How Leaders Can Raise Motivated, Proactive Intrapreneurs

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

While I was impressed by the advanced equipment and technology at my first job, I was quite disappointed by the need to be more open to new ideas. My manager rejected any new ideas I suggested for our projects. The pain of ideas being killed resonated with a few other friends. So we decided to start our own company where we could turn our ideas into reality.

Of course, not all of our ideas were successful, but that’s the risk of entrepreneurship and we’re glad we had the opportunity to try them. Today our organization is a strong team of over 300 people who are encouraged and motivated to experiment and share ideas. Additionally, the intrapreneurs of these 300 employees have grown professionally and fueled the overall growth of the company.

The ability to develop, test, and scale products through our intrapreneurs has enabled our organization to bring important new products and services to market. In addition, the products of our laboratories have enabled us to serve customers and help them make important decisions intuitively, accurately and efficiently.

This is the power of intrapreneurship – Everyone wins when employees are given the freedom and support to be innovative and creative.

See also: 6 steps to turn your employees into intrapreneurs

The startup dreams

The fancy word – “Startup”. Getting started is never easy.

Many employees in all organizations once dreamed of starting their own business. However, given the responsibility that rests on their shoulders, such employees choose not to take such a risk. But with the right mentoring and support system in place, as intrapreneurs, they can embark on a commendable path of entrepreneurship.

The American business software company Intuit encourages its employees to create prototypes to test their hypotheses. Their “Unit of One” approach to testing and scaling ideas encourages constant innovation. Essentially, Intuit ensures that employees test their hypothesis with only one customer, ideally someone who is best served by it. Suppose the target finds the MVP useful and recommends it. In this case, the hypothesis can be scaled up to a larger cohort to observe a larger data set.

Read  How to Convert Documents to WAV and MP3 Files in Windows 11

A Harvard Business Review article on intrapreneurship at Intuit cited this approach as an example that helped the company launch Shop Owner, a mobile application, in Bengaluru, India.

Repeated interactions with everyday customers — clerks in rural areas — enabled an Intuit employee to see that each sale was preserved in the shopkeeper’s “memory” because there were no on-site computers or cash registers with built-in accounting capabilities.

The answer? Since the target group used smartphones predominantly, the team built a simple application that bundled cash accounting, inventory management and printed receipts.

The prototype was built, tested and approved for scaling – within seven days!

See also: Great companies that embrace intrapreneurship will thrive

Education of intrapreneurs

Successful outcomes are routinely referred to as “overnight success,” whether from innovation or intrapreneurship programs. Yet the truth could not be further from this accepted belief.

Building a healthy culture that celebrates intrapreneurship takes a mix of systems, tools, and hard work. I think the ball will start rolling straight from the lead. Organizations can refer to several studies, research papers and working models to better cultivate a culture of intrapreneurship.

Neil Fogarty, Lecturer in Entrepreneurship in the Department of Management and Organization at PSU’s Smeal College of Business, provides a framework for creating a supportive environment for entrepreneurship creation. Leaders may say, “I receive it, but,” replies Fogarty, “here is How you can handle it.”

The framework helps shift employees’ thinking from a cost center perspective to a personal profit center perspective. As a result, leaders can help cultivate motivated, proactive intrapreneurs and also understand how to manage budget constraints, risk-taking, and other important commitments.

Read  This App Creates Step-by-Step How-to Guides for Anything You Do on Your Computer

It’s worth diving deep into this framework; In the meantime, this is how we deal with intrapreneurship in our company.

See also: You Have a Great Idea, but You Work for Someone Else. What do you do with it?

How do we educate intrapreneurs?

In my two decades of professional experience, I have participated in countless discussions – brainstorming sessions, OKR feedback, policy debates, product quality reviews, etc.

Most of us love to hear what we would like to hear; However, We encourage the daring minority – intrapreneurs – to challenge the status quo.

In my experience, creating a structure where people can fearlessly submit their ideas and suggestions is crucial. In addition, it is important to provide them with the right ecosystem to implement these ideas. Of course, not every idea would be successful, but this one The biggest risk is not taking any risks.” as Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, says.

Here are three outstanding practices we follow to foster intrapreneurship culture:

The OKRs:

The sales goals are not only set for the sales team. The operations team must work hand-in-hand in the following ways:

  • Identifying the gaps on the customer side to open up more business opportunities

  • Suggesting niche markets where the company can strategically position itself to attract more business

  • Expanding teams through strategic and thoughtful attitude

  • Create systems and processes for efficient and productive work

  • Improve people’s skills to lead teams effectively

In this way, the VPs, managers and team leaders run small businesses as part of the big company. In addition, we give intrapreneurs practical mentorship in the form of an internal program called “altMBA”.

In-house MBA programs:

Creating leaders at all levels of the org chart—especially those with a firm belief in innovation—requires on-the-job training.

Read  How to support cancer patients during mental health struggles Anderson Cancer Center

While traditional classroom settings can offer plenty of theoretical insight, hands-on altMBA workshops have helped employees provide effective feedback, become better communicators, apply first-principles thinking, and learn how to ask better questions.


In our organization we run an annual hackathon called Make-a-thon. This event helps us create and support a culture of intrapreneurship within the organization.

Make-a-thon takes place over two days where people form teams to build a Minimal Viable Product (MVP). At the end of the event, the teams then present their prototypes.

What is the requirement? A problem that disturbs every day at work. Slow regulatory approvals? Friction when accessing files from a database? It can be anything! The results surprised us every time.

Over the years we have tweaked the design of this system and found specific features that help achieve outstanding results.

We have found that cross-pollination (creating cross-departmental teams) exposes everyone to unexplored, alternative viewpoints. Next, we insist on implementing ideas in short turnaround times rather than developing breakthrough ideas. Finally, we encourage a lean theory of execution – no idea is “big” or “small”.

Jony Ive, Apple’s former chief design officer, once remarked of Steve Jobs: “I think he understood better than anyone that while ideas can ultimately be so powerful, they begin as fragile, barely formed thoughts, crushed so easily.”

To keep promising ideas alive and nurture intrapreneurs, here are a few actionable steps you can take:

  • Encourage and reward risk-taking and innovation

  • Provide resources and support for employees to develop and implement new ideas

  • Create a flat, open organizational structure that encourages communication and collaboration

  • Provide training and development opportunities to improve employee skills and knowledge

  • Empower your employees to take responsibility for their work and decision-making

  • Implement a system for idea generation and feedback

  • Recognize and celebrate big and small successes

  • Lead by example, demonstrate a passion for innovation and a willingness to take risks

  • Foster a culture of transparency, trust and accountability

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button