Once you’ve accepted that it’s not a spelling mistake, the concept is rather simple!
Academics love to debate the differences and definitions of managers and leaders whilst others then add the separate definition of entrepreneur. But in practice an intrapreneur is the ultimate combination of all three!
Governments love to promote entrepreneurs but then fail to support the development of the essential skills and mindset of both managing and leading. Its hardly surprising then that significant numbers of start-up businesses fail and very few that survive go on to become high growth businesses. Alternatively, large corporates in particular do develop managers, particularly academically based MBA’s and PRINCE2, but often fail to support the development of the soft skills necessary for leadership and also creativity, essential for innovation.
Our academic model of an intrapreneur, developed by David Broadhead and first published in 2013, suggests there two dimensions to consider. The vertical axis is about orientation – either towards opportunity and change or process and stability. The horizontal axis is about engagement – either focussed on self or others. We simply suggest that successful intrapreneurs are those that look continuously for opportunities and involve others in the achievement and reward.
Being an intrapreneur is challenging in that the internal organisational issues have to be overcome along with the external environment. After all the ‘corporate immune system’ exists purely to resist change and innovation!