Intrapreneurship has three parts to it: an intrapreneur (you), a project (that innovative idea you want to bring forward) and a mentor (an individual within a larger corporation that is willing to provide you with the necessary resources to put your project into motion). The two of you will ultimately become a team, a multigenerational team, that will either lead to the development of a project linked to the main activity of the organization or to the creation of a new entity that is not linked to the main activity of the organization but can benefit it nonetheless.
Before we dive into the two types of intrapreneurs, it is essential that you fully understand the different contexts and settings intrapreneurship comes in. That is – the corporate and family business contexts. Pick the category you fall into.
|Corporate Context||Family Business Context|
|A smart business owner will get on the innovation wagon. More and more organizations are readily looking for employees that will bring something new to the table.
Ah ha! Got you there, didn’t I? Your wheels are already turning about what that “something new” is that you can bring to the table. What can you do for the company?
|Family businesses that have a personal, almost legacy-like feel to them. To bore you a little with stats: only 30% of family businesses survive the second generation, 10% survive the third, and less than 5% reach the fourth (KPMG, 2007).
According to the Family Business Institute , unplanned succession and lack of interest by the next generation is what ultimately leads companies to failure. Sounds extreme? Maybe… but it’s the truth.
The solution to this is quite simple: Intrapreneurship. If you’re part of a family business and are finding yourself a little torn between pursuing your own passion and contributing to the family business – don’t worry! Throughout the article, you’ll be introduced to the two types of Intrapreneurs. Both types will still help you protect your family business, but will still allow you to explore yourself either with an idea related to your family business, or a spinoff of it!
Intrapreneur type 1: Added Value
The first type of intrapreneurship is directly linked to the main activity of the organization. In other words, your intrapreneurial idea will add value to the company, thus fostering innovation and paving the way for growth.
How am I so certain that having an intrapreneurial idea directly linked to the company will lead to such success? I’ll prove it in names: Does Post it, Macintosh (yes guys, Apple was once called Macintosh), Google Transit and Google Earth sound familiar to you? Yes? Thought so.
These famous names are examples of intrapreneurial initiatives taken to add value to compliment the parent company in some way. The intrapreneurs behind these names listened to what the clients wanted and needed – and developed their project as a result.
Intrapreneur Type 2: Spin-Off
Normally when we see the word spin-off, we tend to think about those boring sitcoms that were simply not as good as the original. Well – I’m glad to be telling you that this is not the case with an Intrapreneurial project that ends up being its own entity. The odds of success for the “spin-off” intrapreneurial project are just as high as the projects of “added value” that we described in the paragraph just before. To put it simply: intrapreneurship can also lead to projects that are not at all related to the main activity of the company. It’s important to note here that although “spin off” projects normally come from a family business (and your mentor happens to be a relative of yours), it’s still possible for your corporate mentor to invest in a new company.
The parent company can also choose to use your project to create not a new company, but rather a different entity within the company (i.e.: same name, different product/service/idea). The role of the parent organization can vary greatly from one intrapreneurial project to another. Sometimes, simple sharing of resources can lead to a successful project. In other cases, it’s the sharing of knowledge that will lead to success.
Why almost every company needs Intrapreneurship
One of the biggest errors any corporation can make is limiting innovation within the company. When an organization doesn’t allocate any room for innovation, they are both impending company growth and running the risk of “falling behind” as a result. In today’s ultra-competitive market, it is essential that an organization develops that something different to stand out from the rest. Whether it be an entirely new product, sub-division or service offered –that single difference could ultimately make or break the company’s long-term status. So, whatever type of intrapreneur you are, know that both are very important.