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  • Sahil Shaikh

INTRAPRENEURSHIP, INNOVATION AND EMPLOYEES

In these times of information, organizations are operating in an agile, complex, technologically advanced, and constantly changing environment. Organizations are faced with extensive changes in the consumer needs, and new categories of competition not only from the established businesses but also from the new age startup’s and substitutive products. In order for organizations no matter their size is to survive in this agile environment, they must be flexible and frequently create new ideas for developing their employees along with new products and ways of management and this can be accomplished through innovation. It has been proven in the past and in current that carrying out innovations is the only function which is fundamental in history and we should consider innovation as the one genuine advantage any organization will have over their rivals or competitors. In today’s article, I will talk about Intrapreneurial employees and how it is one of the proven and effective methodology for allowing innovation to flourish in an employee and in an organization, exhibiting the benefits of intrapreneurship and how organizations can encourage intrapreneurship


Terminology

The founding father of the concept and term of intrapreneurship was the president of Pinchot Co. Mr.Gifford Pinchot, the term was first coined as ‘intra-corporate entrepreneurship’ and later abbreviated to ‘intrapreneurship’ . and was called as the new class of intra-corporate entrepreneurs, ‘intrapreneurs’”.


Intrapreneurship is “the development of employees within an organization of internal cornerstones and independent units or departments designed to create and expand improved and/or innovative staff services, technologies or methods within the organization”. Intraprenuership is the process of “encouraging employees to explore high risk, high reward ideas within the safety and support of large well established corporate structures.


An intrapreneurial employee is “someone who fills the entrepreneurial role inside any organization”, or can simply define an intrapreneur as “an employee who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk taking and innovation. To further simplify the nature and role of an intrapreneur it can be stated that it is a creative and ambitious employee who is always thinking out of the box to find new solutions for old or new problems, someone who brings about new ideas in an organization and follows them until they become practical solutions, or someone who takes an existing or develops a new idea and moves it forward in the organization to the excision regardless of all the obstacles. Intrapreneurial employees don’t take no for an answer.


The nature and personality of entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs are quite close to each other. More specifically an intrapreneur “may not be an ideal organizational person: they may, and generally does, lack patience and the capacity to delegate and also find it difficult to work within the confines of organizational procedures and hierarchies. Intrapreneurs constantly think about what is next, one step into the future. They are passionate change agents and are highly engaged, very clear, and visibly consistent in their work and interactions. They are not sitting around waiting for the world to change; they’re figuring out which part of the world is about to change, and they will arrive just in time to leverage their new insights. Learning is like oxygen to them.


Ideology

The most discouraging fact of big corporate life is the loss of what made them big in the first place- Innovation. Hence organizations must utilize all possible intellectual resources they can have their hands on, also innovation in corporate life has to be tough enough to push an idea through, an organization’s major intellectual capability lies in the minds of their employees.

Now, should businesses exploit these capabilities, they will obtain a notable competitive advantage. Having stated the importance and difficulty of achieving innovation in organizations, the most important quest yet to be addressed is how to practically achieve innovation. One and maybe the most proven effective methodology for letting innovation flourish in a company is intrapreneurship. While the majority of people engaged in or even far from the management world have heard of the concept of entrepreneurship, fewer have heard of the slightly similar and newly emerging concept of intrapreneurship.

There has to be an exhibit of its historical background for the new generation along with definition of the concept of intrapreneurship and a further need to investigate the nature of intrapreneurs.


Benefits of Intraprenuership

One direct gain of intrapreneurship is the rapid increase of innovation in the organization, intrapreneurs are also “means to stimulate innovation in products, services or techniques, to increase productivity, The higher innovation an organization can achieve, the higher competitive advantage it gets through obtaining new products and solutions that will leave the competitors far behind. A few notable examples of these highly profitable unique products which are the fruit of increased innovation and intrapreneurship in corporations are 3M’s Post-It Notes; Google’s Gmail, AdSense, Google News; and Sony’s PlayStation.

Another advantage of intrapreneurship is that it generates the lost and extremely needed “supplemental solution strategy” in organizations. This is basically brining balance between “centralization and decentralization, interdependence and diversity, and integration and flexibility” inside an organization and its work environments

One more gain of intrapreneurship for the intrapreneurs themselves and for the corporations in which they execute is that intrapreneurship trains the intrapreneur in new aspects that they might have been weak or unskilled in before the intrapreneurship process took place. This sharpens the intrapreneur’s skills and gives them a rich experience to deal with the next stage of obstacles most likely in a higher position in the corporation.


Achieving Intraprenuership

The vital approach that corporations should adopt to increase innovation and encourage intrapreneurs is tolerance to failure. Intrapreneurial employees must be dealt with flexibly when it comes to the failure of their projects, as any infant project is compromised to failure. This is not to state that organizations should simply excuse or ignore failure, but rather that organizations should start measuring and attributing failure to either the intrapreneur’s fault, or circumstances beyond the intrapreneur’s control – and punish and reward accordingly. Intrapreneurs must never be blamed for the failure of any project regardless of the conditions and circumstances in which the failure occurred, as any new project might fail due to many factors most of which are not under control of the intrapreneur

While employees tend to think that they either have to be 100% independent entrepreneurs or else they must be content with a rigid and bureaucratically restricted job, there is a middle stage of these two, called intrapreneurship. There will always be few entrepreneurs who will come up with entirely new projects and make money over short periods, there are approximately 250,000 people who start their own business each year, 90% of them stay in business for the first year, and after 3 years the percentage drops to 65%. Yet employees of entrepreneurial nature can choose to be intrapreneurs. This will secure for them the required support and resources they need to making use of their innovative skills and come up with new products and services within a safe and protected environment when it comes to their compensations.


Conclusion

Organizations of all size, they must encourage intrapreneurship by all means and produce an innovation friendly working environment. In today’s agile working atmosphere, organizations must adapt to intrapreneurship for them to not just survive but also thrive. Also, because by not giving freedom to employees and promoting one way of thinking will cause “blindness” within organizations.

Decentralization mostly is not enough for any organization; however, they need to deploy a management system that will make sure the research and development budgets are in the hands of proven innovators and intrapreneurs, a system that will compensate the thinker and doers instead of the less offensive and those with greater political skills.

This system is intrapreneurship. If organizations don’t give more freedom and space to their intrapreneur staff to exert innovation and bring about new ideas of doing business and new products, the company will be heading to failure or at least loss of profit and eventually might lose the intrapreneur staff to a competitor or even having him as a competitor this which will generate even more lose to the organization.


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