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The New ‘PRENUER' on the Block

The INTRApreneurs are rare asset to an organization who choose to respond innovatively to every challenge that life throws at them.

The New ‘PRENUER' on the Block

Monday November 13, 2017,

4 min Read

Ralph Waldo Emerson rightly said, “What lies before us and what lies behind us are small things as compared to what lies ‘within us’ - and when we showcase it to the world, miracles happen.” This stands true for all those hard-core innovative incumbents or the ambitious intrapreneurs who are born with a gleam to galvanize and conquer.

They’re enterprising and inventive.

They’re not scared of taking risks no matter which stage of their career they’re currently in.

They’re willing to instigate big transformations within an established organization.

They’re just happy doing whatever task comes their way and they’re underpaid employees.

They’re not afraid of hard work and long working hours.

Yes, I am talking about those star employees – the INTRApreneurs. These ‘Type A’ go-getters are a rare asset to an organization who choose to respond innovatively to every challenge that life throws at them. These fervent folks strive to drive change from their current position, where the funding and infrastructures are already in place.

How did the word ‘intrapreneur’ originate?

Originally, the word ‘Intrapreneur’ was coined in 1978 by Gifford Pinchot III and his beloved wife Elizabeth Pinchot. In June 1982, Howard Edward Haller published the first formal case study on the intrapreneurial creation of “PR1ME Leasing”. Later, Steve Jobs in an interview with Newsweek article mentioned:


“The Macintosh team was what is commonly known as intrapreneurship… a group of people going, in essence, back to the garage, but in a large company.”

Let’s delve a little deeper into origination and history of the word Intrapreneur:

The concept of ‘intrepreneurship’ is nothing new. It has been there for many decades, but got lost in the corporate setting. Or probably, the individuals (as the internal incubators) were unable to prove their entrepreneurial attitudes and new venture ideas in existing bureaucratic organization’s structure. They were either underpaid or overworked.

Believe it or not, there has always been a rare breed of extraordinary people who self-identify themselves as meticulous employees. In almost all the big corporate organizations I’ve been associated with, I met several exceptionally talented individuals who could have proved their value to the company as a ‘visionary entrepreneur’ and grow from corporate obscurity. But, a lot of them don’t even recognize themselves as a highbrow business influencer and fail to get their talent recognized on the ‘corporate radar.’

The Rise of the Heroic Intrapreneur

In today's era of competition, many organizations are getting agiler and giving significant consideration to the value of people 'the intrepreneurs' to become more dynamic. Far beyond workplace bureaucracy and endless layers of gatekeepers, these visionary leaders are being encouraged to actively involve in work collaborations and bring their ‘new venture ideas’ to life. These high-potential employees are free to execute the combined power of innovative problem-solving skills along with an entrepreneurial mindset to approach business challenges and achieve a high level of growth.

Mr. Sundar Pichai is a great example of such workplace collaboration. As a part of a small team, he used to work on Google’s search toolbar and the success of this toolbar gave Google its very own browser. His idea was first met with a lot of cynicism in terms of its cost and capability. But, Pichai convinced the management and played a pivotal role in Google Chrome launch. And Bingo, Google Chrome became the No.1 web browser that surpassed chief competitors – Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera.

Several big companies today are actively promoting intrapreneurship where they allow their employees to spend at least 10 to 20 percent of their time on innovative ideas that are outside their usual KRAs. Many of them are encouraging the employees who have an intrepreneurial mindset to take ownership of their own corner within the existing company's structure and drive impact.

To cultivate the spirit of intrapreneurship at the workplace, some organizations are trying out these strategies as a bottom-line necessity and lure out the shared-value minded intrepreneurs:

- Fostering a collaborative environment at the workplace where people are encouraged to do the more creative thinking and come up with new ideas.

- Integrating corporate leadership and individual teams within an intrapreneurial framework.

- Hiring processes are undergoing a drastic transformation with primary focus building an employee base that is innovative and agile.

- Giving better exposure to employees in the form of resources, trends, insights, and best practices that can accelerate their work efficiency.

- Actively identifying hidden innovators by conducting 'innovation activities' and 'brainstorming sessions' more widely.

Remember: the future belongs to those companies who are agile and ready to embrace the rising spirit of intrapreneurship – inside and outside.