Intrapreneurship and its misconceptions

Intrapreneurship has been around since 3M developed Post-It notes back in 1977. Today, it is even more popular as companies see their employees in a different light. Employees are potential innovators and to stay competitive in the marketplace, you need their innovation.

Facebook’s internal “hackathons” led to their engineers developing software that has turned into real features for the site. Where do you think the infamous “like” button came from?

Intrapreneurship however does have several misconceptions, particularly with the more ‘traditional’ of business owners.

Intrapreneurs will leave my business and take their ideas with them. Firstly, read that sentence again and listen to yourself. Secondly, intrapreneurs will make you, as a business owner look really good. More importantly, it has the potential to make your business grow. Why? It shows that your team are innovating, thinking outside of the box and delivering more value to the overall organization.

Intrapreneurs work longer hours, are simply more productive and their work is taken very personally. Their creativity and passion are infectious, so the impact on the team are huge.

My employees don’t have the stomach for being an intrapreneur. Have you asked them? Most employees, given enough room to grow, feel they have the freedom, flexibility and resources to be an intrapreneur and deliver that value that most companies desperately need. However, from their perspective, they already have enough on their plates and it’s hard to do more without additional incentives and flexibility. Moreover, they are concerned. Is entrepreneurship accepted or encouraged? A huge difference.

Most companies still don’t have formal programs, so it’s not an obvious option for employees to select.

Does your business have an intrapreneurial spirit?


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