Have you ever thought of being an intrapreneur? And no, I don’t mean entrepreneur – but they’re close.
While an entrepreneur ventures out on their own to pursue an idea, an intrapreneur does this within the organization where they already work. It could be creating a new product, coming up with an innovative idea, or improving a service.
Why would you choose this route?
- Intrapreneurship allows you to take risks and develop ideas with company resources instead of your own.
- It helps you to take on a leadership role and collaborate with other departments.
- Developing a new idea can help you become more excited in your current role.
- The company could benefit from a successful idea.
- Being intrapreneurial aids you in establishing a personal brand at the company and adds to your experience.
Many great ideas came from intrapreneurs inside major companies:
- Post-it notes were developed by a 3M employee when he noticed a problem (papers falling out of his book) and came up with a solution (sticky paper).
- An employee working at Nintendo realized that video games could be improved by changing the system and improving the sounds and graphics, and ended up creating the Sony PlayStation as we know it today.
- The senior vice president of marketing at Caribou Coffee discovered that their chain needed something to compete with other large chains – so she came up with a customer frequency card to reward loyal customers.
In fact, many companies encourage employee side projects. According to Josh Spiro at Inc. magazine, “companies of varying sizes ranging from Google to Gore-Tex and from 3M to Jason Fried’s 37 Signals have experimented with different ways to catalyze their employees’ idiosyncratic interests for the benefit of the entire company and its culture.
Google’s famous 70/20/10 arrangement sends employees the message to spend the lion’s share of their work hours fulfilling their job description in the narrowest sense, while allotting one fifth of their time to company-related innovation and one tenth to whatever catches their fancy.”
Would you consider intrapreneurship? Why or why not?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert and founder & president of Come Recommended, a career and workplace education and consulting firm specializing in young professionals. She is also the author of #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), national entry-level careers columnist for Examiner.com and blogs about career advice at HeatherHuhman.com.