Intrapreneurship is the practice of organizations fostering an entrepreneurial mindset among their employees and business units. They come up with ways to innovate, take risks, and drive new ideas. To put it simply, intrapreneurs are employees who behave as if they have their own business inside of the business that employs them. But, what does intrapreneurship do for corporate innovation? Let’s find out!
How does Intrapreneurship Drive Corporate Innovation?
Did you know that innovations like Google’s Gmail, Sony’s Playstation, and Amazon’s Prime Service are all products of intrapreneurship? These great innovations might have been impossible under the typical constraints of big companies. However, intrapreneurship is not just for technology companies. Any organization can benefit from intrapreneurship — whether it is a small startup or a large corporation. Let’s discover how intrapreneurship can boost corporate innovation and help you scale your business in this competitive landscape:
1. Enables Continuous Innovation
Employees who operate as intrapreneurs function a bit differently than those who follow the routine. Intrapreneurs go beyond the organization’s requirements to follow their vision. They are self-starters and seek to create innovation internally. They pursue their ideas and want to be successful, and they are willing to work hard to make that happen. This enables continuous innovation, which is beneficial for any business, especially, in the long run.
2. Greater Employee Engagement
One of the biggest benefits of intrapreneurship is that it increases employee engagement. When employees feel like their work is meaningful, they are much more likely to excel. As a result, intrapreneurship also encourages them to find new ways to solve old problems.
For example, Paul Buchheit might not have been able to create Gmail if Google did not have the dedicated 20% time policy. The policy allows Google’s employees to utilize 20% of their working hours to work on projects of their personal interests.
3. Attracts & Retains Top Talent
More engaged employees results in an ideal work culture for innovation. When employees feel like their voice is being heard and their ideas are being recognized and implemented, they are more likely to feel satisfied and fulfilled. This, in turn, makes it easier to attract and retain top talent. Moreover, companies that foster strong intrapreneurship see better re-investment in their ideas and resources.
This is exactly what Vimeo did. It supported the intrapreneurial spirit of one of its top talents, Anjali Sud, who is now the CEO of the company. This only skyrocketed Vimeo’s business! She joined the company as the director of marketing when it was running in losses. As Vimeo encourages intrapreneurship, it gave Anjali a safe environment to experiment with the company’s business model. As a result, she was able to turn the game upside down by shifting the platform’s focus from entertainment to entrepreneurs.
How to Encourage Intrapreneurship in Your Organization?
Now that you know WHY you need to deploy intrapreneurship in your organization, let’s explore HOW you can promote it:
As a leader, there are certain responsibilities that you have to undertake to encourage and sustain intrapreneurship. You need to be aware of intrapreneurial tendencies and committed to developing them strategically. You should also be clear about the firm’s mission and vision, and signal your willingness to listen and adapt.
Convince your team that innovation and entrepreneurial thinking are valued and rewarded. You can encourage people to go beyond their job description and come up with creative solutions to a specific problem by giving them a creative task that relates to their interests and passions. This way, you might even discover new intrapreneurs.
Ideally, an intrapreneur has the resources of an established organization. So, companies should consider intrapreneurship as a capability that requires support, similar to human resources or marketing departments. Clear duties, incentives, and development opportunities should be delineated and included in the process. You can ensure that intrapreneurship gets a slice of the pie by following the 70-20-10 rule of innovation. This means allocating 70% of your innovation activity to core initiatives, 20% to adjacent ones, and 10% to transformational ones. If the employees in your organization have the tools and resources they need to succeed, they will be much more likely to come up with innovative ways to use them.
Convey the Results
Showcase the successes! Nothing is more encouraging to employees than seeing that their ideas are making an impact on the organization. But, at the same time, you should point out the negative results. It is great to allow employees to experiment and try new things, but, it is also important to address failed ideas. This creates a culture where people feel comfortable trying new things, but are also critical of their own ideas so that they can improve next time.
Are You Planning to Implement Intrapreneurship?
So, we can see that Intrapreneurship allows companies to harness the creativity, energy, and ideas of their employees to drive new and creative ideas that have the potential to skyrocket their business. What about your company? Are you already practicing intrapreneurship? If yes, how has it affected your organizational success? Get in touch & let us know!