INTRAPRENEURSHIP: What is it and why is it important?

By: Malu Dy Buncio 

We are all aware that we are in the midst of the Age of Destruction.  Market leaders, established brands and services are being slaughtered by upstarts. Uber and similar organizations changed the dynamics of transportation.  Trivago and other such web sites commoditized the hotel business. AirBnB provided alternative affordable options for accommodation.  The internet changed shopping habits and is eroding the retail business model.  Netflix changed viewing habits and eroded free to air broadcasting as well as cable.  The list goes on and on and on.

What is evident is that organizations that are the destroyers of established businesses and business models are upstarts that have quickly gained traction.  Upstarts that were originally envisioned and powered by entrepreneurs.  “Davids” that were able to slaughter the “Goliaths” of business.

Why is this possible? Generally organizations that are established have the war chest and know how to be able to put up barriers to thwart competitive erosion. Unfortunately the conventional tactics apply to conventional competitors. Upstarts such as Uber, Trivago, Google, Amazon, and AirBnB have proven to be unconventional competitors. So what does this lead us to conclude? Established businesses that run smoothly on well honed systems and processes are extremely vulnerable. Why? Because these organizations tend to continuously improve on existing and established businesses processes.  The Destroyers run on vision, creativity, innovation and risk taking.  So the question is how can you inject the entrepreneurial mindset with the culture of more established and conventional organizations? The answer is Intrapreneurship.

Intrapreneurship is the process of creating an entrepreneurial mindset within established organizations.  Intrapreneurship requires an organization to accept and recognize the need for vision, creativity, innovation and risk taking.  Intrapreneurship requires an organization to nurture those within an organization that display vision, creativity, innovation and risk taking.  Intrapreneurship requires an organization to provide an atmosphere that will allow vision, creativity, innovation and risk taking to flourish.  Lastly Intrapreneurship requires an organization to set up parameters and KPIs to monitor and measure and reward vision, creativity, innovation and risk taking.

Research shows that individuals that display the intrapreneurial mindset and have been given the opportunity to use it often end up the leader of the organization or other organizations over time.  I totally agree with the research findings.  Why?  Because I ended up leading the company that gave me the opportunity to display my intrapreneurial mindset.  And many of those who I mentored and nurtured also went on to lead organizations.

Malu Dy Buncio is a Senior Consultant of Corporate Achievers Institute. She is a seasoned business leader who has managed a P11 billion company with over 1000 employees and 250,000 independent sales representatives.  She received awards and citations for her outstanding management which includes the Chairman’s Leadership Awardee (1995), Chairman’s Pathfinder Award for ‘managing thru Political Crises’ (1998),   Pathfinder Award for Unleashing Beauty (1999) and  Asia Pacific Agora Award for Marketing Excellence by Philippine Marketing Association (1999)