What Is Intrapreneurship?

Intrapreneurship is a system that allows an employee to act like an entrepreneur within a company or other organization.

Intrapreneurs are self-motivated, proactive, and action-oriented people who take the initiative to pursue an innovative product or service. An intrapreneur knows failure does not have a personal cost as it does for an entrepreneur since the organization absorbs losses that arise from failure.

Understanding Intrapreneurships

An intrapreneurship creates an entrepreneurial environment by allowing employees to use their entrepreneurial skills. It allows the freedom of experimentation and growth within an organization.

Intrapreneurship fosters autonomy and independence while attempting to find the best resolution. For example, intrapreneurship may require employee research and recommend a more efficient workflow chart to a company’s brand within a target group or implement a way to benefit company culture.

Intrapreneurs are able to resolve specific issues such as increasing productivity or cutting costs. This requires a high level of skill—namely leadership skills and thinking outside the box—directly applicable to the assignment. An intrapreneur also takes risks and drives innovation within a business to better serve the marketplace through increased goods and services.

A successful intrapreneur is comfortable being uncomfortable while testing his or her ideas until achieving the desired results. He or she is also able to interpret trends in the marketplace and visualize how the company needs to evolve to stay ahead of its competition. The intrapreneur is part of a company's backbone and the driving force mapping out the organization’s future.

[Important: Intrapreneurs are tasked with using the company's resources, while entrepreneurs use their own.]

Key Takeaways

  • Intrapreneurship is a system which allows an employee to act like an entrepreneur within an organization.
  • Intrapreneurs are self-motivated, proactive, and action-oriented people who have leadership skills and think outside the box.
  • Intrapreneurship is one step toward entrepreneurship—intrepreneurs can use what they've learned as part of a team to develop their own businesses.

Intrapreneurship Leading to Entrepreneurship

Intrapreneurship is one step toward entrepreneurship. Intrapreneurs can develop and use their creativity to enhance existing goods and services within the context of the business, all without any of the risk attached to being an entrepreneur. Using these skills as part of a team lets the intrapreneur test theories and determine which methods are most effective for solving problems.

Intrapreneurs may use what they've learned as part of an organization's team to create their own company and reap the benefits of their hard work rather than letting another organization profit from their ideas.

Intrapreneurship and Millennials

A majority of Millennials are embracing the intrapreneurial style of work. They desire meaning, creativity and autonomy when working. Millennials want their own projects to develop as they help their companies grow.

By including employees from every age group when resolving issues, a variety of answers are proposed and resolutions determined in a more efficient manner, benefiting everyone in the organization.

Example of Intrapreneurship

Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies, decided to do away with individual offices within three months of starting his job in 2014. He believed an open office led to more sharing of ideas and added greater value to the organization. Haidamus interviewed more than 100 engineers individually to determine which technologies had the greatest chance of being successful in the marketplace at the time.