Today, I’d like to talk about a recent concept : Intrapreneurship. It is more than just another innovation buzzword, let’s see why!
According to Investopedia, an intrapreneur is :
An entrepreneur within a large organization who uses entrepreuneurial skills to conduct innovative projects – without incurring the risks associated with those activities.
This interesting concept was introduced by the management consultant Gifford Pinchot in the 1980’s. He is currently running a company (Pinchot & Company) who helps companies reduce bureaucratic obstacles and innovate.
Several useful resources about intrapreneurship:
- 10 Things to know about intrapreneurship
- The rise of the intrapreneur
- 3 things you don’t know about intrapreneurship
- Creativity loves constraints
To summarize the articles above, the intrapreneur is driven by the creation of value through innovative ideas. He is proactive, hardworker and generally passionate. He takes risks, likes challenges and always looks for improvements.
Power BI & Excel
The good news is that you can be part of this exciting adventure as a Power BI & Excel user. Indeed, you can create value in your company by :
- developing insightful and automated reports using the beauty of Power Query, PowerPivot or Power BI Desktop
- refreshing old Excel models or giving them a new perspective by shifting to Power BI
- training your colleagues so they are more efficient on the software(s)
I think intrapreneurship should have a better audience in the coming years. However, its implementation is still facing many challenges:
1. It relies on confidence
Intrapreneurship is neither a department of the company nor a proper job, it is an attitude. In many cases, the intrapreneur doesn’t have proper missions nor a boss. He works very independently in his projects. Fewer controls can be exercised over him by management.
In addition, most of his projects are ambitious. But they have to keep being feasible, realistic and in line with his company’s strategy.
2. The flexibility of big organizations
The intrapreneur’s organization has to be flexible enough to allow him initiating projects. The company also needs to allocate him some time.
That was the case when the giant Google introduced its 20% free time – many interesting ideas came up such as Gmail, Adsense or Google news. Google famous perk was finally abandoned by the end of 2013 – mostly because these 20% free time turned out to be 120% of time.
Risk aversion is relatively high in big structures. Changes are officially welcomed but very often long to implement. The “fear of failure” and “it has always been done like this” culture still predominate.
3. Externalization vs internalization
Nowadays, many companies state that innovation is at the heart of their strategy. However, the robust position of prestigious consulting firms (Mckinsey, BCG, Bain & Company…) and the recent rise of the freelancer show that large companies are more willing to externalize part of their job so they can focus on their daily business.
And it is objectively understandable. Let’s take the example of Power BI!
Large companies (from all sectors) could easily hire an Power BI guru on a permanent basis. This internal guru would be able to create value by building awesome tailor-made dashboards or automating processes as mentioned above. But what if this Power BI guru decides to leave the company ?
In addition, there is a risk that this intrapreneur falls into a daily routine and gets bored since his job is restricted to a single company (remember the main traits of the intrapreneur described above !). He would then lose productivity and creativity while external consultants keep at the cutting-edge by working on many different projects / sectors / issues (with a more expensive hourly rate though :)).
In brief, large companies generally prefer seeking outside expertise rather than developing skills internally when it comes to innovation or long-term projects.
In spite of the challenges described above, I keep thinking intrapreneurship deserves a bigger space in the work environment. It is one of the key drivers for companies long-term growth – especially if we don’t only focus on the technical field. It is probably also one of their biggest challenge since they would need to reshape their strategy and relationship with its employees.
For their part, potential intrapreneurs should not be afraid to suggest ideas, take risks and express their feelings!
No one ever changed the world without first being labelled as a troublemaker. Brian Aspinall
And you, what do you think ?
If you are really interested in Intrapreneurship take a look at Ticket for change. It is a 6-month tailor made intrapreneurial program launched in France by Alexandre Chervet, a young graduate from EM Lyon Business School.