Understanding Intrapreneurship

Understanding Intrapreneurship
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By Shahid Amin Trali

This is the entrepreneurial age. Entrepreneurship is driving a revolution that is transforming and revolutionizing economies worldwide. Entrepreneurs must be known for thinking outside of the box and must develop the right strategies to be successful. Entrepreneurs must highly focus on people skills and need to find solutions how to keep their talent engaged and motivated. Today, millennials are the largest segment of the workforce and, according to studies, fewer and fewer of them are loyal to their current employers. In fact, one study finds that many of the existing employees would, given a chance, leave their current employers. This remarkable lack of allegiance poses a serious challenge for all the employers. However, it’s not too late for them to turn this around. Researchers propose that creating good opportunities for employees to pursue purpose and profit simultaneously within their existing organizations is one of the best methods to bridge this loyalty gap.
The concept of Intrapreneurship is one that is available, but it is one that is becoming popular at quite a pace as organizations attempt to leverage and empower employees to create and innovate. Intrapreneurship is the act of behaving like an entrepreneur. The concept rests on the notion that the smartest people will nearly always be employed somewhere else and help organizations achieve the higher levels of growth.
The word “Intrapreneur” was coined by Gifford Pinchot III in a 1978 paper written with his wife Elizabeth. The concept was later popularized by Steve Jobs in a 1985 Newsweek article. Jobs said, “The Macintosh team was what is commonly known as Intrapreneurship… a group of people going, in essence, back to the garage, but in a large company.” An Intrapreneur is “any of the dreamers who do…” …takes hands-on responsibility for creating innovation of any kind within an organisation. In 1992, The American Heritage Dictionary acknowledged the popular use of a new word, Intrapreneur, to mean “A person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation”. An Intrapreneur may be the creator or the inventor but is always the dreamer who figures out how to turn an idea into a profitable reality” (Gifford Pinchot).
Entrepreneurs vs Intrapreneurs:
Entrepreneurs start their own venture and bear full risk or failure while as Intrepreneur is partially independent and is not liable to bear the losses. An entrepreneur raises the finance and guarantees the return while as an intrapreneur does not own responsibility to raise the capital or to return it. An entrepreneur is independent while as an intrapreneur is dependent on Entrepreneur. An entrepreneur may operate from outside while as Intrapreneur operates from within the organization itself.
An Intrapreneur is someone who thinks like an entrepreneur but is an employee within an organization. Intrapreneurs have entrepreneurial skills blended with managerial skills but operate within the confines of an organization. Intrapreneurs get that steady paycheck, but they want to bring ideas to the surface and know they can impact decisions and the trajectory of the business. They are entrepreneurial thinkers who drive organizational change and are motivated by creation. But there is one big difference that is critical to understand: while a successful entrepreneur can be bombastic, unrelenting and uncompromising, an intrapreneur needs to be viewed as a team player – someone not out for themselves but out for the company.
Why should organizations embrace Intrapreneurship?
Researchers are proving that innovation and growth are key driving forces behind the adoption of Intrapreneurship. In order to turn their businesses into a success story, organizations must embrace this concept. It may drive innovation and help organizations create and bring into use profitable new products, processes, services, and ways of doing business. The power of Intrapreneurship helps in creation of new or alternative products, opening of new markets, capture of new sources of supply. It may also lead to effective activities in terms of spotting ways to improve existing products and services.
Intrapreneurs may help organizations save time, money, and make life easier and happier in the organizations. It is these people who help in realizing new communication avenues with customers. They also help in enhancing the quality and find new ways to get the job done quicker or smarter. Intrapreneurs are the future because they intuitively understand what it takes to adapt to a rapidly changing business environment. They always strive to make work meaningful for themselves and their organizations.

-The author is an Assistant Professor at ITM University, Gwalior. He can be reached at: dr.shahidamin15@gmail.com