What does this arcane, yet interesting term intrapreneurship stand for?
Some say it is another overrated concept like entrepreneurship, some call it the only survival tool for giant organisations to shred off bureaucracy and reduce the cost of innovation.
One of the exciting Intrapreneurship examples is the best selling console Sony’s PlayStation, which has arguably become real because of a junior employee, Ken Kutaragi. His idea for making user-friendly and more powerful gaming console was reportedly rescinded by Sony executives. Staying up all night working on the console design for several nights in a row spotted Kutaragi with something exceptional to a senior employee and the rest, they say, is history.
“Intrapreneurship, in simple words, is entrepreneurship within the company,” said Ashiqur Rahman Rean, Head of Digital Services at Grameenphone at January Innovation Forum. Along with him in the panel were Maria May, Head of Programme Development at BRAC, in a 90 minute session and exercise on bringing intrapreneurship to BRAC.
For the first time in BRAC we unpacked intrapreneurship with a room full of youngsters and mid-level managers. Here’s our 3 top takeaways from the forum
01) Solving internal problem should be a priority
It is easier to pitch ideas that have some proof. When it comes to intrapreneurship, one needs to convince one’s higher-ups to allow it to go further: with incubation, funds and additional time. And it is quite obvious that the organisation will not be willing to spend money for something that has little proof in the market, unless there is a proven internal potential in it.
Hence, the ideas intrapreneurs come up with, should ideally be focused on solving an internal problem of the organization. An idea that solves internal problems and helps the organisation to grow is more likely to get the nod from the top-tier of the management.
02)Excitement is key!
To flourish the intrapreneurship culture within the organization, it is the responsibility for the top management of the organization to create adequate space and time, provide rewards and develop the trust in the employees so that they can share their ideas willingly with the top management.
This may include breakout sessions, day out from work to think about the organization and innovation, idea sharing forum etc. Management can also invite for ideas from the employee on a specific topic and organize innovation challenges. It depends on the excitement employees feel in the organisation about new ideas and testing them.
03) Breaking the barriers
Any kind of entrepreneurship, whether it is within the organization or not, faces some common barriers. Of them, one of the most crucial ones is the barrier in the thought process of the entrepreneurs.
In most of the cases, an entrepreneur needs to choose between a safer career with a traditional job and an adventurous career with his own initiative. Launching own initiative involves investing money and time, also substantial effort to establish the initiative.
The same goes for an ‘intrapreneur’ as well. It is important to break this barrier and understand that it is never late to start. It is equally important for organisations to understand that employees who start the intrapreneural project, might not want to stay in it for long term. Hence keeping a flexible option for employees to get back to their previous responsibility may come handy.
But the bottom line is, we need to embrace our intrepreneurial spirit to demonstrate our future both for the individuals and organisation with or without a model. Like those who’ve moved mountains within organisations ask those with great ideas (yet a bit of doubt)-“What’s stopping you?”. The answer is “Nothing”.