The Missing Link to Innovation and Inclusion

Have You Hugged an Intrapraneur Today?


There are those of us who pull our weight in traditional roles in existing organizations, doing the best we can to make a positive difference and earn a living.

There are those of us who hold our breath and jump….into the waters of entrepreneurship and independence in order to innovate, to have flexibility, to make a positive difference and earn a living.

Perhaps the most valuable people of all are intrapranuers – entrepreneurs inside.  They work tirelessly against corporate structures and cultures to make a positive difference and earn a living.  It’s not easy:

  • They usually make progress more slowly than they desire.  They must be patient
  • They often don’t have positional power.  They must influence and persuade.
  • They are not always appreciated and sometimes feared, or worse, marginalized.  They must be centered and optimistic.
  • They see a new way/product/service before others do. They must have vision, insight, and foresight.
  • They must move the powers- and assets-that-be in new directions.  They must be politically savvy.
  • They disrupt.  They must have faith and courage.

Clay Christensen showed us how disruptive innovation, enabled by capitalism, drives the American economy.  Creative destruction.  Small, nimble companies taking over industries from sleepy incumbents, ensured overall economic vitality in the 20th century.  What happens now that so much power, money, people, and assets are tied up in companies too big to fail with limited upside potential in continued productivity improvements?  Large companies have economies of scale that small companies cannot access anytime soon, and they still need to innovate (e.g., Dow Chemical).  Innovation at that scale is vital to our country’s competitiveness.  This is not just a challenge of for-profit companies.  Healthcare, government organizations, social services, higher education, orchestras, museums, etc….all need to innovate.

Intrapranuers are pushing that rock up the hill, often operating in organizations without a currency of empathy.  They need our help.  Who is it in your organization?  Is it you?  If so, what would help you?  Let us know.

Meanwhile, thank you.

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3 Responses to “Have You Hugged an Intrapraneur Today?”

  1. Jim

    Question is do the Intrapraneurs know how to effectively get past these hurdles and become effective. Is there some coach for them. If they are marginalized, how do they get there?

  2. jackieacho

    Great point. This is what’s so difficult. Intrapraneurs must have skills, and perhaps more impt, temperament of company man/woman AND entrepreneurs. They need coaching and championing from people who know both. Intrapraneurs need to REACH OUT to people who can help inside and outside. Often they pull away. The leaders who count on intrapraneurs to reach growth and innovation need to help them access what they need to succeed. Thanks so much for weighing in.


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