What is Intrapreneurship?
An intrapreneur, by definition, is someone who takes an entrepreneurial approach from within a large organization. It is someone who challenges conventional thinking to drive innovation, creative thinking, and new ways of approaching business. The people within your organizations who are intrapreneurial are more important now than ever before. These people are the mavericks, the disruptors, the trendsetters, the researchers, and the connectors.
Who are Intrapreneurs?
When I was hired at Microsoft Canada to lead all PR and communication activity, it was in the midst of the organization’s transformation. My team was responsible for creating compelling stories about technology and the impact on both consumers and businesses. This tactic involved a departure for Microsoft because the company wanted to capture the hearts and minds of consumers and businesses, which would require a new approach.
As a brand, we tried to connect with things that people didn’t typically associate with our brand. One of the ways was to build parallels between arts and technology. For the launch of the Surface 2 tablet, for example, we hired Deadmau5, one of the world’s top electronica DJs to launch the tablet into the Canadian market. Deadmau5 was a strategic fit because he relies heavily on technology to produce his music—a true intersection of passion and technology. By being provocative, different, and disruptive, we were able to drive a change in direction and have a meaningful impact. Because of advancements in technology and globalization, intrapreneurs are more important than ever. Markets are more connected than ever before, and we can do business anywhere, and at any time, without boundaries. As a result, competition is fierce, and the barriers to entry are low.
5 Qualities of an Intrapreneur
- Intrapreneurs are disruptive because they ask people within the company to do things differently. People are not necessarily okay with that. It involves being stopped in your tracks and seeing something in a radically different light.
- Intrapreneurs have a natural ability to spot trends and see things before they happen, and this ability is largely driven by solving problems. Whether these solutions involve social, economic, or cultural trends and occurrences, intrapreneurs are constantly researching, observing, and reading.
- Intrapreneurs cultivate ideas. They are not necessarily only ideas people, but when you speak to them about an idea, it germinates and stays with them so that the next time you meet with them, that idea has flourished into a full, drawn-out plan based on a seed of the idea. Intrapreneurs know that people may have objections to the idea or plan. Given these potential obstacles, they have thought the idea through three or four steps further and worked to fill all gaps.
- Intrapreneurs know how to pivot. They can essentially change directions and do so without fear based on an innate inner confidence and strong intuition that drives them toward the end goal. They remain focused, which is important because change is constant in business.
- Intrapreneurs are driven by passion and by what they really believe in. Whether it means a cause, idea, or solution, they are really passionate about it, and when you are passionate about what you are doing, you naturally and organically do your best work possible.
Written by Chitra Anand, Communications Executive and Advisor to High-Growth Companies; edited and produced by Kelsey Bober, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education