Liberating Leadership, Innovation and Creativity

INTRAPRENEURIALISM

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The Global Movement Of The Future

What do the dreamers, disruptors, and misfits within your company have in common? They’re your key to future driven success: they’re intrapreneurs. Social entrepreneurs, or intrapreneurs, are employees who think and act like an entrepreneur while working within a large organization. Intrapreneurialism is a global movement that’s sweeping progressive workplaces worldwide, unleashing a new trove of talent and potential. If your organization isn’t utilizing the leadership and creativity at its disposal, you could potentially be missing out on growth.

Intrapreneurs use creativity to think outside of the box, solve problems, and transform their organizations through innovation and passion. When managers allow these high-potential employees work freely, they allow them to create better workplaces, customer outcomes, products, and business models.

This concept isn’t new. The term “intrapreneur” was first noted from a 1978 paper by Gifford Pinchot III and late r by Steve Jobs in 1985 in an inter view: “The Macintosh team was what is commonly known as intrapreneurship; only a few years before the term was coined—a group of people going, in essence, back to the garage, but in a large company.”

More recently, in 2014, e Bay was able to engage in an entirely new market thanks to an employee with an intrapreneurial spirit.

There, of course, have always been go-getters in companies who try to move the needle and push the status quo. But there’s never before been such a push from employees to take ownership in their portion of the company. From Australia to Singapore to the US, organizations are allowing employees to take ownership and boosting morale by creating new divisions, launching initiatives like environmental responsibility or parental leave campaigns, or even by bringing their hobbies to work.

Even though enabling intrapreneurs to move freely within their restraints can lead to more company profit and generally increased productivity at all levels, companies are still finding challenges in the concept of social entrepreneurism. Corporate Immune Systems don’t allow the organization’s structure to support intrapreneurial behavior. Companies struggle due to high levels of defined schedules and tasks that deter opportunities for new ideas to be recognized. They also lack rewards for entrepreneurial behavior which creates a demotivating culture to search for new ideas.

Businesses are also afraid of failure, which is hindering the m from becoming open to intrapreneurialism, innovation, and development. They view innovation as a means to an end result rather than seeing innovation as the end result. This skewed view doesn’t allow new ideas to flourish at all levels within an organization, and instead only allows it to trickle down from the top, usually protecting financial resources by avoiding risk and penalizing failure.

By fearing the act of letting go of micromanagement and allowing employees to express creative thinking, companies are missing out on the positive impacts of intrapreneurialism. They’re not only missing out on a higher bottom line— i.e. profit and growth—but they’re missing out on innovative alternatives to existing solutions, stronger team development and efficacy, and general employee morale. And by now, all leaders and managers should know that companies with high morale have higher levels of productivity and willingness to work in favor of the organization.

This concept isn’t illustrating employees trying to do better at their existing jobs or greedily move up the ladder, it’s about them wanting to improve what is no longer working and create something that doesn’t currently exist.

So how does a company begin to weave intrapreneurialism into the current framework?

CROSSING THE GENERATIONAL DIVIDE

It’s irresponsible and counterproductive to refuse to acknowledge the new workforce. The rise of intrapreneurism is drive largely by young workers who are restless and wanting to make an impact. Millennials want autonomy, creativity, and meaning. If companies allow them to focus on something they find meaningful, they will stay and help the company move forward.

And it isn’t just the kids who are working to change the scope of business. Older generations, perhaps inspired by their younger counterparts, are thinking more about launching new projects and establishing their legacy than before. These intrapreneurs are also important to note because they’ve proven themselves and shown initiative to change for the benefit of the company.

A SAFE SPACE TO CREATE

An organization is only as strong as its employees, which is why encouraging creativity and innovation is a must in today’s corporate landscape. Companies worldwide are beginning to offer programs that encourage employees to create new projects and roles without penalty of failure. You can use formal conferences, webinars, and even career coaches to teach your team members important skills. By allowing teams to grow together, you are creating a sense of pride and camaraderie that will propel your business ahead.