The term “intrapreneur” has reemerged in recent years, but it was coined in 1978, and given the elegant definition of “dreamers who do.”
Your intrapreneurs are the people already in your company who have many of the same attributes as an entrepreneur. They know how to take calculated risks to add value and solve problems. Sadly, however, many companies fail to encourage such thinking and may actively quash intrapreneurial spirit. When they do, they can count on those intrapreneurs eventually jumping ship to another company that is more supportive or quitting and starting their own business.
What Can Your Intrapreneurs Do for Your Company?
Companies are wise to support intrapreneurship because intrapreneurs add value in many ways. The ones who are encouraged confer a competitive advantage, improve corporate culture, lead to a healthier corporate bottom line, and can reduce time to market. Why wouldn’t a company want to encourage intrapreneurship?
Intrapreneurs have the qualities that companies look for in all employees, including self-awareness, confidence without arrogance, modesty without meekness, and a purposeful approach to work. Yet they don’t have blinders on, showing up just to complete tasks and collect their paychecks. Intrapreneurs are constantly looking out for better ways to do things and innovative ways to solve problems. They do for their company what entrepreneurs do for startups.
How to Encourage Intrapreneurship
Companies that reap the maximum value that intrapreneurs offer are the ones that do these seven things:
- Take the time to identify intrapreneurs within the organization.
- Give people permission to challenge the status quo.
- Teach skills necessary to carry out pilot projects and generally get great ideas on their feet.
- Have a defined process for evaluating innovative ideas.
- Have documented processes for bringing winning ideas to production.
- Quantify the value added by innovation and intrapreneurial spirit.
- Reward innovation and intrapreneurship.
How many of these things is your company doing? Does your management listen when people have innovative ideas? Do you find you have a hard time holding onto your top talent? Stamping out intrapreneurship may make things easier in the short term, but over the long term it essentially hands over innovation and competitive advantage to competitors.
Internal Crowdsourcing: A Prime Example of Intrapreneurs in Action
Some companies, like Google, set aside a certain number of hours per week for employees to work on innovative ideas that are not a part of their everyday responsibilities. You don’t have to do that, but you can still take advantage of the benefits of intrapreneurship through internal crowdsourcing.
Companies that are successful with internal crowdsourcing are ones that first, promote intrapreneurship and second, have a defined process for collecting, evaluating, and promoting great ideas. Many of them use platforms like IdeaScale that are designed specifically for that purpose.
You can learn more about how to nurture intrapreneurship by downloading our free infographic that’s packed with actionable information.
Sticking with the status quo is no longer a safe bet for keeping a business operating over the long term. Innovation and change are all around, and technology is developing at a rate that can be hard to match. Your company may be filled with intrapreneurs that you may not even recognize. Why not find out who they are and encourage their efforts?
Innovation is going to happen, so why not cultivate it within your own organization and benefit from it? Intrapreneurs are everywhere, and with the right environment and encouragement, they can take business operations to another level or discover exciting new areas of growth for your company. If you would like to learn more about the best platform for empowering intrapreneurs, IdeaScale invites you to request a free demo today.