How Intrapreneurs Are Driving Software Choices

There are many different ways to be a leader – micromanaging everything isn’t always the best option. Everybody has individual strengths and weaknesses, and sometimes being able to acknowledge an individual’s hidden strengths can be difficult.

Some of the best leaders, though, are able to let their workers “off the leash,” so they can thrive and grow the business with autonomy. These self-motivated individuals are frequently referred to as intrapreneurs.

Self Starters with Ownership

Intrapreneurship is a term that is growing in popularity, but has in fact been around for a few decades. Steve Jobs is credited for embracing the phrase and its meaning, although he wasn’t the first one to take advantage of the concept.

In fact, one of the earliest documented examples of intrapreneurship comes from outside the tech field. The invention of the Post-It note, something as ubiquitous in offices as staplers and paperclips, was the result of a 3M employee allowed to perform to his potential.

That’s what intrapreneurship really boils down to: allowing employees to take ownership of their work and to thrive in the areas that they’re most skilled within.

According to American Express and Entrepreneur, 58% of managers are extremely willing to “support employees who want to chase business opportunities.” In many cases, it’s a matter of managers swallowing their pride and realising that certain employees might be better at specific tasks then they are.

Intrapreneurship isn’t for every company – it’s dependent on leadership styles and specifically on employees. It’s benefits should not be ignored, though.

The most important thing to realise about the concept of intrapreneurship is that the employees themselves are often experts in their field. Managers should be experts at leadership and managing- however, they might not be experts in software or technology or whatever the specific industry is.

Leading is a full time job – and assembling teams with expertise is always necessary for the best outcomes in business. For this reason, companies can greatly benefit from listening to the experts – their own employees, the people who will actually be using software.

Listen and Learn

When it comes to using custom software for business, it can be easy to look at a presentation or package and think about how it can benefit your employees.

ROI and efficiency benefits are just numbers, and managers often just want to see these numbers go up. If a software switch can do the trick, then they believe they should just do it.

The problem is, without getting actual input from the people who will use the software, they won’t end up with the results that they are looking for.

Many companies are now looking at the go-getters in their company for answers. Although CIOs are popular in large corporations, many medium-to-small size businesses don’t have the resources to hire someone like that full time.

Instead, they are asking their own employees for suggestions.

They are the most comfortable using their daily software. They experience the most problems and come up with the most solutions. This happens naturally, no matter what industry they find themselves in.

These problems and solutions often form the foundation of what custom software is – after all, custom software is intended to solve problems and boost efficiency.

A manager can look to solve theoretical problems through software all they want. If intrapreneurs are used, though, then actual, real world problems are the ones that will get solved. Plus, they will be more likely to stick around within the company.

94% of intrapreneurs believe they could start their own firm. It’s worth it to get these people the tools they need to succeed within your company. That way, they will feel better about staying with the business and will be able to be more productive.

Intrapreneurs and Iconic Developments

Intrapreneurs are often responsible for some of the most iconic products within their respective companies. Ever “liked” something on Facebook? Of course you have, and so has everyone else in the world.

Facebook intrapreneurs were encouraged to take part in all-night “hackathons” and years ago, the Like button and concept was a direct result of this. It’s become a symbol of the company and was the direct result of letting an expert employee have the power that they needed.

Video games are a multi-billion dollar industry, thanks in large part to the popularity of Sony’s PlayStation line. Where did the concept and execution of the PlayStation come from? An intrapreneur, of course.

Ken Kutaragi was an employee in the sound labs at Sony, however, he had a vision of making a better version of Nintendo’s game system. Sony wasn’t even in the games business at all, however, the CEO of the company believed in Kutaragi, gave him the space to work, and grew the company exponentially as a result.

Intrapreneurs are more than just workers. They have the potential to help companies maximise their potential, and even to move past it. However, without leaders that give them the opportunity, these companies will never get the chance to capitalise on their benefits.