Creativity and out-of-the-box thinking are just two of the features that an intrapreneur should develop

Being an Intrapreneur: staff innovators as valuable company assets

An intrapreneur is not an ordinary employee but a “corporate entrepreneur” with a creative business approach

We are usually more familiar with the word entrepreneur, but what about the term Intrapreneur? ‘Intrapreneurs are employees of a company who are assigned to work on a special idea or project. They are given the time and freedom to develop the project as an entrepreneur would. However, they are not working solo. Intrapreneurs have the resources and capabilities of the firm at their disposal.’

We are dealing with a term coined by Gifford Pinchot III in 1978 and described as “dreamers who do”: ‘intrapreneurs are employees who do for corporate innovation what an entrepreneur does for his or her start-up.’

What are the most important skills and qualities that an intrapreneur should have in order to meet the expectations of a big company?

Be incredibly persuasive and charismatic

First of all, an intrapreneur has to bring value, innovation and a new vision in the corporation. The fact that intrapreneurs are granted with various resources and capabilities doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be productive just like other professionals within the working environment. Adding value to the business using a creative and innovative approach requires solid public speaking skills. In case of having to pitch a project, intrapreneurs must be persuasive, empathic and dynamic. ‘For intrapreneurs, the first step is securing buy-in from your organization through a persuasive pitch — very similar to how a start-up gets investors. Now, however, you must secure something even more difficult than financial support. You must persuade a large organisation with a large employee community to trust that your new and often off-the-wall ideas will benefit everyone.’ Being persuasive enough implies also having charisma in order to make everyone feel involved in a project.

Have a high level of creativity

An intrapreneur is an extremely creative individual that uses his out-of-the-box mindset to constantly challenge the existing “rules of the game”. We are dealing with that type of professional that doesn’t follow a conventional or static paradigm, on the contrary, he tries to approach problems from an original point of view: “unlocking creativity and finding that spark of ingenuity is how successful intrapreneurs separate themselves from the pack”. The use of technology is part of this role, because it enables to apply an agile and innovative working method.

Be committed to innovation

Everyone talks about innovations or being innovative, but what does this really mean? According to the Business Dictionary:  ‘To be called an innovation, an idea must be replicable at an economical cost and must satisfy a specific need. Innovation involves deliberate application of information, imagination and initiative in deriving greater or different values from resources and includes all processes by which new ideas are generated and converted into useful products. In business, innovation often results when ideas are applied by the company in order to further satisfy the needs and expectations of the customers.’ In case of an intrapreneur, the main purpose is to use an innovative and imaginative approach in order to give value and transform a plain project into a special one. But what do we actually mean by “special”? We intend a project or a business plan that has out of the ordinary features and can become a part of the corporation’s portfolio. An intrapreneur proves to be innovative when he or she sets the tone for a new innovative working style.

An intrapreneur is not afraid to fail and learn from his or her mistakes

According to Entrepreneur Europe, ‘intrapreneurship is not for the faint of heart, and knowing how to fail is absolutely paramount to success. As was true back in your company’s start-up days, not every idea you have now is going to catch fire, and your projects will face setbacks. If you are tempted to lose heart and turn away upon encountering the first hurdle, intrapreneurship isn’t for you, especially now that the fate of a large organization with a sizable workforce rests on your shoulders.’ An intrapreneur shouldn’t be afraid of failure and must use all his problem-solving and creative skills in order to overcome daily challenges. Obstacles are part of every professional path, especially in the case of intrapreneurship, because the rules of the game change rapidly. This is the price one has to pay for being truly bold, innovative and valuable.

Of course, an intrapreneur is not a lonely and isolated person within the corporation, he or she is part of a complex team that supports him. Being a good team player allows this type of individual to use at fullest all the resources and capabilities that the company can offer.

If you are fascinated with this inspiring topic of intrapreneurship, you can’t miss the ‘5 Best New Intrapreneurship Books To Read In 2019’. Reading this literature will give you a perspective on the matter, many examples, numerous case studies, and new methodologies that you can learn from.

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