WHY INTRAPRENEURS MATTER NOW MORE THAN EVER?

1.8.2017
Headstart

Multiple exposure shot of a business group superimposed over a train track

Greetings reader! I am glad that you ended up reading my first blog post in Headstart. I will share my insights related to importance of intrapreneurs but before we dig deeper, let me briefly introduce myself.

I am working at Headstart as Innovations Architect and my role consist different duties such as investigating new innovations and technologies, developing new concepts and most of all helping customers to outperform with their businesses in the age of digitalization. Before this role, I worked as SAP consultant for 6 years but nowadays I see myself more as business solutions consultant rather than strictly SAP consultant.

My educational background is from industrial management and my master´s thesis was related to intrapreneurship and how it effects to production worker´s productivity. When I was scratching my head with my thesis, I realized one important thing about myself. I´m an intrapreneur. In case the term is not familiar to you, intrapreneurs can be described for example with following attributes:

  • Intrapreneur acts as entrepreneur without owning the company.
  • Intrapreneurs are devoted to search and discover new business opportunities and concepts around them.
  • Intrapreneurs have inner motivation and vision which sets their direction.
  • They have innovative attitude and desire to develop something new.
  • They see failures and mistakes as learning opportunities.
  • Intrapreneurs do no settle in status quo and they drive change which is aligned to their vision.
  • Intrapreneurs are considered as bold and they are willing to take risks to achieve their goals.

Gifford Pinchot is one of the pioneers within intrapreneurship studies and he stated already in 1985: “It depends on intrapreneurs if your company succeed or fails”. 30 years later this statement is still valid and becomes more important than ever. Why?

In the age of uncertainty constant change is certain. Customer needs are changing, ways of communication are changing, businesses and competition are changing. New technologies and innovations are emerging in fast pace. We have seen lots of disruptive business models even in rather static business areas. Data is gathered and shared around us exponentially and number of connected devices are booming. How companies can keep up in this pace?

I would say that this is the most fruitful soil for intrapreneurs. Intrapreneurs by nature seeks for undiscovered potential and possibilities. When the new, interesting possibility is found, they are committed to drive the needed change. Motivated by their idea and vision and with support from their organization, driving the change becomes extremely important for intrapreneur. These initiatives might occur as fuel for business growth and they might even create unique competitive edge for business. Intrapreneurs are willing to take risks and does not afraid to fall. If they fall, they fall fast and stand up again quickly. And even if the initial idea fails, with today´s new and easily accessed technologies it is easier than ever to build completely new business ideas rapidly.

I see that new technology enablers are already here. Anybody can create new innovations and disruptive concepts. The only problem is that who will discover the hidden possibilities and drive the necessary change within the organization? I think you already know the answer to that.

Tuukka Martikainen, tuukka.martikainen (at) headstart.fi

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