On intrapreneurship

Intrapreneurship. The term gets tossed around a lot lately, but what does it mean? And more important, should you care?


The original definition of intrapreneur is:

A person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation

Basically, intrapreneurship is a combination between being an employee and entrepreneur at the same time. An entrapreur gets to experiment and develop a new branch in a company while still having the benefits of being an employee (monthly salary, social safety net…).

Within our sustainable challenges, intrapreneurship can be the missing link in changing a company’s course. Since it’s steered by both the board and the employees, these kind of innovations tend to have a bigger support than top-down or bottom-up projects.

Below I’ll talk a bit about the benefits for both employee and employer. Here you can find some interesting links that talk about the subject a bit deeper:

As an employee

As an employee, the benefits of intrapreneurship are pretty obvious. You get to take more responsibility for a project and get a bigger freedom of movement. Also if your project succeeds you’ll share in the reward of both creating something and the success for the company.

If, on the other hand, you fail, You have to explain why and how, but the financial costs are not yours, you’ll still have your job and you’ve probably learned quite some skills along the way.

As an employer

When employing people, the benefits of intrapreneurship are also obvious, but enabling people to experiment in the company can be pretty scary. The best way (in my opinion) to combine both employees and intrapreneurship is by adopting the 20% time-rule like Google does.


About leyssensjan

Jan Leyssens is a designer and entrepreneur who strongly believes you can’t turn sustainability into a positive story if your main focus is on negative impact. When designing, he is always looking for the overlap between activism and entrepreneurship, technology and community. His main expertise lies in strategic business model development, Circular Economy, the makermovement, and social innovation. With a background in Industrial Design, Jan quickly shifted his focus towards business design and using the design process in strategic management. Jan is the father of two kids and founder & CEO of Regenerative Design, co-founder of Full Circle, ImpactBoost, and the Circular Design map, podcaster, storyteller, and changemaker.

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