Intrapreneurship: Innovation Within Companies
Intrapreneurship has been developing in successful companies worldwide for decades with different results.
This term, very fashionable today, was already coined by the American businessman Gifford Pinchot in 1985 to designate the development of entrepreneurial activity within an existing organization with the aim of providing innovative initiatives that make the business model evolve. Business or create a new one.
Intrapreneurship can help modernize and make profitable the business model of the parent company, as in the case of Google: Gmail arose from the company’s firm commitment to innovation, allowing its workers to spend 20% of their working hours on the development of its own projects. In other cases, it can spawn an entirely new business model, as in the case of Netflix… In the 1990s, when video stores were still the kings and lords of the film market, Reed Hastings, an American mathematician who owned a video store, devised a completely new business system based on a system of home delivery of films, without limitations or sanctions.
In 1998 he founded the start-up Netflix with his partner Marc Randolph. He was offered to Blockbuster, one of the giants in the industry, to integrate his business model, but Blockbuster rejected the offer. In 2010, the North American giant declared bankruptcy, and Netflix emerged as one of the leading entertainment companies.
The most common, however, is not the case with Blockbuster. Since the 2000s, more and more entrepreneurs have opted for this type of innovation laboratory. It is a way to exploit your own human resources and stand out from your competitors.
Advantages Of Intrapreneurship
There are many, but here we mention a few:
- Awaken the entrepreneurial spirit. When there is an intrapreneur in the workforce, the rest of the workers will be attracted to this practice and will want to be part of this innovative model, increasing their commitment to the company.
- Greater efficiency.
- Broaden horizons. Intrapreneurship allows exploring new fields of action that, until now, the company’s specific business model did not allow.
- Goodbye, obsolete. These types of figures give companies the opportunity to break with traditional structures and innovate, making them much more competitive and making the most of available technological advances.
Despite all these advantages, intrapreneurship is not easy to implement. It is not enough for the innovation department to dedicate itself to it; for example, The entire company must be involved. This requires a radical change in mentality and culture, to which many companies are still reluctant. The report on Corporate Entrepreneurship in Spain states that “implementing an effective strategy is not an easy task, since, in addition to the obstacles inherent in an innovative project, we must add resistance that originates in the organization itself.”
How To Implement Intrapreneurship
Here are some keys:
- Involve managers. They are the visible head of the business, which makes them the determining factor for the involvement of the rest of the participants. If the boss joins, the worker too.
- Define a specific action process. How the program will be developed, when, for how long, for whom, etc.
- Select and retain collaborators. Studies show what works best in terms of innovation are multidisciplinary and diverse teams.
- They are operating autonomy. The participants must feel like “owners of the project.”
- Create an incentive system.
- And, the most important thing regarding innovation and development… Assume failure if there is one.