Intrapreneurship: A Hidden Catalyst for Organisational Growth
Intrapreneurship has quietly become a hot topic in the world of business over the last few years, although it has been in practice in one form or another for decades. This strategy, defined by entrepreneurial behaviours within an existing organization, has the potential to revolutionise how companies innovate and grow. However, to truly grasp its transformative potential, we need to unpack the core definition of intrapreneurship.
What Is Intrapreneurship?
Intrapreneurship, at its core, is the act of behaving like an entrepreneur while working within a large organization. It’s about nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit within the established boundaries of a company, fostering a culture that encourages employees to take initiative, experiment, innovate, and take calculated risks – all with the intent of creating new value.
Intrapreneurs are employees who have the insight to see potential innovative opportunities and the ability to take on the risk in bringing these ideas to life. They seek out innovative solutions to problems and have the determination to see their projects through to the end, all while staying under the umbrella of their parent organization.
An intrapreneur is not just an employee with ideas; they are proactive individuals with an entrepreneurial mindset.
They are often characterised by:
- Innovation: Intrapreneurs consistently look for novel and improved ways to do things. They see opportunities in challenges and are eager to find unique solutions to problems.
- Risk-taking: Like entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs aren’t afraid to take risks. They understand that failure is a part of the path to success and are willing to experiment and learn from their mistakes.
- Proactiveness: Intrapreneurs don’t wait for opportunities to come to them; they seek them out. They are self-starters who actively search for new projects, services, or product development chances.
- Persistence: Despite obstacles and setbacks, intrapreneurs continue to push forward. They are tenacious, understanding that innovation is a marathon, not a sprint.
- Autonomy: Intrapreneurs enjoy a level of independence in their projects. While they operate within the confines of their organization, they have the freedom to control their own venture’s direction.
In today’s fast-paced, innovation-driven business environment, fostering intrapreneurship has become crucial for companies aiming to stay competitive. Intrapreneurs can help companies become more agile and adaptable. They can help drive the changes needed to respond to evolving market trends and customer needs. It enables creativity and innovation that can lead to the development of new products, services, or processes, enabling companies to stay ahead of the competition. It also gives employees the freedom to think creatively and act entrepreneurially can boost their job satisfaction.
Here are some examples of intrapreneurship being used.
Image by: NBC News
Frito-Lay utilized intrapreneurship to create one of its most successful products, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. In the mid-1980s, when the company was struggling, CEO Roger Enrico encouraged all employees to “act like an owner.” Richard Montañez, a janitor at the company, took this as an opportunity to innovate. Identifying a gap in the market for products catering to Latinos, he created a spicy version of Cheetos at home and presented it to the CEO and the board. Impressed by his initiative and creativity, they turned his idea into a product, leading to one of the company’s most successful launches ever. Montañez’s innovative mindset, seizing an opportunity to think and act like an entrepreneur within the company, resulted in his personal success and a multimillion-dollar fortune, as well as significant success for Frito-Lay. His story highlights the transformative potential of intrapreneurship in a corporate setting.
Image by: Legoland MY
LEGOLAND utilised intrapreneurship to significantly enhance the customer experience by addressing the problem of long wait times in queues. A frontline employee, empathizing with the frustrations of parents and children waiting in line for rides, proposed an innovative solution to place tables with LEGO pieces in the waiting areas. This idea allowed children to play and stay entertained while their parents waited, turning a common frustration into a fun distraction. The implementation of this idea not only made life easier for both parents and LEGOLAND employees but also transformed the entire customer experience at the park. The initiative highlights the power of intrapreneurship, where even a single employee’s creative idea, inspired by daily on-the-ground experience, can lead to meaningful and impactful change within a company.
How we aim to foster Intrapreneurship as a marketing agency
- Cultivate an Innovative Environment: We encourage our employees to spearhead new projects by giving them the autonomy and support that they need. Moving way from rigid adherence to traditional business practices will allow space of creativity and new ideas.
- Encourage Skill Development and Entrepreneurial Pursuits: We motivate our staff to learn new skills and engage in entrepreneurial activities such as starting an e-commerce side project, drop shipping, selling on marketplaces like Amazon, Shopee and Lazada. By immersing themselves in these ventures, they can acquire valuable insights into digital marketing and business strategies, enhancing their ability to serve our clients more effectively.
Intrapreneurship offers an exciting new dimension to traditional business structures, offering the stability of an established company with the innovation of a startup. By encouraging and nurturing intrapreneurs within organisations, companies can spur growth, increase agility, and build a stronger, more resilient business.
The world of business is always evolving, and with the rise of intrapreneurship, it’s clear that this evolution is increasingly being driven from within. As we move forward, it will be exciting to see how this trend reshapes the landscape of innovation and organizational growth!