From our experience, intrapreneurship can only work if the corporate culture allows it to because the employees may begin to think very differently, they may start to take initiatives
which may not even be what the organization or immediate boss wants.
To us, intrapreneurship is basically having a spirit of enterprise within an organization – and it means that you’re taking initiatives and taking your job as you’re running your own business. This means you Act In The Best Interests Of The Organisation.
You will want to help the company increase their profitability, to reduce the costs of their operations, to maybe spearhead or create activities, leads or launches that will really add to the bottom-line of the organization.
It’s really about continuous and never-ending improvement for an organization. And if you’re taking charge of that, you will be known as an intrapreneur.
Every organization will value intrapreneurs because at any point in time, if there’s a retrenchment exercise, who are the people they’ll get rid of? The dead-weight. The people who are just doing what they’re told. But intrapreneurs are people who are continuously looking for ways to create value for the organization. These people will be more valuable and you’ll be the last to be affected in the downturn.
If you’re an employee and perhaps even plan to remain one for the rest of your working days, we still encourage you to learn what entrepreneurship is about.
Why? Because the generalized principles as well as the skills that you need to develop as an entrepreneur are still applicable within an organization. In fact, it gives you an ADDED ADVANTAGE over those who do not have the skillsets of entrepreneurs. Intrapreneurship has the same spirit as entrepreneurship but applied within an organization. We have met CEOs of companies who are hired CEOs and they are exceptional entrepreneurs.
The only difference between entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs is that intrapreneurs are GIVEN the resources they need to make decisions while entrepreneurs have to FIND their OWN
resources. So what are some of the skills we encourage EVERYONE to learn? Examples are: selling skills, negotiation skills, creative thinking, understanding what is considered viable, strategies and business models, understanding how different factors affect the companies’ profitability, and things like that.
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What is Intrapreneurship? – Difference, Features and Examples of Intrapreneurs
Posted by Amitabh Shukla on June 3, 2009 in Entrepreneurship
What is Intrapreneurship? – Difference, Features and Examples of Intrapreneurs
Entrepreneurship is the practice of embarking on a new business or reviving an existing business by pooling together a bunch of resources, in order to exploit new found opportunities.
What is Intrapreneurship?: Intrapreneurship is the practice of entrepreneurship by employees within an organization.
Difference between an entrepreneur and an intrapreneur:
An entrepreneur takes substantial risk in being the owner and operator of a business with expectations of financial profit and other rewards that the business may generate. On the contrary, an intrapreneur is an individual employed by an organization for remuneration, which is based on the financial success of the unit he is responsible for. Intrapreneurs share the same traits as entrepreneurs such as conviction, zeal and insight. As the intrapreneur continues to expresses his ideas vigorously, it will reveal the gap between the philosophy of the organization and the employee. If the organization supports him in pursuing his ideas, he succeeds. If not, he is likely to leave the organization and set up his own business.
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Example of intrapreneurship: A classic case of intrapreneurs is that of the founders of Adobe, John Warnock and Charles Geschke. They both were employees of Xerox. As employees of Xerox, they were frustrated because their new product ideas were not encouraged. They quit Xerox in the early 1980s to begin their own business. Currently, Adobe has an annual turnover of over $3 billion.
Features of Intrapreneurship: Entrepreneurship involves innovation, the ability to take risk and creativity. An entrepreneur will be able to look at things in novel ways. He will have the capacity to take calculated risk and to accept failure as a learning point. An intrapreneur thinks like an entrepreneur looking out for opportunities, which profit the organization. Intrapreneurship is a novel way of making organizations more profitable where imaginative employees entertain entrepreneurial thoughts. It is in the interest of an organization to encourage intrapreneurs. Intrapreneurship is a significant method for companies to reinvent themselves and improve performance.
In a recent study, researchers compared the elements related to entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial activity. The study found that among the 32,000 subjects who participated in it, five percent were engaged in the initial stages of a business start-up, either on their own or within an organization. The study also found that human capital such as education and experience is connected more with entrepreneurship than with intrapreneurship. Another observation was that intraptreneurial startups were inclined to concentrate more on business-to-business products while entrepreneurial startups were inclined towards consumer sales.
Another important factor that led to the choice between entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship was age. The study found that people who launched their own companies were in their 30s and 40s. People from older and younger age groups were risk averse or felt they have no opportunities, which makes them the ideal candidates if an organization is on the look out for employees with new ideas that can be pursued.
Entrepreneurship appeals to people who possess natural traits that find start ups arousing their interest. Intrapreneurs appear to be those who generally would not like to get entangled in start ups but are tempted to do so for a number of reasons. Managers would do well to take employees who do not appear entrepreneurial but can turn out to be good intrapreneurial choices.
Examples of Intrapreneurs:
A lot of companies are known for their efforts towards nurturing their in-house talents to promote innovation. The prominent among them is “Skunk Works” group at Lockheed Martin. This group formed in 1943 to build P-80 fighter jets. Kelly Johnson was the director of the project, a person who gave “14 rules of intrapreneurship”.
At “3M” employees could spend their 15% time working on the projects they like for the betterment of the company. On the initial success of the project, 3M even funds it for further development.
Genesis Grant is another 3M intrapreneurial program which finances projects that might not end up getting funds through normal channels. Genesis Grant offers $85,000 to these innovators to carry forward their projects.
Robbie Bach, J Allard and team’s XBOX might not have been feasible without the Microsoft’s money and infrastructure. The project required 100s of millions and quality talent to make the product.
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”. Intrapreneurship is now known as the practice of a corporate management style that integrates risk-taking and innovation approaches, as well as the reward and motivational techniques, that are more traditionally thought of as being the province of entrepreneurship.
The first written use of the terms ‘intrapreneur,’ ‘intrapreneuring,’ and ‘intrapreneurship’ date from a paper written in 1978 by Gifford & Elizabeth Pinchot. Later the term was credited to Gifford Pinchot III by Norman Macrae in the April 17, 1982 issue of The Economist. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language included the term ‘intrapreneur’ in its 3rd 1992 Edition, and also credited Gifford Pinchot III as the originator of the concept. The term was popularized in 1985 in a best-selling business book by Gifford Pinchot III, Intrapreneuring: Why You Don’t Have to Leave the Corporation to Become an Entrepreneur. Its first use in a major popular publication was in a quote by Steve Jobs, Apple Computer’s Chairman, in an interview in the September 1985 Newsweek article, where he shared, “The Macintosh team was what is commonly known as intrapreneurship &mspace; only a few years before the term was coined &mspace; a group of people going, in essence, back to the garage, but in a large company.” Howard Edward Haller (now a Ph.D.) documented (as his Master’s-in-Management thesis, “Intrapreneurship”) a four-year (1977-1980) case study of a successful intrapreneurship (viz. PR1ME Computer Inc.’s PR1ME Leasing Division) in 1981. The paper was published by VDM Verlag Dr. Müller AG & CoKG, in 2009, as Intrapreneurship Success: A PR1ME Example. [ref. ISBN 978-3-639-17509-7 Amazon.com]
 Employee Intrapreneur
“Intrapreneurship refers to employee initiatives in organizations to undertake something new, without being asked to do so.”  Hence, the intrapreneur focuses on innovation and creativity, and transforms an idea into a profitable venture, while operating within the organizational environment. Thus, intrapreneurs are Inside entrepreneurs who follow the goal of the organization. Intrapreneurship is an example of motivation through job design, either formally or informally. (See also Corporate Social Entrepreneurship: intrapreneurship within the firm which is driven to produce social capital in addition to economic capital.)
Employees, such as marketing executives or perhaps those engaged in a special project within a larger firm, are encouraged to behave as entrepreneurs, even though they have the resources, capabilities and security of the larger firm to draw upon. Capturing a little of the dynamic nature of entrepreneurial management (trying things until successful, learning from failures, attempting to conserve resources, etc.) adds to the potential of an otherwise static organization, without exposing those employees to the risks or accountability normally associated with entrepreneurial failure.
Many companies are famous for setting up internal organizations whose purpose is to promote innovation within their ranks. One of the most well-known is the “Skunk Works” group at Lockheed Martin. The group was originally named after a reference in a cartoon, and was first brought together in 1943 to build the P-80 fighter jet. Because the project was to eventually become a part of the war effort, the project was internally protected and secretive. Kelly Johnson, later famous for Kelly’s 14 rules of intrapreneurship, was the director of this group.
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
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