Definition: Intrapreneurship is composed of ‘intra’ and ‘preneurship’; where intra refers to an integral part, preneurship is to take charge of something. Thus, intrapreneurship is a practice of nurturing the entrepreneur that hides within an employee by initiating and turning his/her idea into a real project for organizational growth.
An intrapreneur is an intellectual employee of the organization who pertains the quality of an entrepreneur. He/she is recognized and encouraged by the company. Also, an intrapreneur’s idea is strategically implemented in the organization and undertaken as a new project for business development.
Features of Intrapreneurship
Intrapreneurship is actualizing an employee’s idea for the company’s prosperity without expecting any investment from the intrapreneur.
Let us figure out the multiple characteristics that differentiate intrapreneurship from entrepreneurial management:
- Innovative Approach: Intrapreneurship is the new era business approach which utilizes the employee creativity and ideas for corporate success.
- Intrapreneur’s Zero Investment: The employee who acts as an intrapreneur doesn’t have to invest anything in the new project except his or her creative mindset.
- Mutual Benefit: With intrapreneurship, not only the organization grows immensely but also the employees gain recognition, confidence and belongingness towards the company.
- Diversification: It’s all about respecting the ideas from the employees belonging to different castes, age group, backgrounds, gender, culture and even nationalities.
- Repatriation Ideology: Intrapreneurship is a transformational concept since the ideas flared by the intrapreneur leads to the development of the existing business, products and process.
- Profit-Sharing Agreement: The intrapreneur can even get monetary benefits when the company provides him or her a share in the profits made out of the initiated idea.
- Planned Risk: An intrapreneur’s idea goes through a feasibility and reality check before its implementation to the business process.
- Value Addition: While intrapreneurship makes the business competitive, it also adds value to the achievements of the intrapreneur.
One of the finest examples of intrapreneurship is the hack-a-thon hosted by Shutterstock every year. The event goes on for 24 hours with additional 4 hours allotted at the end for demo presentation.
The whole concept is to bring out the hidden entrepreneurial skills within the employees in the form of progressive ideas flourishing in their minds.
Ultimately, the company benefits from such intrapreneurial practice by maximizing sales and profit. Also with this strategy, the company can strengthen its brand image, streamline its process and become competitive.
Some of the most popular Shutterstock features like Oculus and Spectrum (a colour based search tool) have emerged from such hack-a-thons.
A company when proceeds with intrapreneurship practice, it steps forward as below:
- Encourage Employees to Give Idea: The process begins with inspiring the workers to present their innovative thoughts before the designated authority or management.
- Compare the Idea with Organizational Norms: The idea proposed by an intrapreneur should be correlated with the corporate vision, objective, mission, requirement, perception and values.
- Analyze the Idea Thoroughly: Next is figuring out the feasibility of the intrapreneur’s idea and also if there is any scope for improvement.
- Conceptualize and Pitch the Idea: At this stage, the idea is presented in front of business associates, teams, investors and also customers when comes to industrial products.
- Conduct SWOT Analysis: Now is the phase where a reality check of the project is carried out by decoding the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with it.
- Support and Implement the Idea: Lastly, the idea is moulded and put into practice in the form of a new project for business growth.
Importance of Intrapreneurship
Why does a company adopt intrapreneurial practice?
Following are the various reasons for taking up intrapreneurship as an organizational strategy:
- Imparts Leadership: The employees become more responsible and develops leadership skills when the ideas initiated by them are recognized by the company.
- Ensures Growth: The betterment of the business lies in the hands of the innovative minds possessed by an organization in the form of intrapreneurs.
- Initiates Change: Adopting new business methods and techniques can take the company to new heights, this is the ultimate aim of intrapreneurship.
- Employee Engagement: With intrapreneurship opportunity, the workers connected and loyal towards the organization and works with more enthusiasm.
- Employee Empowerment: The employees get a chance of taking initiative and decision making which ultimately results in their empowerment.
- Innovation and Creativity: Business is all about new ideas and intrapreneurship paves way for some of the most positive changes in the organization initiated by its manpower.
- New Market Penetration: When an intrapreneur looks at business with a new perspective, the doors towards the uncaptured market opens up for the organization.
Benefits of Intrapreneurship
Intrapreneurship has dual advantages, on one hand where it provides recognition to an employee, on the other hand, it takes the organization to a new height.
Give below are some of the most common pros of intrapreneurship:
- Avail New Opportunities: For the business, an intrapreneur brings some of the most extraordinary opportunities that open up the way towards success and development.
- Provides Competitive Advantage: When the competition is strenuous, intrapreneurship can provide an edge to the organization.
- Profit Maximization: With innovative projects proposed by the intrapreneurs, a company can accelerate its sales as well as profitability.
- Employee Motivation and Engagement: It is a great strategy to encourage, inspire and commit the employees towards their work and the company as well.
- Nourishes Employee Capabilities: The hidden entrepreneur within an employee flare-up when the company adopts intrapreneurial practice.
- Make Future Leaders: The upcoming managers and CEOs are usually ones who have added value to the firm as intrapreneurs at some point in time.
- Strengthens Brand Image: A company that values the intellect and ideas of its employees, gain a positive brand image among the human resource pool.
Barriers to Intrapreneurship
A company faces numerous hurdles while bringing intrapreneurship into practice, and so does the budding intrapreneurs. Let us discuss these shortcomings below:
- Existing Business Model: The prevailing business norms and structure may hinder the intrapreneurship applicability in the organization.
- Multiple CEOs: When there are more than one CEO in the company, the intrapreneurial practice may not be openly welcomed by all of them.
- Employee Turnover: Sometimes, the talented employees leave the organization in search of more promising and rewarding opportunities
- Employee Perception: If the employees take an intrapreneurial opportunity as a burden it may not provide the desired results.
- Scalability: It is quite difficult to implement an idea at a large scale within a short span.
- Poor Market Response: There is a high risk of rejection from the customers if the new product or service is not as per the standards.
- Conceptualization: It can be highly challenging to covert an intrapreneur’s idea into reality.
- Corporate Politics: An intrapreneur’s idea may face setback due to dirty office politics discouraging and limiting employees.
Companies today understood the value of the human resource for staying ahead in business. Intrapreneurship is also one such tool used by the organizations to covert an employee’s idea into a realistic project for business success and rewards him/her in return.