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The Business of Intrapreneurship

Intrapreneurship is the act of behaving like an entrepreneur while working within a large organization. The concept is growing in popularity because of large companies such as Google. These major companies have their employees constantly developing new ideas for programs they think customers may need.

Business contributor Rebecca Harris defines intrapreneurship.

“It’s a process where a person or team within a large organization assumes direct responsibility for the development of an idea into a product or a service which becomes profitable through a sort of risk taking and innovations,” she said.

Harris said the best intrapreneur was Steve Jobs. He was quoted in Newsweek magazine in 1985 as the first person to describe his employees as intrapreneurs who see a project the whole way through, “as though they were working from the garage.”

Jobs’s Apple company is often considered the best company to identify new ideas for programs and goods for their consumers. Harris said this is necessary, as it is easier to sell a current customer a new product, than to obtain new customers. Jobs and Apple were very successful with this.

What types of people would make good intrapreneurs within their company? Harris said these types of people have very specific characteristics, in addition to the ability to brainstorm new program or product ideas. Intrapreneurs must maintain a very optimistic, upbeat personality. They have to believe in their ideas, but realize if they are realistic. Harris also said intrapreneurs must be experts in their areas and must have excellent communication skills in order to sell these products they as an intrapreneur worked so hard to develop.