Intrapreneurship is the practice of entrepreneurship inside a larger organisation.
Intrapreneurship uses a “start-up management style” that favours flexibility, empowerment and communication, encouraging employees to initiate, lead, and implement innovations within the organisation.
The term intrapreneurship was introduced by Gifford and Elizabeth Pinchot in 1978 in the study Intra- Corporate Entrepreneurship. The article was followed by Norman Macrae’s piece in The Economist “Intrapreneurial now” that generated ample debates which led to the publication of the book “Intrapreneuring” in 1985 by Gifford Pinchot.
Author, motivational speaker, and venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki writes in a blog post called “The art of Intrapreneurship” that everything we know about productivity and success in large corporations is the opposite of what intrapreneurship stands for. Intrapreneurship is about empowering employees to innovate and act as owners of the business. These types of employees build nimble companies and are focused on results. They don’t over-engineer, they focus on taking the minimum viable product out to avoid any situations that would stop the development of the project. In Kawasaki’s words, "intrapreneurs ship early". They test, listen to customers, perfect products and make use of resources in the best possible way.
Implementing intrapreneurial values in your organisation can help empower employees to create work that matters while growing the organisation. Intrapreneurs are not money-driven. They understand the economic drivers that allow the organisation to succeed, but they act authentically and driven by the desire to grow ideas.
Innovation is the combination of creativity and implementation. Intrapreneurs are not afraid to fail. For them, mistakes are learning opportunities they can build on. Intrapreneurs understand that businesses are more about people than about ideas. Companies need more people who get things done and are looking to fulfil a deeper purpose.