Well, a lot has changed since then, and one of the benefits generated from the great recession has been the explosion of entrepreneurial activity across all sectors of the economy. This is both a business and societal change, generating amazing wealth and turning successful entrepreneurs into the rock stars of their time. Talk to any business school graduate these days, and what they want is to actively utilize their new found skills to create value, in a supportive, fast moving culture with a broader positive societal impact. The stark reality is that they don’t see large organizations providing those opportunities.
Of course, this provides a challenge to large organizations, as they all want to be innovative, but are struggling to adjust to the needs of the business and their employees in this new environment. I have pointed out the desires of new graduates, but this entrepreneurial spirit is relevant to employees at pretty much all levels within an organization. The genie is out of the bottle.
In response, the concept of “Intrapreneurs” has bubbled up within the innovation community, as a way for large organizations to fight back and engage those employees that want to flex their entrepreneurial muscle in ways that drive business value to the enterprise. Leaders of Corporate, HR, L&D and Innovation functions are actively pursuing this concept and approach.
The stark reality is new graduates don’t see large organizations providing the entrepreneurial career’s that they desire.
So, before I go further, let me just outline what I think the term ”Intrapreneur” means.
To me (the thinking amongst innovation thought leaders is pretty consistent here) they are employees that are encouraged to generate and develop new ideas within the context and structure of an existing corporate organization. The idea is to take an entrepreneurial mindset and approach, utilizing that within a larger enterprise.
Conceptually the definition is simple, but as talk to companies and think about this area of interest, I see different approaches to building and supporting Intrapreneurs within organizations:
This is obviously a high-level overview to the various models and approaches to supporting intrapreneurs within established, corporate organizations. In future articles I plan on delving further into these models.
For my money, the approach around intrapreneur networks is what drives the most lasting impact and ROI for organizations, but of course the specific circumstances and needs of businesses need to be accounted for.
In my next article, I plan to focus on some of the broader benefits of intrapreneurs, and also some actions and steps that organizations can take to support these individuals. Be sure to check back in next week.
Anthony is the CEO of Culturevate, an organization that empowers a company’s employees to execute ideas and inspire a culture of innovation, through employee networks, a resource portal and training programs (developed in association with Professor Chris Labash from Carnegie Mellon University). Anthony is a widely read author, speaker and advisor to industry leaders at organizations such as Pfizer, U.S. Postal Service, Johnson & Johnson, ADP and Fidelity. He previously led the BNY Mellon innovation program and has a Masters of Commerce (University of Sydney) and Bachelor of Economics (University of Newcastle).
Fueling Your Employees’ Entrepreneurial Spirit
Part I: A New Approach to Intrapreneurs and the Value They Create (Current)
Part III: Intrapreneur Case Studies and Successes (up next!)
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