Intrapreneurship is an organizational culture, where the employees are capable of making entrepreneurial decisions while solving different problems and issues. Just like entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship also revolves around one of the most talked about topics of the 21st Century i.e. ‘innovation’. According to Gifford Pinchot III, “Intrapreneurs are employees who do for corporate innovation what an entrepreneur does for his or her start-up.”
Attaining Innovation is what drives intrapreneurs and to achieve that they concentrate on creative problem solving, calculated risks and overall growth of the company. The Gmail inbox, Google AdSense, Mac, iPhone, Post-It sticky notes are examples of some of the fruits reaped by the most iconic companies on account of encouraging intrapreneurship.
Kodak is one of the most used examples in the business arena. One of the reasons for its failure is discouragement towards intrapreneurship. Steven Sasson, an electrical engineer at Kodak invented the first digital camera. Instead of giving it a boost and considering the idea, they took the situation as a threat for the company. They did not capitalize to what could have been their avenue for market dominance. Likewise, failure of Nokia is also considered to be a result of short-sighted outlook towards intrapreneurship.
Today, intrapreneurship is promoted by a lot of modern companies. Google gives its employees the privilege of coming up with innovative ideas which can be applied in the company and it’s services. This promotes amity between the company and the employees which enhances their commitment and sense of purpose towards their work and ultimately towards the organization.
So how do we introduce and adapt to intrapreneurship? Intrapreneurship should be a part of a company’s objective itself because all the other objectives should be friendly with the concept and mechanisms of intrapreneurship. Companies with conservative ways, should be open to flexibility while making decisions. Intrapreneurship is achieved when there are intrapreneurs in a company. According to Forbes, there are five different ways to create intrapreneurs in the workplace. Firstly, the company should revise the employee’s operational process. Job description plays a major role in attracting possible intrapreneurs. It’s important to match an employee’s gifts with your company’s needs. Job descriptions should convey the message of intrapreneurship culture being implemented in the company and make sure everyone is familiar with the concept and mechanisms. Personality tests can play a significant role in identifying the skills, strengths and weaknesses of the employees and influence them accordingly. This helps to delegate the employees at the right intrapreneurial venture.
Switching roles help employees make the most out of their interests and skills. There are a lot situation where the employees stay stagnant and productivity goes down. Role changes bring more out of those employees and are more happier to be able to utilize more of their talents and skills. But, roles should not be switched often. It may lead to lack of consistency and increased confusion. Pay structure should align with the efforts of the employees. Intrapreneurship demands calculated risks and in case of such efforts, the employees must be rewarded for both quality and quantity of work. Rewards should be both intrinsic and extrinsic which could range from congratulating a team member to bonuses and gift cards.
Intrapreneurship is not just a one sided effort. To achieve a successful intrapreneurship culture, the employees should be willing and have an aligning mindset towards the topic. So, how can employees complement the effort of companies into establishing intrapreneurship? Clinton Senkow, a serial entrepreneur, startup advisor, and public speaker explains the process. It deals with focusing on what you’re good at and empowering your team. We as human beings tend to focus on overcoming our weaknesses and give less importance towards what we’re good at. Instead, we should focus on our natural strengths more in order to make the most out of what we intend to achieve. If you’re leading a team, empower the members. Top companies today are not excelling just because of their executive team. It’s the empowerment culture the employees work according to.
Intrapreneurship, without doubt is a progressive culture. It enhances relationships, breeds innovation and makes employees happier. Working at a company which limits the abilities of the employees is a mechanism of the past. The newer generations don’t prefer that and to attract skilled and young employees today, intrapreneurship is a pre-requisite for any company.