Entrepreneurship has been gaining its due importance coming this decade. There is no doubt that the need of the hour is the spirit of entrepreneurship and budding entrepreneurs. In the words of Forbes magazine, they are “the new rock stars of business culture.” But the numbers speak an alarming truth. For every moderately successful entrepreneur, there are hundreds, even thousands of struggling or failed ones. There is also, a large divide between entrepreneurs and professionals, which is why at certain times there is a dearth of entrepreneurial spirit, even in large multinationals. There is a solution to this problem: intrapreneurship.
Intrapreneurship is entrepreneurship within a company. Intrapreneurship combines the elements of entrepreneurship and service – the drive, the sense of ownership of entrepreneurship while still working for somebody else. Whereas entrepreneurship is the act of spearheading a new business or venture, intrapreneurship is the act of spearheading new programs, products, services, innovations, and policies within your organization. Entrepreneurship carries with itself an inherent risk – the risk of borrowing capital, the risk of all-or-nothing. Intrapreneurship, however, reduces this risk, all the while retaining the initiative and innovation.
It’s not just about the aspirants – large corporations have begun to encourage intrapreneurship because of the need of innovation. The market, the entire scenario has become extremely dynamic. Such corporations have recognised the need of newer products and constant change. It becomes difficult for employees in their routine jobs with their routine motivations to cater to such dynamism, to innovate. This is an even greater concern for the corporation as the employees have to constantly wait for instructions: the top-down approach. Another reason to encourage intrapreneurship is to pursue more opportunities. Pursuing such projects, a corporation reduces the risk of affecting its core competency while exploring newer dimensions. It becomes possible to experiment with offshoot products and technologies to see if a new concept can be turned into reality. One more reason is to encourage innovation in an organisational culture.
Professionals often in pursuit of their need to be in control of their career and decide to become entrepreneurs, but sometimes they discover that entrepreneurship might not be their cup of tea; due to the realities of being an entrepreneur – the constant requirement for time, stress and sacrifices uncalled for. Intrapreneurship provides an opportunity for professionals to test the waters. Being an intrapreneur gives a professional the ability to gain greater job satisfaction, the freedom to exercise creativity, take up leadership positions and make significant contribution to the business, all without the excess risk.
A new report shows that younger workers are more attracted to newer corporations as they allow more creativity and role significance. The needs of working professionals have changed since the past generation. As per Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, there are five stages – physiological or base needs, social security needs, love and belonging needs, esteem needs and self-actualization needs. The professionals of this generation have skipped the hierarchy and reached out to esteem and self-actualization needs, especially in their workplace. Intrapreneurship provides much more leeway to them in their workplace to practise and satisfy their organisational needs.
Management graduates on many occasions are subjected to situations where they have to take up the mantle and work for themselves. Be it organising fests or managing the college activities, college students are made to take up the entrepreneurial pedestal all the while remaining within the confines of the institution’s boundaries. This is in line with the phenomenon of intrapreneurship.
Intrapreneurs are very critical to the current organisational scenario. More often than not, simply due to the fast changing times, an organisation can get stuck into a rut or the organisation’s thinking can become complacent or myopic. It is in such situations that intrapreneurs act as lifeboats, rescuing the organisation from the plateau. Organisations have begun to look for and recruit individuals who like to and are able to handle being in the driver’s seat in terms of change and innovation; individuals who want to work independently but are able to function in the confines of an organisation’s structure.
An example of a modern intrapreneur would be Neil Patel. An avid blogger, Neil is the co-founder of two Internet-based companies: Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics. Making money from Internet marketing, he invested in a few other companies, one of them being Crazy Egg. Through his two ventures, he has helped large corporations like eBay, Walmart, Zappos and Sun Microsystems in extracting greater profits form online presence. Dr. Howard Edward Haller has founded an Intrapreneurship Institute to spread clarity about the concept of Intrapreneurship among young professionals and large corporations. Even the late Steve Jobs is known to have encouraged intrapreneurship in Apple Inc. In the Indian context, S.B. Dangayach of Sintex Group is the primal example of intrapreneurship.
The crux of the matter is this: every single company needs certain initiative from employees within the existing framework. There are so many desirable traits in an entrepreneur that a company, any company would like to encapsulate. But therein lies the paradox – the desirable traits are of an entrepreneur, who by virtue of being an entrepreneur cannot function within a company’s framework. Intrapreneurship is the one-step solution to this paradox. Through the development of intrapreneurship, both as an attitude and a discipline, an organisation can lift itself from the plateau which it so often finds itself stuck upon. From the candidate’s perspective, being an intrapreneur can serve both as a saleable, marketable skill as well as a long-term career objective which can easily be mentioned even on a resume. In the Indian scenario, even entrepreneurship is in its budding phase. So, in a strictly linear chronological sense, intrapreneurship development as a discipline has a long wait ahead before it can see the light of the day. But if this discipline can be developed alongside entrepreneurship, then India as a skill-based economy will definitely have a lot to offer to the global industry.
[The article has been written by Jayesh Surisetti. The author has completed his Post Graduate Diploma in Management from Indian Institute of Management – Raipur. He is a graduate from Symbiosis Centre for Management Studies (UG), Pune in Business Administration. He has written five research papers for various national and international conferences. He is the co-owner of www.schoolkebaad.in, an online college database and administrator-editor of www.vaultofbooks.com, a book review website.][/sociallocker]