Are you fostering the development of Intrapreneurs in your organization?

I’ve been doing a lot of work recently around the concept of intrapreneurship and I find it fascinating that this concept is completely foreign to some individuals.  Fortunately, the more organizations I work with, I’m finding that while they never realized that intrapreneurship was an actual word, they realize the importance of fostering this idea.  Let me define what an intrapreneur is:

Intrapreneurs are entrepreneurial-spirited individuals who work within organizations.  These people are highly-creative and are true innovators.  They are rarely content with “status-quo” and find themselves coming up with better ways of doing what their jobs require.  They are visionaries.  They are go-getters.  They ask really GREAT questions and come up with even better solutions.  They’ll even find better ways of doing things that they themselves created.  They basically are entrepreneurs within a corporate environment.  They are an organization’s MVA – Most Valuable Asset.

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After reading the above, would you classify yourself as an intrapreneur?  How well is YOUR organization fostering your growth and development?  Are you a manager or leader of the type of people I described above?  How well are you listening to their ideas?  How well are you providing them with the resources or technology that they need to implement these ideas? 

One thing I’ve learned from personal experience and from both quantitative and qualitative research on this topic is that intrapreneurs come in all shapes and sizes.  They don’t fit any one “classification” and you likely can’t pick them out by looking at them.  You need to listen to them.  Listen to their ideas.  Put those ideas into practice.  Because once an intrapreneur feels they’ve been heard, they will keep on innovating.  But if they aren’t heard; if they feel that their ideas are falling on deaf ears or their leaders are paying them lip service, they are going to leave.  You can count on it.

One of the easiest ways to develop and to foster the potential in intrapreneurs is to provide them a platform for their ideas.  Make them feel that their ideas are important.  Set up time for an intrapreneur to work on a new project that has no outward “relevance” to the job that they were hired to do.  What you’ll find is that these employees become invigorated by their work.  They are excited to get out of bed every morning and do work that they love.  Pretty soon, your organization will reap the benefits of innovation, creation, and replication.

This leaves me with one final question: what can you do right now to foster the development of your MVAs?