In the 1980’s, management consultant Gifford Pinchot coined the term “Intrapreneurs” in reference to employees who are given the opportunity to develop new products and ideas from within a company. If identified and fostered properly, intrapreneurs can play an invaluable role in keeping the company highly competitive.
Especially useful for businesses that rely on innovation, intrapreneurs are the individuals behind the internal ideas being explored. They are generally more comfortable for exploration within the structure of an established institution.
Forbes contributor and Fishbowl founder David K. Williams identified several common traits of successful intrapreneurs, including an exhaustive interest in finding non-economic ways to prove their own value, an intrinsic and determined ability to grow ideas without fearing failure or change, and, most importantly, confidence, humility, and deep-seeded integrity. “Tomorrow’s world of work ecosystems will be driven by the increasing ranks of intrepreneurs [sic],” Williams concluded.
Intrapreneurs especially thrive in a fast-paced environment. They typically are naturally observant, reflective and adaptive — they love finding creative solutions from multiple points within business constructs. The intrapreneur’s mind is always working. They are architects of new ideas, new plans and generally better at executing strategic plans. They often work very well with an entrepreneur.
Many entrepreneurs are also intrapreneurs. They are not mutually exclusive talents within one individual. The best way for a company to succeed is to encourage both entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial spirit in its culture. Challenging the status quo often leads to positive paradigm shifts within the organization.