Experts in the area of the future of work recommend that organizations adopt a variety of principles in order to be successful – one of the aspects that they believe will be beneficial to the future organization is that of being Intrapreneurial. We know that entrepreneurs are people who turn their ideas for a business, product or service into a reality – they work for themselves, not for anybody else. The business world is full of entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Sameer Bhatia, Azim Premji, Narayan Murthy, and thousands more, who have converted their ideas into workable, sustainable business and commercial propositions. They raise funds from various sources and give wings to their ideas.
Intrapreneurs are defined as entrepreneurs who work within organizations. It is estimated that these people will be very critical members of future organizations.
Flexibility to work on their own terms
Statistics indicate that by 2020, about half the work force will be composed of millennials and this figure is expected to increase to three quarters by 2025. Millennials prefer to freelance, they do not like to be tied down to any job – they are enthused by entrepreneurial efforts. They like to be their own boss and they like the freedom and flexibility to work on their own terms.
They like to choose their place and time of work. They are creative and innovative, they try new things, they have the courage to take risks and venture into the unknown. To cut a long story short, millennials have the soul and the mindset of entrepreneurs. Hence if they are given the opportunity they can contribute tremendously to the world of business and commerce.
Entrepreneurs of the future
Not everyone wants to become an entrepreneur but those employees who do, if given the right resources, can become the entrepreneurs of the future. These employees, while working in the organization can be encouraged to do “their own thing”, raise necessary funds for their proposed venture and see it through to completion. Organizations that support such efforts by enabling employees to work on their personal ideas during fixed periods of the office day, by letting them use some of the office-facilities and infrastructure will have the satisfaction of witnessing the growth of home-grown intrapreneurs who graduate to becoming free entrepreneurs.
Companies like LinkedIn, Google, Virgin Atlantic, 3M, Cisco and others have encouraged employees to spend a proportion of their office work hours (as much as 15-20%) on ideas and projects that are of interest to them. This has resulted in the development of many innovative products which has positively impacted the lives of consumers and customers the world over.
Creation and growth of intrapreneurs
When organizations support the creation and growth of intrapreneurs, they open up the field for many to enter the fray. This encourages employees to go ahead and take the first step and they are motivated to come up with new ideas, new thoughts; they develop new products and services, they plan out new strategies and innovative approaches to business problems and this enables them to achieve the necessary competitive advantage.
When organizations provide a supportive environment for intrapreneurs, they ensure the loyalty of these employees who know they will get the required help from their employers. If organizations fail to provide this kind of encouragement, it is quite likely that these employees who have entrepreneurial aspirations may shift to organizations that do. Thus in order to be successful in the future of work, companies need to provide an environment that nurtures intrapreneurship.