As a child, I was surrounded by a family – both sides of the tree – of small business owners and creatives. The drive to make something new – businesses, new gadgets, clothing, music, etc. – is a genetic trait that seems to run strong and deep.
Me, I was driven by empathy and an urgency to make the world a better place. And so, for years, I worked for a series of nonprofits and NGOs attempting to do just that.
It took me many of those years to realize that, in spite of myself, I had cultivated my own creative ability and that it came through in my work as an intrapreneur.
If you are not familiar with the term first coined by Gifford Pinchot in the 70’s, an intrapreneur“focuses on innovation and creativity, and transforms an idea into a profitable venture, while operating within the organizational environment.”
Though my efforts were rarely profitable (the goals of my employers typically were positive health, environmental or social impacts), I was one of these intrapreneurs able to develop new roles, programs, and services with amazing colleagues and with the support and resources of the organizations I worked for.
Which do you consider yourself: Entrepreneur or Intrapreneur?
As I continue my work with both social entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations, I find many similarities in their motivation to create something that is lasting and impactful, but also brings in revenue to support their activities and goals. The similarities range from their need to draw on creativity and resourcefulness to working through their assumptions to come up with a way to implement their ideas successfully.
And yet, the path you choose – starting your own venture or starting something where you work – and thrive in as an individual depends on you and your talents, your goals, and the way you like to work.
The reality is that most of us will work for (or hire) others during our lifetimes, and entrepreneurial skills are useful whether we start our own venture or want to create, or encourage others to create, change from within the organization in which we work.
Both entre- and intrapreneurial paths can be rewarding, challenging, and have a tremendous impact by allowing you to bring new ideas to bear or create change where you see a need.
And, both paths have unique leadership opportunities, decision-making and problem-solving approaches, resources and goals, and constraints that will test your entrepreneurial mettle.
Which path have you chosen (or are considering)? Why?
Intrapreneurship Workshop: Creating Change From Within
Kinde and I recently conducted an intrapreneurship workshop in the Salt Lake City area.
In this one-day workshop, we explored the concept of intrapreneurship as a way of creating meaningful work for yourself while helping the organization you work for improve its impact, bottom line, or culture at any level. (Download PDF: Intrapreneurship Workshop Flier)
Throughout the day, participants had the opportunity to practice accessing and nourishing the creativity, inspiration and personal abilities that they’ll need to bring new ideas into being within their workplaces. We also shared concepts and tools, strategies, and structures to evaluate new ideas, communicate them concretely, gain support from employers, and navigate roadblocks to making Big Ideas real in the world.
If you are interested in hosting a workshop at your organization, please send us an email. We’d love to hear how we might work together.