Intrapreneurship: Fostering Innovation within Established Companies

February 9, 2024

Is it feasible to foster innovation within an established corporation? Does the corporate structure and culture stifle creativity and entrepreneurial thinking? Could employee-inspired innovation be a strategy for businesses to stay competitive in a rapidly evolving market? These are important and thought-provoking questions that underline the fascinating concept of intrapreneurship.

While companies value innovation, there is a prevailing view that established firms are constrained in fostering entrepreneurship due to rigid structures and risk-averse cultures (Bagheri and Pihie, 2011). Furthermore, Tucker and Singer (2017) assert that companies struggle to inspire and harness employees’ innovative potential. This highlights a fundamental gap that can detrimentally impact a company’s long-term competitiveness, requiring a compelling solution – the nurturing of intrapreneurship.

In this article you will learn about the significance and benefits of intrapreneurship. It will explore practical strategies for established companies to foster an environment of innovation and entrepreneurial thinking within their ranks. The importance of structuring suitable reward systems and the role of leadership in promoting intrapreneurship will also be discussed.

Additionally, this article will delve into the challenges a corporation may face in its journey towards intrapreneurship and how to overcome these roadblocks. Ultimately, this piece aims to provide comprehensive insights on cultivating intrapreneurship for strategic advantage and sustainable corporate growth.

Intrapreneurship: Fostering Innovation within Established Companies

Key Definitions in Intrapreneurship and Innovation

Intrapreneurship refers to a system in which an employee acts like an entrepreneur within a company, using their own ideas to innovate, improve processes or develop new products. This approach empowers employees, allowing them to work independently while still being a part of the larger organization.
Innovation, in this context, is the introduction of a new idea, method or device that creates value for the organization. It is a critical aspect of intrapreneurship, driving the development of new strategies and products.
Established Companies are firms that have a strong presence in their industry, often having been in business for a considerable number of years.

Challenging the Norms: The Catalyst Role of Intrapreneurship in Corporate Innovation

Understanding Intrapreneurship and Its Impact on Corporate Innovation

Intrapreneurship isn’t merely an internal entrepreneurship or an innovative endeavor within a corporate setting, but a revolutionary culture that aligns the creative machinery of an organization towards significant progress. This concept leverages the characteristic traits of entrepreneurial spirit within an established company’s confines. It initiates a forward-driving dynamic that results in out-of-the-box ideas, thereby challenging traditional work norms.

A common misconception is that innovation is the exclusive playground of start-ups and entrepreneurs. Conversely, intrapreneurship proves that it thrives in well-structured frameworks as well. Established companies have a reservoir of resources, expertise, and systems that, when paired with a conducive environment for ideation and implementation, a catalyst for impactful corporate innovation emerges.

The Intrapreneurship Approach: Catalyst for Challenging the Norms

Intrapreneurship involves cultivating an environment that encourages creative thinking and the courage to challenge established norms. It’s about creating a fearless culture where employees are encouraged to question, experiment, fail and learn. Through it, organizations foster radical innovation and accelerate problem solving. This style eliminates stifling formalities, instead favoring a playful, dynamic, and experimental approach to work, subsequently stimulating minds and driving employees to go beyond their boundaries.

The role of intrapreneurship in challenging the norm and fostering innovation cannot be understated. Notably, intrapreneurship represents a commitment to continual innovation and discovery. It involves a shift from the historical, rigid corporate climate to a fluid, growth-oriented outlook. It is risky, dynamic and introduces a level of unpredictability, but its potential rewards are transformational.

  • It challenges the idea that the status quo is unchangeable and thus fosters an environment ripe for creativity and borders expansion. Innovative solutions are the direct results of questioning and challenging the existing norms.
  • Through intrapreneurship, companies are better equipped to anticipate and adapt to shifting market trends and needs. This enables them to stay ahead of their competitors in offering inventive solutions.
  • Intrapreneurship promotes an inclusive culture that values each team member’s unique perspective. Its collaborative approach ensures the involvement of a diverse range of individuals, which fuels creativity and broad, comprehensive, and durable solutions.

Intrapreneurship, comprehensively, is a structured yet liberated approach to corporate innovation. This culture shift transforms organizations, making them innovation powerhouses that bank on tow conjugated elements: corporate reach and entrepreneurial spirit. It is the future of work, marking a fundamental shift from a fixed and formal business sphere to a flexible, dynamic, and creative one. Far from being at odds with corporate success, established companies’ intrapreneurship is the secret sauce that stirs the inspirational dish of ongoing innovation, growth, and market leadership.

From Stagnation to Innovation: Unleashing the Force of Intrapreneurship in Existing Businesses

Is Intrapreneurship the Key to Business Evolution?

Intrapreneurship, the concept of promoting an entrepreneurial mindset within the traditional structures of a firm, invokes several advantages, particularly for businesses dealing with stagnation. Staff members, when empowered with the tools and liberties traditionally reserved for entrepreneurs, can become ‘intrapreneurs’. These intrapreneurs stimulate the innovation process, bringing forth not only incremental changes but also ground-breaking advancements. This kind of dynamic, self-motivated, and innovative shift can lead to revitalized processes, products, or services.

Identifying the Barriers to Intrapreneurship

The most prevalent inhibitors for established businesses to embrace intrapreneurship lie in the deeply rooted corporate culture and bureaucratic structure. Organizations that discourage risk-taking and experimentation create an environment which stifles creativity and innovation. Additionally, a lack of resources dedicated to training and development may prevent professionals from adopting an intrapreneurial mindset. Convincing upper management of the long-term benefits may also prove challenging, as the process demands risk and the potential temporary loss of efficiency before tangible improvements emerge. This, coupled with the challenge of granting employees autonomy and involving them in decision-making processes, leads to a resistance against intrapreneurial initiatives.

Learning from Successful Intrapreneurship Models

Numerous well-established companies have successfully integrated intrapreneurship into their DNA, stimulating growth and innovation through a culture that promotes taking the entrepreneurial initiative. In the tech industry, Google’s ‘20% Time’ initiative is a classic example of encouraging intrapreneurship. The concept, which allows employees to spend 20% of their time working on independent projects of their interest, has given birth to some of its best services, including Gmail and Google News. Similarly, 3M promotes intrapreneurship by encouraging employees to spend 15% of their time on projects that they are passionate about, leading to the invention of popular products like Post-it Notes. These examples underline the fact that when intrapreneurship is nurtured within a company, it can lead to the creation of trailblazing products and services, thereby breathing new life into the organization.

Transforming Traditional Business Landscapes: The Game-Changing Power of Intrapreneurship

Is There Untapped Potential Lying Dormant Within Your Organization?

Consider a thriving company, with a large, knowledgeable workforce, established processes, and steady cash flow. Yet, within this company, there is still a vast reservoir of unrealized potential. This untapped resource is the entrepreneurial spirit inherent in many employees, waiting to be discovered and nurtured. This is the phenomenon of intrapreneurship, where staff members are given room to act like entrepreneurs within their organization. Trusting employees to take calculated risks and allowing them room to experiment with new ideas can lead to groundbreaking innovations that can redefine the entire business.

Challenges and Obstacles in Reviving Intrapreneurship

However, promoting such an innovative environment does not come without its challenges. The fear of failure is one of the most significant barriers to intrapreneurial endeavors; employees are often hesitant to take risks due to potential repercussions. Moreover, red tape and bureaucracy can strangle creativity, and the stringent hierarchical structure inherent in many companies can make it hard for entrepreneurial ideas to surface and gain traction. In some cases, proposed intrapreneurial projects may conflict with the company’s ongoing development plans, making it challenging for potential intrapreneurs to convince senior management of their worth.

Unleashing the Power of Intrapreneurship: Real-World Examples

There are, however, shining examples of companies that have successfully ingratiated intrapreneurship into their culture. Companies like Google and 3M, for instance, allow their employees a certain percentage of work time to devote to personal projects, resulting in wildly successful innovations like Google’s Gmail and 3M’s Post-it notes. Adobe’s Kickbox program is another excellent example; the company gives interested employees a ‘kickbox’ containing tools, practical advice, and even some seed funding to transform their innovative concept into reality. This bottom-up approach to innovation fosters autonomy and a sense of ownership amongst employees, making them feel more invested in their work and the company’s success. Another successful example is LinkedIn’s [in]cubator program, where any employee can pitch an idea and, if chosen, can work on it for a full quarter as part of their regular job, thereby fostering a culture of continuous innovation.

These examples elucidate how harnessing the dormant entrepreneurial spirit within an organization, despite various challenges, can result in significant benefits by transforming traditional business landscapes. An ingenious idea doesn’t only stem from the C-suite; it can come from anyone within the hierarchy. Hence, cultivating a culture of intrapreneurship offers organizations a powerful tool in ensuring they stay relevant, competitive, and innovative in a rapidly evolving business environment.


Have we fully acknowledged the potent potential of intrapreneurship in sparking innovation within well-established firms? Remember, this innovative paradigm shift is not essentially about big leaps but rather about those small, consistent steps of transformation. Think about how the creative, entrepreneurial spirit ingrained within each intrapreneur can germinate seeds of innovation in companies. Contemporary firms cannot afford to ignore the competitive advantage that an intrapreneur-led innovative culture gratuitously offers. Cultivating intrapreneurship provides not just an avenue for creativity and innovation, but it gives businesses a fighting chance to remain relevant and competitive in an ever-changing, fast-paced economic landscape.

I sincerely hope you all have found this discourse on intrapreneurship informative and insightful. By reading our blog, you are taking a sure step towards enlivening an innovation-led culture within your own organization. Be it you are a C-suite executive, a middle manager, or a newbie in your firm, the information and insights provided here gives you a comprehensive understanding of intrapreneurship, and equips you with the required tools to foster and nurture it within your own organizations. In today’s disruptive business environment, the ability to adapt and innovate is not just an add-on but an essential business survival skillset.

We are working tirelessly behind the scenes to bring you further insights and fresh perspectives on relevant business topics. We are particularly excited about our upcoming set of features that delve deeper into the strategies and practicalities of fostering innovation within established companies. Hence, continue walking with us in this journey of knowledge expansion. Expect thought-provoking discussions and tangible, actionable takeaways that you can implement within your own firms. Patience, as they say, bears the sweetest fruit—stay tuned for more.


1. What is intrapreneurship?
Intrapreneurship is a system where an employee acts like an entrepreneur within a company. They are encouraged to innovate and produce new ideas, even create new businesses, while still employed by the company.

2. How does intrapreneurship foster innovation in established companies?
Intrapreneurship allows employees to take ownership of their ideas, giving them the freedom to innovate and explore new possibilities. It fosters a culture of innovation and creativity, which can lead to ground-breaking outcomes for the company.

3. What are the benefits of intrapreneurship to a company?
Intrapreneurship can lead to new product developments, improved processes, and potential new avenues for revenue. Additionally, it empowers employees, increasing job satisfaction and talent retention.

4. What are some challenges faced by companies implementing intrapreneurship?
One of the primary challenges is creating a safe environment where employees are not afraid to take risks and potentially fail. Additionally, companies may struggle with providing the necessary resources and support, including time and funding, for intrapreneurial initiatives.

5. How can a company effectively implement intrapreneurship?
Companies can start by encouraging a culture of innovation and allowing room for calculated risks. In addition, mechanisms like innovation labs or dedicated time for employees to work on personal projects can be effective in fostering intrapreneurship.

Read about the best before making a choice.

TrustPilot Techreviewer G2 Reviews