The Power of the intrapreneurship

Rafat Abushaban

- Articles and Thoughts #  O 4.8K views   اقرأ بالعربية

Intrapreneurship as the new Research and Development alternative for existing businesses

Established organizations (Businesses, non-profits, and public) usually have a set way of doing things for good reasons. They may have tried what works before, or they may adopt standardized approaches for production or doing business to keep the cost down as possible.
While the traditional method of doing business operations is good for various reasons, it hinders innovation and disruption. In a fast changing world, organizations must be swift and flexible to new technologies and methods otherwise they will become obsolete.

This can be clearly seen from the recent COVID-19 epidemic as many businesses have been negatively affected, while others managed not only to sustain but thrive due to being flexible and agile in tough times

Intrapreneur vs. entrepreneur


Here, we find that practices for entrepreneurship can be proven beneficial to help adopt new innovative approaches without disrupting every-day business. This is why a lot of organizations today embrace the principle of "Intrapreneurship".

The intrapreneur is someone associated with an existing business or organization as an employee who has superior knowledge in certain areas that enable him/her from leading an effort of change in the organization focusing on one of the following activities:

  • Introducing a new business product
  • Introducing a new approach of doing business
  • Launching actions and activities that are not directly curated by the organization, in the hopes of adopting them if they prove beneficial

The difference between this and entrepreneurship is that the intrapreneur takes less risk than an entrepreneur does, which stems from the fact that an intrapreneur relies on resources already available at an existing business.

Summary:An intrapreneur is someone associated with an existing business, who focuses on developing a new approach of doing business or introducing a disruptive idea

Are you an intrapreneur?

Intrapreneurs tend to have several traits in common. These include:

  1. Resilience
    Intrapreneurs have to be resilient to be able to face roadblocks and challenges, and realize their vision.
  2. Holistic
    Intrapreneurs have to be holistic with their vision. I.e. they need to see the full picture of how an idea or innovation will integrate within a current ongoing business. This includes technical, financial, and other constraints.
  3. Curious
    Intrapreneurs need to have wild ideas and curiosity that makes them think beyond the traditional set guidelines within the business.
  4. Challenging & confident
    Intrapreneurs need to have confidence in themselves and their ideas and be willing to challenge the status-quo. This is particularly necessary when working within traditional business hierarchies.
  5. Connected
    Usually, new innovations need resources, manufacturers, new markets, and so on. Having connections in the industry helps a lot in getting the vision of the intrapreneur to light.
  6. Passionate
    Finally, intrapreneurs need to be passionate about what they are doing and trying to achieve. It is not enough to have great ideas and be able to implement them- they need to know why these ideas will benefit others.

Benefits of intrapreneurship

Embracing intrapreneurship in organizations can bring a number of benefits on the business level:

  • Exploring approaches, products, technologies and systems that can benefit the organization financially or otherwise
  • Limiting the risks for the organization to adopt new technologies and approaches until they are found beneficial.
  • Experimenting with new approaches and processes with minimum overhead
  • Launching actions and activities that are not directly curated by the organization, in the hopes of adopting them if they prove beneficial

Nurturing intrapreneurship

It is essential for organizations to nurture and promote the culture of entrepreneurship in the form of "intrapreneurship". This can be done by kicking off intrapreneurship projects and giving them enough financial and time resources, flexibility, autonomy, and access to knowledge sources they may need to utilize .

On the other hand, employees with skills should come forth proposing intrapreneurship projects for their managements and pitching their benefit for the organization. You can learn how to do a great pitch here.

It is worthy to mention that wise leaders will want to embrace change, but need to think for the long-term and weigh the risks. While bringing in new inn ovations to the business would be ideal, it is not half-bad to consider Minnovation as an aim for an internal intrepreneurship initiative. Check out what Minnovation is and how it differs from innovation.

Rafat Abushaban

Founder of Riable and consultant to several international organizations in entrepreneurship education and researcher in innovation systems and seed funding methods with 10+ years of practical experience in the MENA region, Europe, US and S.Korea
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