they become an entrepreneur without the headache of added responsibilities? Is that possible?
Yes, it is!
A person who takes on the responsibility to explore new areas, invent new products, or bring new use cases for existing inventions while at the same company is known as an intrapreneur. But what exactly do intrapreneurs do?
Let’s look at the basics of intrapreneurship, find out how and why it can benefit your organization, and how you can use it.
What Is Intrapreneurship?
An ecosystem that promotes business and marketing automation within the organization and encourages employees to behave like an entrepreneur is known as intrapreneurship. Intrapreneurs, as these people are aptly titled, operate within well-established businesses and have the potential to move their workplaces into uncharted areas.
Intrapreneurs are self-driven, proactive, and action-oriented individuals who take the initiative to explore a novel or good service. They can leverage their entrepreneurial abilities to benefit the business through an intrapreneurship, which fosters an entrepreneurial atmosphere.
Moreover, intrapreneurs are given the opportunity to grow within an organization and the freedom to try new things.
Intrapreneurship promotes freedom and autonomy while looking for the best answer. So, an intrapreneur may be required to:
- Conduct research
- Create a more effective workflow diagram
- Implement a strategy to advance company culture as part of an intrapreneurship
Let’s examine the benefits of encouraging intrapreneurship within a business and what constitutes a successful intrapreneurship.
How Does Intrapreneurship Benefit an Organization?
Individuals who create or develop an idea into a new or good service for their current organization are intrapreneurs. Simply put, they efficiently conduct entrepreneurial activities within their organization.
But how do they actually benefit their parent company? Here’s how intrapreneurship can benefit an organization:
They Enhance Productivity and Employee Satisfaction
According to a Gallup study, more involved employees are less likely to leave the company and more productive.
Intrapreneurs encourage people to fully commit to the company’s objectives and take charge of their job. This gives them greater independence and a more fulfilling career, which, according to research, increases engagement and boosts well-being, efficiency, and all these other factors.
They Utilize Intrapreneurship to Attract Outstanding Talent
Businesses that support intrapreneurship are viewed as more inventive and creative, which are attractive traits for many job seekers, especially millennials.
Additionally, intrapreneurship demonstrates that you pay attention to your staff, improving how customers see your organization.
They Increase Employee Retention
Happy employees usually are less likely to jump ship and leave the company. Intrapreneurship gives their life a purpose, which means staying focused on their current job instead of always eyeing something new.
Additionally, it gives them greater prospects for career advancement as they gain crucial abilities like leadership. So, intrapreneurship increases employee retention.
They Enhance Market Opportunities and ROI
Intrapreneurship promotes innovation, opening new avenues for developing novel goods and services. This will make it easier for your business to spot emerging opportunities and market gaps and act swiftly to fill them.
So, intrapreneurship can help you enhance your customer base, induce business growth, and increase your return on investment (ROI).
They Promote Innovation
Your company’s intrapreneurs can serve as innovation champions by enticing other staff members to participate and voice their opinions.
They are well-positioned to fill this role since your innovation strategy needs people passionate about discovering new ways to work and ensuring that transformation occurs.
The Challenges of Intrapreneurship
The business notion of “intrapreneurship” has been around for a long time. Nonetheless, it isn’t as well-known as entrepreneurship.
The majority of individuals still don’t properly grasp the idea of intrapreneurship. And those who know about it frequently run into some difficulties.
So, if not done correctly, intrapreneurship implementation may be challenging for both the intrapreneur and the parent firms. Let’s go over some typical intrapreneurship obstacles and advantages.
Intrapreneurs frequently begin their journey by resolving a persistent issue the parent business has overlooked or failed to address. They spot possibilities and gather the necessary materials to take advantage of them.
However, there are situations when the adopted strategy may not align with the parent business.
Although some businesses encourage intrapreneurship, others do not. This is so that the organization’s culture, way of thinking, and management style aren’t dramatically altered.
Intrapreneurship is challenging due to the structural and operational complexity of many firms. Whenever someone wants to attempt something new within an organization, there is a conflict of interest.
So, before any company adopts a new idea or plan, it must pass through bureaucratic procedures.
Unfortunately, in most companies, intrapreneurs lack the freedom to experiment. They need to get permission from the parent firm.
Changing a Company’s Culture Is Difficult
Changing how people think within a company is one of the biggest hurdles for intrapreneurs. It can be challenging to persuade people to see things from your point of view, particularly if they are rigid.
Intrapreneurship examines fresh concepts or methods to address business problems. However, convincing others to agree with you can’t be easy. And if it’s a new company, things get even more complicated.
When a company uses a specific technique consistently throughout time, it becomes standard. Additionally, the strategy will ingrain itself into each employee’s culture.
Of course, even if the standard way of doing things seems redundant, the company may not want to introduce new things fearing it might confuse employees.
In general, changing a company’s culture is difficult. So, you must put in a lot of effort and create novel, persuading ideas if you want to bring change.
Failure to Live Up to Expectations
Intrapreneurship is frequently hampered by a failure to live up to expectations — because businesses prioritize gaining rapid results over considering the big picture.
Immediate outcomes drive these businesses. Additionally, they provide little to no room for error. Unfortunately, creativity and invention only come about after numerous failed attempts.
However, intrapreneurs don’t want to make risky, innovative moves if their employers don’t provide any backup plan if they fail. Additionally, if there’s a lot of pressure and expectation placed on you as an intrapreneur, it’s nearly impossible to develop original ideas.
Not Getting Help or Mentorship
To succeed as an intrapreneur, you need both managerial and financial backing. Raising enough money for innovative research would be impossible without significant financial aid.
Similarly, you won’t have the independence to handle leadership expectations if the management doesn’t provide enough support.
Shortage of Funds
Most intrapreneurial businesses always struggle with the financial difficulties of inventing something new. Additionally, they mostly depend on corporate cash flows. Companies typically have no issues funding the venture if things are running smoothly.
However, the intrapreneurial project may suffer if cash flow issues arise due to unforeseen problems.
Additionally, the parent business may redirect some of the resources coming to the intrapreneur towards other projects if its priorities change. Unfortunately, an intrapreneur is helpless in the face of this kind of resource movement.
How Intrapreneurship Benefits Workers
Employees can harness their entrepreneurial impulses and feed their passions through a well-supported intrapreneurship program while remaining within the boundaries of an organizational environment, allowing them to feel satisfied in their roles.
Additionally, it prevents the loss of a potential employee who might have left the company to start their business venture.
Along with improved career chances, individuals receive job satisfaction. Project managers gain strong organizational and leadership abilities that will serve them well in the future when applying for promotions.
Similarly, being associated with a noteworthy project can help a person stand out and open up fresh doors for quick promotion within an organization.
Intrapreneurship Vs. Entrepreneurship
Instead of launching a brand-new firm in a cutthroat industry, intrapreneurs are internal entrepreneurs who operate within the framework of an established corporation.
They are diligent people who are always looking for methods to innovate and better their jobs, the caliber of their work, and occasionally their entire entity.
Both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs need the same abilities, such as leadership, inventiveness, and adaptability.
However, the intrapreneur isn’t obligated to assume the financial risk involved with the conventional business. Their employer must be ready to take on the threat to support and express their ideas to improve their working circumstances.
Intrapreneurs aren’t scared to challenge their surroundings and are always thinking of new methods to improve how their company is run. They are motivated individuals who labor through the night on their most recent project.
These people are the driving force behind innovative ideas that have the potential to change and revolutionize your industry. They’re the foundation of the success of your firm.
How Can I Encourage Intrapreneurship in My Business?
Businesses reap real rewards when they create an environment that rewards risk-taking, creativity, or an intrapreneurial climate. They’ll probably see an increase in their staff members’ dependability, happiness, dedication, and productivity.
Moreover, businesses have discovered that promoting intrapreneurship aids in bringing in and keeping top talent. Plus, workers are more satisfied with their jobs when they have the freedom to be creative and explore their best ideas.
So, in the end, intrapreneurship promotes productivity and a unique culture and boosts employee engagement as well as retention.
Whether you’ve previously supported intrapreneurship or avoided it, you may create a culture that fosters invention. The key is to allow your staff members the flexibility to exhibit their creativity and think like business owners.
You can establish a culture of intrapreneurship in your organization in the following ways:
Embrace Failure and Welcome Risk
Your employees won’t be able to shine if they’re constantly worrying about the safety of their jobs if they deviate from the norm.
When you encourage them to attempt new things and reassure them that failures will be recognized rather than punished, it relieves pressure and allows employees to succeed.
Take Down Roadblocks and Give Your Workers Freedom
Micromanagement is the best way to guarantee a depressing and underutilized workplace. An employee’s ability to function, let alone innovate, might be squashed if someone is always looking over their shoulder and scrutinizing every move they make.
Give your colleagues the chance to demonstrate that they deserve your trust and independence. This can entail giving workers the freedom to set their schedules, to work from home occasionally, or even just the ability to personalize their workstations and outfit.
Reward Productivity By Providing Incentives
Recognize that incentives don’t always have to be monetary before you slam your pocketbook shut (although that’s always good).
When staff members come up with brilliant ideas, acknowledge them in front of the rest of the company and thank them for their efforts with small gifts like gift cards or comp time. Use your HR software to keep track of ideas and successes. You can then use these notes to develop new initiatives and identify which employees are already working outside their job descriptions.
Make Sure They Have Enough Room to Collaborate Both Physically and Emotionally
It won’t do to have a cramped break area that hasn’t been cleaned in decades and causes team members migraines from defective fluorescent lights.
Make it convenient for workers to interact with others outside of their department.
Suppose they weren’t given a chance to communicate in a social, non-confrontational context. In that case, they might discover issues that no one was aware of and arrive at answers that would never have been achieved.
Be a Beacon of Support
You’ve got to always have the best ideas as the business’s owner, founder, CEO, or another key executive, right?
Employees who approach you or their immediate supervisor with a fresh proposal need to feel secure and supported.
Be receptive to criticism, acknowledge that problems might be developing that you are unaware of, and accept the possibility that occasionally, one of your staff will come up with the idea that you would have never thought of.
If your business is too big for employees to approach you directly, put a mechanism where all suggestions are sent to the “powers that be” and carefully considered.
Employees will stop speaking, stop innovating, and potentially even start looking for a new job as soon as they feel that they aren’t being heard.
This is how the procedure goes: Google encourages its intrapreneurs to share their concepts with others and solicit their creative input. The crowd then refines the idea, and a formal review process follows.
The intrapreneur must provide a project proposal and timeframe and describe how they intend to measure the project’s success. After a standout initiative has been chosen, it is monitored, analyzed, and put into practice.
Google internal entrepreneurs launched Gmail, AdSense, and Orkut.
Characteristics of an Intrapreneur
Employees can leverage their entrepreneurial abilities to benefit the business through an intrapreneurship, which fosters an entrepreneurial atmosphere. They’re given the opportunity to grow within an organization and the freedom to try new things.
Intrapreneurship encourages liberty and independence while seeking the best solution.
As part of intrapreneurship, an employee can be asked to perform research, provide a more functional workflow chart for a company’s brand among a target audience, or execute a strategy to enhance company culture, for example.
Employers must pay attention to these workers. If intrapreneurship isn’t supported or employees that show entrepreneurial spirit aren’t recognized, a brand or firm may suffer.
Employers who encourage intrapreneurship stand to benefit because it leads to general departmental or corporate success.
Keeping these staff members on board can promote innovation and growth. Companies risk losing intrapreneurs to competitors or having them go independent if they don’t enable them.
Can Intrapreneurship Be the Answer to Employee Retention?
No matter how excellent your company is, retaining employees can be difficult. Since loyalty must be reciprocal, you must also show your employees the same courtesy if you want them to continue with you through difficulties.
Also, not every journey will be successful, like when a toddler learns to walk or a teenager takes their driving test. Failure should be commended since it shows that they’re trying. So, not all issues with employee retention can be solved through intrapreneurism.
Intrapreneurship might not be helpful if additional problems percolate, such as disorganization, upper management disrespecting workers, a lack of strong leadership, or unhappiness festering among the ranks.
Look inside your company to identify the primary causes of your high employee turnover, then concentrate your efforts on solving these issues and improving everyone’s working environment.
Embrace your knowledge, imagination, and skill among your staff, and offer them the freedom to develop new ideas, create solutions, and reinvent your business and sector.
Example of an Intrapreneur
PlayStation by Sony – An Intrapreneurship Example of Reaching into New Markets
Sony had zero desire to enter the game console market when they were first created and promoted. It’s not easy to believe, given that gaming currently contributes 29% of Sony’s revenue.
The intrapreneur behind the December 1994 Japanese release of the original Sony PlayStation is Ken Kutaragi. In less than a decade, it finally became the first “computer entertainment platform” to ship over 100 million devices.
The Story Behind
Ken Kutaragi was a visionary engineer at Sony. When Ken watched his daughter use a Nintendo Famicom game machine in the late 1980s, he was struck by how much potential there was in video games.
He attempted to persuade top management to explore the possibility of releasing a gaming system, but Sony’s executives were not amenable to the notion. Kutaragi wanted to learn more, so he collaborated with Nintendo on the NES system’s development.
The executives at Sony were enraged and sought to fire him when they learned the truth.
Fortunately, Norio Ohga, the CEO of Sony, supported Kutaragi’s proposal and consented to work with Nintendo to produce the Nintendo Super Famicom.
In less than a decade, Sony created its gaming platform, the PlayStation, and initially distributed 100 million units.
After the success of his project, Ken Kutaragi eventually became the chairman and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment. He ended his career with the Sony Playstation 3 after overseeing the release of two additional models of the gaming device.
Kutaragi is the “Gutenberg of Video Games” and one of Time magazine’s top 100 most influential persons of 2004.
Kutaragi’s program was so effective that Sony sold 525 million copies of the PlayStation by 2018. Games and network services made up the largest portion of Sony Corporation’s income in 2021, accounting for 29% of the company’s overall 8.9 trillion yen revenue.
An organization that continually innovates will be vibrant and draw in creative individuals. It will be regarded as an excellent workplace because of its stimulating environment. Plus, a rising business will provide its staff members with additional opportunities.
Unfortunately, established organizations have a natural desire to maintain the status quo. This makes sense, considering how terrifying change can be. But if an organization doesn’t change, it won’t be able to respond to emerging needs and environmental dangers.
So, intrapreneurship is essential if a company wants to remain in business. It allows companies to challenge the status quo, encourage growth, increase employee retention, and create a better working environment.