Intrapreneur Definition & Meaning

It’s been promoted to workers as a way to capture the creativity and excitement of entrepreneurship, but with more resources and less risk. If you’re interested in becoming an intrapreneur, the first step is to look into your company’s policies regarding working on personal projects during work hours. Managers at companies with a personal project policy also tend to like to hear about how you’re spending that time, so it’s easy to start a conversation about your intrapreneurial ideas. Deciding whether to pursue a career as an entrepreneur or intrapreneur depends on your goals, personality, and skillset.

Intrapreneurs, on the other hand, work within an existing organization or company. While they are free to develop new ideas and products, they must also work within the established framework of the company. Intrapreneurs must navigate company politics and adhere to corporate policies, which can limit their autonomy and freedom.

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals. As an intrapreneur, your experience is tied to in-demand skills that are transferable anywhere you go, instead of a specific job title. The danger is that this is seen as the only way to make a large impact.

He has shared his business success on several stages, speaking at TechStars and the Aspen Ideas Festival, and recently delivered the closing keynote speech at a national STEM conference. And the benefits of intrapreneurial projects are not just to the corporate bottom line. They generate energy and opportunities for people to step outside their comfort zone and work on the front lines of change.

Those preferences are anathema to working in large companies,” he adds. In her interview with CBS, she explained that her team knows that print users don’t print their photos due to expensive ink cartridges, and Kodak decided to manufacture 50 percent cheaper inks than their rivals. The result was consumers being able to buy $25 inks instead of $60 to $80 from unfamiliar brands such as Konica and Elite Image. In 2007, the firm sold 520,000 units and helped sales to grow by 17% in the 4th quarter of 2007.

The intrapreneur is not to be confused with the “innerpreneur”, a person who aims at personal fulfilment more than at economic gains when creating a business. For innerpreneurs the primary motivation is the need to implement their vision of something the world needs, something that aligns with their values. The fact that company success is still largely measured in terms of profit and loss is a second important barrier, she adds.

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It’s not difficult to let an employee know they are important, even in ways that are nonfinancial. Singling out a worker in a company newsletter, for example, can have a positive effect and go a long way toward making a person feel valued. Rewards that encourage relaxation, like spa treatments, can be used to acknowledge productive employees. When entities stifle intrapreneurship, creating an unsupportive, restrictive work environment where bright ideas aren’t brought to light, intrapreneurs may resign. Your company needs these forward thinkers — they are crucial to growth and success.

  • Intrapreneurship can provide several benefits to both the individual and the company.
  • Also likely on — or accessible — at your desk is Gmail, which grew out of Google’s “20% time,” while the Facebook “like” button was built during one of the company’s hackathons.
  • According to former Google executive, Marissa Mayer, employees aren’t really given the time they need to work on these projects, and would need to give up their personal time with no compensation.
  • The answer might disappoint you, but I would say it is the combination of both.
  • Bring a business perspective to your technical and quantitative expertise with a bachelor’s degree in management, business analytics, or finance.

But there is a difference between entrepreneurship and small-business management. Entrepreneurship involves taking a risk, either to create a new business or to greatly change the scope and direction of an existing one. Entrepreneurs typically are innovators who start companies to pursue their ideas for a new product or service. If you are interested in pursuing a career as an intrapreneur, there are several steps you can take to increase your chances of success.

Intrapreneurship can provide several benefits to both the individual and the company. For the individual, it allows them to showcase their entrepreneurial skills within an established company. They have the opportunity to develop new ideas, take risks and innovate without having to worry about starting a new business from scratch. For the company, intrapreneurship can lead to new products, services or processes that can help the company gain a competitive advantage. It can also lead to increased employee engagement and retention, as employees who are given the opportunity to be intrapreneurs are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and remain with the company long-term. At Nexford University, we provide a comprehensive education that prepares students for both entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship.

Another example could be 3M, who encourage many projects within the company. They give certain freedom to employees to create their own projects, and they even give them funds to use for these projects. (In the days of its founders, HP used to have similar policies and just such an innovation-friendly atmosphere and intrapreneurial reputation.) Besides 3M, Intel also has a tradition of implementing intrapreneurship. Google is also known to be intrapreneur friendly, allowing their employees to spend up to 20% of their time to pursue projects of their choice.

Although her parents tried to talk her out of it, and bagels were virtually unknown in Japan, nothing deterred her. Other trips to New York followed, including an unpaid six-month apprenticeship at Ess-a-Bagel, where Inagi took orders, cleared trays, and swept floors. This focus on modern ideas, and the original thinking that shapes them, has gained popularity. Small businesses are often thought of as the epicenter of this innovation, but established enterprises hold similar potential for development. It’s now a skill company leaders search for in their employees, desiring to harness the power of a creative workforce.

One mistake many businesses make is to stifle the creativity of employers with innovative ideas that have the potential to keep the company moving into the future. While working at Kodak, electrical engineer, Steven Sasson invented and created the first digital camera. When he presented his idea to the executives at Kodak, they saw Sasson’s invention more of a threat than an evolutionary corner for photography. Even though they allowed him to produce a prototype, he was asked to keep his invention quiet and the camera never saw the light of day.

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Highly focused and goal-oriented, doers understand what needs to be done to achieve the desired results and straight away go for it. They are not afraid to speak up or challenge the authority if they believe in something. Thinking outside the box is their forte, and they love doing things differently from the rest of the world. They prefer working individually and do not enjoy a structured style of work.

How to be an intrapreneur: characteristics, traits, and mindset

They are always thinking of the next big idea, and hence there is a possibility of them moving on from one idea to another way too quickly without paying much attention to details. Intrapreneurs are highly aware of how they communicate their unique strengths and work hard to maintain a positive external reputation in order to promote their expertise and services. Because their professional image is important to them, they also have just as strong of a presence online as they do in person. Whether it’s about finding an answer to an ongoing problem or hammering out the details of a new plan, an intrapreneur won’t give up.

Intrapreneurship is an old concept, but it’s yet to make its way into many company cultures.

However, even if that’s the case, there’s nothing wrong with it, as long as there’s no conflict of interest (for example, working on outside projects during work hours or working on something that’s a direct competitor to the company). It takes a certain level of confidence to express creative ideas and proactively start a project. Intrapreneurs are risk-takers, so they trust their actions and aren’t afraid to try something different or learn from trial and error. You can instantly spot an intrapreneur within a company because they treat their job as if it were their own business. Also, an intrapreneur’s ingenuity makes them a star employee—they’re always coming up with resourceful ways to approach challenging situations.

Result Oriented Approach

Their findings indicate that intrapreneurship could be particularly beneficial for transition economies. After a discussion with the then CEO, Cypher organized a team of engineers to develop tools that can create an eBay presence in offline stores. Over the next two years, they did the same for TOMS, Sony, and Rebecca Minkoff. Their initiative achieved a major success, which led to the creation of a new division of eBay allowing employees to solve problems. This resulted in a healthy corporate culture that could nurture great intrapreneurs for the future.

Discover how you can acquire the most important skills for creating a widely successful business. Intrapreneurship through creativity by Wipro in India, a small vegetable company that ended up being a software outsourcing powerhouse. Another example is Tony Hsieh of Zappos, who started as a commercial footwear vendor and became the CEO of Zappos, which has expanded into an online customer experience company. Tom from HEC Paris thinks that these projects have fairly limited outcomes.


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