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Intrapreneurship: Definition & Comprehensive Guide

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Recently, people have been giving more attention to concepts that did not previously cause them much concern. This is the case of Intrapreneurship, a word that, due to its linguistic composition, seems to be a spelling mistake.

However, this concept is actually not a mistake at all, but an opportunity for employees to create their own products within a company.

Summary

  • Intrapreneurs are the true revolutionaries in the workplace. They constantly stimulate their own creativity and solve problems in innovative ways.
  • All employees should feel confident in taking the initiative and thinking innovatively and creatively.
  • If you want to become more intrapreneurial, it is important to keep in mind that failure should always be educational and never permanent.

What you should know about intrapreneurship

Intrapreneurship is an activity that facilitates and encourages employees to generate creative and innovative ideas within a company. Additionally, they increase the value of the other activities and services they offer.

Definition of intrapreneurship

It is a fairly new word that has had the potential to be acquired by many organizations around the world. Its purpose is to encourage the creative part of its employees to innovate their products and services. However, not all ideas are executable, but they can be modified.

Think outside the box” should be the main slogan of your motivation. People like you who are in the process of understanding how to be intrapreneurs need to be always motivated. Consequently, you will have stability in your operations and thus constantly generate new ideas that feed the old ones.

Independence and autonomy are the way to new solutions to existing problems. Where each member of your company will always be ready to create his own company. However, he does not have enough capital to finance the project.

Characteristics of intrapreneurship

  1. It encourages the idealization of employees in the company.
  2. It needs a good organizational climate in order to promote communication.
  3. Generates greater value to existing products and services.
  4. Promotes analytical and creative skills to implement solutions for the company.
  5. Encourages innovation and creativity.
  6. Constantly questions its performance in the market.

Types of Intrapreneurship

Type of IntrapreneurshipDescription
UnilateralCreation and ideation of products for the identification of opportunities in the market or of the company’s high generation.
Participative-ReactiveCreation and ideation that arise in technical and operational areas that are presented to the company’s top management.
Participative-ProactiveCreation and ideation that occurs because of the close relationship between top management and human resources.

Advantages and disadvantages of intrapreneurship

Advantages

  • Reduces most of the costs involved in launching a company
  • It is a win-win situation where the employee does not have to worry about the risk involved
  • Boosts creativity
  • Increases company morale
  • Decreases employee turnover levels
  • Increases levels of employee dedication and loyalty
  • Increases job satisfaction

Disadvantages

  • Anonymity: the product belongs to the company and not to the employee who developed it
  • Inequity: economic benefits and prestige belong to the company
  • Limited management freedom
  • Benefits according to the established agreement

Challenges faced by intrapreneurs

Intrapreneurship is a huge opportunity for all organizations to generate new business models without losing their mission and vision. Up to this point, it all sounds very easy and nice, however, intrapreneurs must overcome a series of challenges and obstacles. Among which are:

(Source: Valñeria PInzon/ Gitnux.com)

What is an intrapreneurship strategy?

Intrapreneurship is a win-win circle. Individuals find effective solutions to the problems they urgently seek to solve with lower risks. The market is ready to receive new solutions. The opening of new jobs to boost economic life is unprecedented.

There are several ways to implement the intrapreneurship strategy and achieve the desired impact. These include:

Feel

It uncovers and brings out all the issues and specific needs in an area to focus on. Therefore, you need to have the 5 senses understanding the basis to maintain the sustainability of the company.

Imagine

Socialize the internal challenges of the organization to the employees through different mechanisms such as workshops and talks. Current shortcomings and problems that require an innovative solution will be reported. As a result, specific points of view will be taken to answer two main questions:

1) Why is it important to solve this innovation challenge for the organization?
2) What does the organization want to achieve?

Consequently, individuals will be able to formulate their innovative ideas to respond to their needs.

Contact

In this last stage, you will need to meet with senior management in order to obtain the necessary resources for the project. For example:

  1. Conditions
  2. Budget
  3. Time
  4. Space
  5. Administrative support

To accelerate results, it is recommended to set aside Startups. Instead, it is better to establish specific delivery dates in which the committee evaluates your progress and maturity of the selected ideas.

How to start intrapreneurship within a company?

To begin with, companies should implement intrapreneurship to keep innovation alive. However, not all companies have the capacity to do it immediately because their daily work routines are intense.

Over time, employees have been given more freedom to create their own innovative projects. They have emotions such as motivation in mind because they tend to perform better and feel more confident in communicating their ideas. On the other hand, an internal collaboration between your employees and employers can reduce additional external costs.

Five steps to enable intrapreneurship

(Source: Valñeria PInzon/ Gitnux.com)

Entrepreneurship vs Intrapreneurship

Entrepreneurship

The best-known word is Entrepreneurship, a source of motivation that has spread to all industries around the world. It describes the process of an individual using his/her ideas creatively to develop a product with his/her own risk and capital. It is starting a business that offers a product or service that fits the desires of a target market. Its main driver is money in exchange for its services.

The characteristics of an entrepreneur are based on success, drive, ambition and economic status. However, traditional entrepreneurship is being replaced by social entrepreneurship at an impressive rate.

Intrapreneurship

The main focus is on the entrepreneurial spirit and innovative ideas of the individual to direct them towards an effective solution. Its characteristics are based on vision, ambition and drive to be creative thinkers with the necessary resources at their disposal. In other words, there will be no personal losses whatsoever.

Intrapreneurship is a predictor of absolute growth in the company. However, a mistake that so many companies and organizations make is to stifle or limit the creativity of employees with innovative and valuable ideas.

What is the difference between an entrepreneur and an intrapreneur?

IntrapreneurEntrepreneur
Exists within an organization, often as an employeeIs the leader/own boss of a project or organization.
Takes the initiative to change an organization, the way they do it is differentTakes the initiative to change an organization, but the way they do it is different.
Must create change through organizational processes.Often free to make changes at will, since they are in charge of the operation.

Intrapreneurial leadership

One of the most important characteristics of an intrapreneur is the positive change he or she brings about within the boundaries of an organization. On the other hand, depending on the dynamics of the company, the intrapreneur can take an idea and develop it through appropriate change without supervision.

To retain, this is what the company should do with its employees, but it is what it lacks. The willingness and skills to execute it properly. It is about the motivation and inspiration that accompaniment generates in the rest of the company. The company must assign key mechanisms such as innovation, success and progress to the right and suitable members of the corporation.

The characteristics of an intrapreneur

Their skills are fundamental for the correct development of the project. So, we will mention 6 characteristics for you to take into account.

Risk takers

Looking for risks worth taking, or those risks that challenge the norm to the maximum, is the key to an intrapreneur. They are not interested in taking risks with new ideas and presenting them to their colleagues in order to expose their creative side.

One of the greatest assets a company must understand is determination. Recognizing the key moments to take risks is the support to avoid failure. However, failure is not their greatest fear and, therefore, they do not seek to cause it.

Innovators

Companies often look for the problem solver, in other words, the innovator of the company. Intrapreneurs take a sustainable idea and from it, they manage to solve any obstacle in an effective and efficient way.

Creativity and knowledge are key to changing the consumer’s perception of the product. Not everything in a company is perfect, and therefore, their innovative skills allow them to recognize the positive aspects of every ordinary day.

Having intrapreneurs on board can minimize the snowball effect of various problems and deficiencies within the company.

Applicants

Intrapreneurs are not afraid of the challenges that underlie the ideation and even execution process. They have a natural tendency to think outside the box, which allows them to generate unique ideas for the company.

They are confident enough in their ideas and creativity to be unique without fear of challenging existing systems. A good intrapreneur can respectfully challenge or question an organization’s processes and systems.

Responsible

One of the characteristics most valued by a company is how an employee behaves in difficult situations. Having the right capabilities contributes to a sense of trustworthiness because they are honest about what they can and cannot do. Additionally, they are people who deliver on their promises with authenticity because there is nothing more authentic than someone who takes responsibility for their actions.

They are the drivers of growth and need to familiarize themselves with the directions for business development.

Independent

The independent willingness to start the journey towards change is astonishing. Ambition and independent thinking are the fundamental tools to create things on your own.

Motivation and drive lead them down the right path for the development plan. Innovation cannot be forced and intrapreneurs have the natural skills and abilities to think of new ideas and solutions on their own.

Optimists

The optimism of intrapreneurs is great for building a friendly atmosphere because it can encourage other members. It is not very easy to always be optimistic when the repercussions show the opposite, however, they believe in themselves and in the work they do.

The changes they gradually make are executed with hope and optimism, one step behind reaching greatness. It is always about acting on their beliefs and instincts, implementing innovation with dignity and purpose. This does not mean that they believe in perfection constantly, but they try to get as close to it as possible.

Intrapreneurship: Success Stories

Intrapreneurship may sound unreachable or that you are not fit to start the journey on your own. That’s why we prepared a series of examples you didn’t know.

Ford and conversion prototype

One of the most recognized automotive brands from the mass production of its vehicles. In its beginnings it was very rigid in its organizational form but, as time goes by, new trends are being incorporated.

One of their missions is the innovation in their employees to be part of the human resources area. They have adequately developed and implemented their strategy at all levels of the company. They receive around 3,000 proposals and initiatives such as the prototype for converting air condensation into drinking water.

Cemex and Patrimonio Hoy

Cemex is one of the most recognized companies in the world of intrapreneurship thanks to its unconditional support in these areas of employees. They started their journey from the implementation of these two programs:

  1. Growing Platform: In which social projects are studied and supported for their elaboration and development, and then consolidated. For example, Patrimonio Hoy is a technical and materials initiative that helps build low-income housing.
  2. Cemex Ventures: In which innovative initiatives made by intra-entrepreneurs are evaluated and supported. For example, Construyo Contigo or Yo Construyo and Estufas Ecológicas.

Google and Gmail

This company needs no introduction as we all know what it is and this is thanks to its innovation and technology applied to its products. It has stylish offices with a touch of motivation towards its employees. It focuses on promoting entrepreneurship and leadership in the area of human resources.

One of its programs to achieve this goal is the so-called “20% Time”. It is the provision of 20% of the employee’s time for the exploration of areas that interests him/her, generation of ideas and development of projects. As a result of being one of the most effective strategies of the company, Gmail and other new products such as Google News or Google Now were born.

Conclusion

Intrapreneurship requires a series of aptitudes and skills to carry it out correctly. However, it does not mean that only a few people can do it. It is strongly related to the digital era since it not only creates opportunities but also possibilities.

The key is to motivate ourselves and our employees to generate innovative ideas and explore. Effective and dynamic thinking must be proactive in the pursuit of greatness to increase competitiveness.

References

1. Polo, D. (2022, February 15). Intrapreneurship. Concept and types | Gestionar Fácil. Gestionar Fácil. https://www.gestionar-facil.com/intraemprender-concepto-y-tipos/#:~:text=Tipos%20de%20intraemprendimiento&text=En%20primer%20lugar,%20encontramos%20el,y%20operativas%20de%20la%20empresa.
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2. Challenges of the intrapreneur, how to overcome obstacles I Innovation (n. d.). Asset Management: Expertise and sophistication- Grupo Bancolombia. https://assetmanagement.
grupobancolombia.com/wps/portal/innovacion/economia-digital/retos-del-intraemprendedor-como-superar-los-obstaculos

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3. Flores, R. V. (2022, May 14). Intrapreneurship as a strategy to boost a country’s economy. LinkedIn: Log In or Sign Up. https://www.
linkedin.com/pulse/el-intraemprendimiento-como-estrategia-para-impulsar-valdizán-flores/?trk=pulse-article_more-articles_related-content-card&originalSubdomain=es

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4. Troncoso, D. J. (2022, January 7). What Is Intrapreneurship? Definition & Comprehensive Guide. MarketSplash. https://marketsplash.com/intrapreneurship/#link3

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5. Giner, G. J. (2020, May 19). Intrapreneurship: Do you want to revolutionize your company? Escuela de Negocios y Dirección magazine. https://www.escueladenegociosydireccion.com/revista/business/emprendedores/intraemprendimiento-quieres-revolucionar-tu-empresa/

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6. Polo, D. (n. d.). 6 Examples of successful intrapreneurship | Gestionar Fácil. Gestionar Fácil. https://www.
gestionar-facil.com/6-ejemplos-de-intraemprendimiento-exitosos/

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