Home Entrepreneurship Intrapreneurship as a ‘Game Changer’ In Business Renewal

Intrapreneurship as a ‘Game Changer’ In Business Renewal

by Raheem Shefiu

Intrapreneurship is a potent tool for business renewal. It means entrepreneurship within an existing organization. It refers to initiatives by employees in organizations to undertake new business activities. It involves entrepreneurial behaviors and orientations of existing organizations.

It may be seen as doing new things and departing from the customary to pursue opportunities. It is a process by which individuals inside organizations pursue opportunities without regard to the resources they currently control.

It is a spirit of entrepreneurship within the existing organization or emergent behavioral intentions or behaviors deviating from the customary way of doing business.

It involves looking for new innovation and taking advantage of it. It is an activity of acknowledged importance in companies large and small, old and new. It is an essential means of innovation for competitive advantage, especially in rapidly changing sectors and uncertain economic times.

A special combination of both managerial and entrepreneurial skills defines intrapreneurs. These skills are realized through participation in innovative processes, which can enhance the organization as well as provide direct experience for individuals. “Intrapreneurship supports organizational growth through community rather than individual actions.

It is a special type of entrepreneurship and thus shares many key behavioral characteristics which exist in a firm. It belongs to the domain of employee behavior and thus faces specific limitations that a corporate hierarchy and an intra-organizational context may impose on individual initiative, as well as specific means of support that an existing business may offer to an intrapreneur.

Its characteristics include the creation of a new activity for the organization, It promotes and develops the organization, It is more hazardous than the regular activity of the organization, It implies more uncertainty than the regular activity of the organization, It is operated as a separate business in the future and Its aim is to increase sales, benefits, productivity or quality

Its commandments include coming to work each day willing to be fired, circumventing any orders aimed at stopping your dream,  do any job needed to make your project work, regardless of your job description, find people to help you, follow your intuition about the people you choose, and work only with the best, work underground as long as you can because publicity triggers the corporate immune, be true to your goals, but be realistic about the ways to achieve them and also honor your sponsors.

Intrapreneurs are company employees, but they are supposedly given free rein to run a particular aspect of the company, perhaps a new product line or subsidiary but entrepreneurs are self-employed people running their own company.

They know that if they fail, the company is still going to ensure they have a paycheck, at least for a while because of the system in which they work, intrapreneurs are chosen based mostly on corporate standards, not an entrepreneurial success.

Entrepreneurs don’t necessarily have to worry about if they attended the right school or circulate in the right social circles––they’re worried about making enough money to meet payroll and pay other bills but intrapreneurs are usually selected by a corporate hierarchy and don’t have to worry about building more structure they need to sustain.

They engage proactively in innovation processes leading to successful implementation and exploitation, involving more than just having the initial ‘good idea’. New ideas and creative thought are required but delivery requires the successful individual or team to proceed with persistence and determination throughout the process no matter what obstacles or difficulties are in the path.

Having confidence and experience in organizational politics and dynamics, managing people, and overcoming technical or practical challenges is crucial. They may be self-selected; each bringing different strengths to the innovation process but their success requires organizational support and recognition especially from senior management.

Some important enablers of intrapreneurial activity in a company are the support of the top management to the intrapreneurs, the freedom to fail, and the ability of the management to condone mistakes and create an atmosphere of learning for them.

Allowing employees to introduce and implement innovation within an organization is a means of fostering economic growth. Few innovations have been derived from a flash of genius; most are the result of a conscious, purposeful search for innovation opportunities.

Innovation is both conceptual and perceptual, an intrapreneur, therefore, must look, ask and listen. They must consider people and figures to work out analytically how innovation can satisfy an opportunity. The most effective innovations are simple and focused; they should be directed towards a specific, clear, and carefully designed application.

Organizations employing intrapreneurial strategies have a competitive edge, which boosts economic development. The main reason for this is innovation. Ideas are at the heart of a business, organisations that nurture ideas and innovation in their employees have a better chance of surviving, and thriving, in a competitive economy. Industry leaders are often those who have embraced intrapreneurism.

An intrapreneur’s innovative idea may require capital and company marketing. It may also require ongoing access to proprietary technology and a staff sponsor. Ideas often have the greatest success when they fit the intrapreneur (skills, passion), the market (demand, margins), and the company (expertise, culture).

Creative expression and growth are the most commonly cited reasons for employees setting up on their own. The top management’s inconsistent, intermittent or sporadic enthusiasm or lack of commitment of the top management to the growth of the company as perceived by the employees can kill the entrepreneurial spirit in employees.

This often results in poor follow-up and indifference on the part of the management to intrapreneurial achievements in the organization leading to the non-existence or the presence of weak reward and recognition mechanisms. This, in turn, can remove the steam from the innovation engine in the company.

A high manpower turnover perhaps due to poor human resources policies or a rigid or myopic approach by the top management can hurt the intrapreneurial process. Some companies simply lack the courage to accept failures and instead penalize employees for failures.

While their brochures and slogans declare that the company seeks innovation, their action and words belie this intent creating widespread cynicism. Even an occasional and inadvertent slip in word or action by the top management that signals undermining the spirit of innovation and intrapreneurism in the company is enough to bring the intrapreneurs’ enthusiasm to a grinding halt for a long time to come.

It is important to nurture intrapreneurial employees. Intrapreneurs can provide a fantastic boost to your company’s bottom line. Not only do innovations add to your revenue stream, but they also increase motivation and empowerment among your intrapreneurial employees.

Intrapreneurial employees are typically energetic and enthusiastic, imaginative and inventive. Most likely, they already have ideas for creating new products or services. Perhaps they’re even working on developing their ideas in their off-work hours. So why not provide them the encouragement, resources, and manpower?

If you don’t, they may move on to another company, or they may start their own and become one of your competitors — taking customers and business away from you! Intrapreneurial environments also promote expansion. You are only one person, trying to do a hundred different things all at once.

When you look at the scope of your day, how much time and energy do you have leftover to devote to creating new products and services that could help your company grow? The likely answer is, very little. As the old saying goes, two brains are better than one. So, wouldn’t it make sense to utilize all of the brainpower that you are already paying for? Yes, Nurturing intrapreneurial employees means taking chances, but these chances can pay off big.

Article By: Raheem Shefiu, (Entrepower), entrepowerng@gmail.com, 08038509401

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