How to Nurture an Intrapreneurial Mindset

(Somewhat) successful entrepreneurs often receive significant attention - think of Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and even Adam Neumann. Vice versa, intrapreneurship, defined as fostering entrepreneurial behavior within established organizations, often happens outside the spotlight:

Have you ever heard of Google's Paul Buchheit, Sony's Ken Kutaragi, or Nestlé's Eric Favre? In case you're wondering, these are all famous intrapreneurs, whose innovations you're probably very familiar with: Do Gmail, Nespresso and PlayStation ring a bell?

But how did these various spouts of genius come about?  Let's dive into the intricacies of what it takes to foster an intrapreneurial culture and mindset across your organization. 

What Is the Intrapreneurial Mindset?

If you asked us to describe an intrapreneur, we'd list the following characteristics: risk-taker, creative, resilient, and problem-solver. Different from entrepreneurs, who create companies from 0, intrapreneurs leverage existing resources from within their organization to develop their innovation projects from an initial idea to implementation. Intrapreneurs are skilled in spotting opportunities, challenging the status quo in their organization, and (most importantly) overcoming obstacles such as internal nay-sayers, and stakeholder conflicts with resilience, and determination.


Fostering a Culture of Innovation

An organizational culture that encourages autonomy, experimentation, and open communication is essential for an intrapreneurial movement to strive.

Over the past years, we’ve been privileged to work with innovation leaders such as Tetra Pack, Roche, Claas, and Siemens Energy. We supported them in launching and nurturing an intrapreneurial culture from scratch to success. Here is what we’ve learned:


How to Foster an Intrapreneurial Mindset


1. Encourage Autonomy

Fuel a strong intrinsic motivation among your workforce; empower employees to act with autonomy, and take true ownership. When individuals are free to make decisions, they're more likely to embrace risks, submit ideas, and innovate intrinsically.


2. Provide Support

Creating strong support structures is important for intrapreneurial programs and cultures to succeed. Provide access to resources, coachings, and know-how to best enable intrapreneurs to navigate the tough challenges ahead.


3. Embrace Failure

Innovation means dealing with uncertainties, taking risks, and accepting failure. Hence, organizations must learn to embrace failure as a learning opportunity and to encourage outside-the-box experimentation.

By creating an environment where failure is accepted and even celebrated, intrapreneurs are more likely to push boundaries, think creatively, and drive meaningful change within the organization.


4. Recognize Achievements

Acknowledge and celebrate intrapreneurial efforts, achievements, and individuals to create a positive momentum and inspire others. This will create a culture that encourages employees to submit and develop ideas fearlessly.


Innovation thrives in environments that nurture intrapreneurial mindsets. By creating a culture that embraces autonomy, provides support, embraces failure, and recognizes intrapreneurial efforts, organizations can unlock new levels of creativity, problem-solving, and growth in their employees. As businesses navigate the complexity of today's world, fostering a culture of internal innovation is more important than ever.

Give your team the necessary tools to drive change through intrapreneurship: the KICKBOX intrapreneurship program. Contact us to arrange a free demo today.

Get started today