Not the poor cousin, rather the cautious adventurer striving for nirvana within.
Republishing my article on Medium posted a year ago.
The realms of an Intrapreneur: There are boundaries. But we can scale and succeed. There is a white-space on which we can carve new innovations.
In simple terms, Intrapreneurs are inside Entrepreneurs. Yes, startup guys and entrepreneurs are cool, courageous and champions of free-spirited innovation. But then there is another creed that has been knowingly or unknowingly ideating and executing new stuff, better prospects, and while ensuring their success. And those stay within any organization. Those who couldn’t dare to break away, or overthought about stability or got over-worried for other priorities.
Who is an Intrapreneur?
Pinchot(1984) defined intrapreneurs as “dreamers who do. Those who take hands-on responsibility for creating innovation of any kind, within a business”.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”.Koch (2014) goes further, claiming that intrapreneurs are the “secret weapon” of the business world.Based on these definitions, being an intrapreneur is considered to be beneficial for both intrapreneurs and large organisations. Companies support intrapreneurs with finance and access to corporate resources, while intrapreneurs create innovation for companies.
The intrapreneur is not to be confused with the “innerpreneur”, a person who aims at personal fulfillment more than at economic gains when creating a business.
I became familiar with this term from my seniors who had stylishly presented this term in his resume probably a decade ago. That certainly caught my fancy. The reason being the term echoes a similar spirit as that of an entrepreneur, albeit within an organization. And while I was trying to inspire myself and trying to discover my inherent skills and capabilities, I felt I might be having some of the traits and if I can enhance more, I can be a successful intrapreneur.
An intrapreneur builds on an idea within an organization as an employee while an entrepreneur builds as an owner of the organization. An intrapreneur can get a team, funding, leadership guidance, infrastructure to build, references to refine from day one. Whereas an entrepreneur can be on his own. Or if funded, an entrepreneur can have some guidance.
All of us are. All of us can be. All of us have been. The moment we started thinking of contributing something fresh, something new to our routine work within our organizations, we became intrapreneurs. Or rather we could have been intrapreneurs.
Yes. As an intrapreneur you will be restrained. You will be consistently supervised. There will be questions. There will be boundaries. But then there will be a challenge within to grow up, to scale up, to overcome the challenge, to prove your idea, to make it successfulThe list is endless.
The case for intrapreneurship
As the article published in Entrepreneur.com refers, many a brilliant products and services which have been quite ubiquitous in our lives are results of inspirational intrapreneurships. Google about “intrapreneurship” you will find lots of examples. Refer this as well: https://intrapreneurship.world/intrapreneurship-ibm-craig-rhinehart/
The list is endless. This list will run in to millions for sure. Given the power of an individual to dream and execute.
The spirit of intrapreneurship is truly empowering. It is a way to enable one to achieve the aspirations to create and innovate. What one wishes to do or believes to have a brilliant idea, intraprenuership helps in realizing that idea. Whatever may be one’s level in the corporate hierarchy. Should there be an idea, may be related to one’s current job function, or beyond that, intrapreneurship could be the path for nirvana.
The fundamentals of executing an idea as an intrapreneur could be similar. Only distinctive difference could be the boundaries are smaller. But never mind. Go for it.
Perspicacity: Whatever idea it could be. Make sure it is clear, achievable. Prepare well before you try to prophesize your idea. make sure you have crafted an extensive informative piece about your idea that includes what, how, who, why, when, where, and most importantly what will be the value yield. What’s the idea. How it can be executed. Who will benefit. When it can be delivered. Where it can be deployed. And what tangible and intangible benefits can be accrued.
Socialization: Speak out. Canvas. Popularize. Publicize. Socialize your idea. In a concerted way though. Even though the idea is disruptive, you need to have a disciplined and diligently planned communications strategy for informal and formal communications. For core and outside of the core audience. You may seek guidance and help from specialists. From people who are optimistic or extreme pessimistic.
First Rush: Build something to show. Rather than just talking about it. Action speaks more than words. At least a wire-frame, skins, or a dummy version with dummy data. The more solid the proof of concept is the more are the chances of its acceptability. Design Thinking, empathy driven ideation and prototyping will help you strengthen your case.
Defined and Dimensional: Set boundaries, and start small. Anytime if you have spoken to a guide or mentor in your university about a thesis scope, you must have been advised of one key thing. Set limits. Define boundaries and boundary conditions. And that will help you to build your idea in phases. Build small achievable phases.
Agility: Smaller goals will help you drive your bigger vision. Agile engagements will help you quicker collaboration, replication, rectification and resurgence.
Intrapreneurship will empower you. Enable you to shred your inhibitions. Showcase what you behold and have been struggling to display. Will certainly give you that possible one chance to win over your case and visibility.
Note: The above article is based on my personal observations and learnings.