Intrapreneurship is the idea that individuals can, in some form, be encouraged to explore their own business ideas alongside their day jobs.
Recruitment company Hays positions it as the new buzz word in the corporate world, as businesses look to their staff for innovations.
“The advent of nimbler start-ups, particularly in the technology sector, that are capable of disrupting entire industries has forced organisations of all sizes to wake up to the need to develop new business lines and models,” says Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in A/NZ.
“There’s also a growing realisation that such ideas might just emanate from staff themselves rather than being dreamt up across the boardroom table.”
Deligiannis explains that as well as the business benefits, intrapreneurship offers recruitment and retention advantages.
“Individuals are given the freedom to explore their own ideas without having to leave the organisation and are more engaged as a result,” he says.
“There’s also a strong attraction benefit, which can be hugely significant in sectors where talent is in demand.”
For any businesses looking to encourage intrapreneurship, Kenny Ching, assistant professor of Strategy at UCL School of Management suggest three approaches.
The first, is to formally incorporate intrapreneurial activites as part of performance-reviews. While the second is to employ more flexible schemes that allow would-be intrapreneurs to spend time away to develop ideas.
And, the third, is to “develop an informal culture that allows ideas to be safely discussed, with no repercussions on performance. For example, idea competitions,” says Ching.
“Above all though, an organisation needs a genuinely entrepreneurial culture that is embedded from the top down.”