Intrapreneur: Team Members Who Promote Innovation

5 Min Read
Intrapreneur: Team Members Who Promote Innovation

Companies rely on innovation to move forward. They need to come up with new offerings that satisfy consumer needs. When an employee is responsible for innovation within an enterprise, this is called intrapreneurship. 

Whatever industry you are in, you must have come across intrapreneurs, and logically you might wonder how important they are to a company. An intrapreneur contributes to an organisation’s success in different ways and knowing how helps businesses capitalise on the concept. 

Depending on how well your company supports intrapreneurship, you can reap great rewards that give your enterprise a competitive edge.

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Intrapreneur Definition and Meaning?

Intrapreneurs definition an Inside Entrepreneur: Meaning an employee who does the same within business with innovation as an entrepreneur does for a start-up. Its roots are firmly based entrepreneurship.

‘Intrapreneur’ and ‘intrapreneurship’ is a relatively new word, first coined by Gifford Pinchot and his wife Libba in a white paper “Intra-Corporate Entrepreneurship” (1985)  

Pinchot definition of an intrapreneurs is “dreamers who do” and “The intrapreneur may be the creator or inventor but it is always the dreamer who figures out how to turn an idea into a profitable reality”

What is an Intrapreneur?

Employees who are given the responsibility of developing new ideas and implementing them within an organisation.

Think of them as entrepreneurs who work within the confines of an already established company. It’s about empowering people to think and act entrepreneurially. Intrapreneurship uses available company resources to come up with concepts, products or services that cater to customer demands. 

These workers are a necessary aspect of business because they facilitate the introduction of new offerings, embrace new ideas and ways of working. 

Pinchot explained that organisations needed to take advantage of intrapreneurship by providing an environment where employees could explore their talents and potential fully. Intrapreneurs are not motivated by money. Rather, they focus on growing their skills and expertise.

Intrapreneurship Examples

Anyone in a company can get into intrapreneurship from the office intern to the CFO.

You can find examples of intrapreneurs in different industries. Some notable ones include:

What is the Role of an Intrapreneur?

If a company is to get the most from intrapreneurship, then it must know what value these employees add. Intrapreneurship sustains innovation. Businesses have to adapt to suit the changing environment. For that, they should be able to create products and services that respond to current consumer needs. Continuous innovation makes this possible.

Encouraging intrapreneurship in an organisation is necessary for growth. The more an enterprise develops new offerings, the bigger the market share. Innovation gives a company a fighting chance against the competition.

Intrapreneurs are not only good for crafting new concepts. They also turn them into projects. Intrapreneurship means being able to explain an idea and structure strategies to make it a reality.

Intrapreneur Qualities

What traits do they have, and what distinguishes them from other employees? 

Innovator: Open-minded to new ideas and new ways of working. Keen to understand why things are working one way, and how those processes could be done differently, and first to take responsibility for creating innovation of any kind.

Entrepreneurial spirit: Not always focused on personal financial gain but the true reward of making things happen, changing and improving things

Passionate: Have a true passion for what you do and with that passion inspire others

Multi-talented: Knowledge and skills in many areas and always excited to learn more.

Determined: They don’t give up very easily. That determination means they will continue until they have achieved what they have set out to.

Difference between Intrapreneurs and Entrepreneurs

Some people don’t get the distinction between intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs, which is understandable, given that they are similar in several ways. Both work in innovation. Entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs are leaders who require strong skill sets to be able to innovate and implement their ideas.

One difference is in the objectives. Intrapreneurs work to further the goals of an existing company. An entrepreneur, on the other hand, grows a business from scratch. For this reason, this professional might have to work alone for some time before being able to hire support staff.

Intrapreneurs have to work within a company’s culture, which can be a tad restrictive. Anything that intrapreneurs develop has to fit in with the corporate vision. Entrepreneurship offers more freedom. You can let your creativity flow in any direction then create your company around it.

A big advantage of intrapreneurship over entrepreneurship is the availability of resources. Intrapreneurs have the resources and capabilities of an organisation at their disposal. Therefore, they operate with less risk. Conversely, entrepreneurs have to bear the costs of innovation and, consequently, the financial risks involved.

Leverage Intrapreneurs

Intrapreneurship is crucial to company success and overall business performance. It provides opportunities for employees to tap into their creativity, skills and potential to come up with new ideas that contribute to the bottom line.

Organisations should know how to leverage intrapreneurs and offer the right atmosphere to grow.

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