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Igniting Innovation: Spearheading Intrapreneurship In Organizations Providing employees with a space for them to shine their full selves, and encouraging creativity is at the heart of an honest intrapreneurship mindset for organizations.

By Mélanie Lapointe

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

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Supporting courage is a key element to genuine differentiation and meaningful innovation in today's world. Providing employees with a space for them to shine their full selves, and encouraging creativity is at the heart of an honest intrapreneurship mindset for organizations.

Intrapreneurship is much more than a trendy buzzword. More and more leaders understand and recognize its unique added value to a truly successful work culture driving meaningful changes and lasting growth. Linked to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, encouraging human skills to be developed to their full potential, and capitalizing on our humanity is our only edge over robotics and AI, and as such, the qualities of an intrapreneur will become more and more sought after. Leaders who acknowledge the essential qualities of intrapreneurship programs in their organization are strategically investing in their employees' growth, which undoubtedly leads the entire entity to better success.

Leaders at the top of their industries have applied intrapreneurial mindsets for decades. Multiple companies and organizational success that are today thriving for their innovative, forward thinking have had the courage of capitalizing on their employee's creativity, recognizing their singular potential, and offering a supportive system. Harvard Business Review says that for companies to be successful, they need to recognize innovation as a permanent function within the business, and a holistic approach is necessary for real innovation-driven changes. Empowering people to act their best self, and working to their full potential and ability is at the core of a company's success. The reason we speak about intrapreneurship programs and intrapreneurial mindset is because no individual alone can bring an idea into reality. A committed integral system with adapted resources needs to be in place. A supportive organizational structure, with a genuine work culture based on collaboration and authentic communication, creates and empowers intrapreneurship behaviors to benefit all levels. The recognition of employees leads to trust and liability, encouraging everyone to work to their full potential, with a commitment to the organization's success.

Related: Driving Innovation: Identifying Your Employees' Entrepreneurial Spirit

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Intrapreneurship is a system that allows an employee to act like an entrepreneur within a company or other organization. Intrapreneurs are self-motivated, proactive, and action-oriented people who take the initiative to pursue an innovative product or service. According to Forbes, optimizing a product or service already existing is key for lasting growth and profitability. Creativity, service orientation, critical thinking, cognitive flexibility, and emotional intelligence are all part of the top ten skills needed to successfully address the Fourth Industrial Revolution, according to the World Economic Forum. These skills are also an integral part of an intrapreneur's mindset. Creativity being the main one, leaders gain from encouraging their employees to think and act as business owners, as entrepreneurs. By allowing a safe space for ideas to arise, employees gain confidence and power in their work. To think and behave like they are owners, employees drive change, and thus embody the principles of a supportive work culture. Intrapreneurs are not afraid to take risks, they are accountable for their work, and are driven by a genuine desire to improve the customer experience. The organization's values play a key role in encouraging an intrapreneurship mindset. It is critical for the employees to have a sense of belonging and appreciation for them to invest time and energy into new ideas, which may possibly become groundbreaking in the industry, and set a clear competitive advantage.

The intrapreneur mindset is equally relevant for the recognition and empowerment of women in the workplace. Many companies now look for initiatives and programs to support their female employees, to encourage them to speak up, take the place they deserve, ask for promotions, and influence the C-suite executive decisions by becoming one of them. The intrapreneur mindset encourages these behaviors in women. It tackles their creativity, their confidence in asking powerful questions, and them taking the lead on projects. They feel comfortable and confident to volunteer ideas and unique insights, contributing a necessary balance and added value to the impactful work being done. After all, recognizing the feminine force is essential in all innovation-driven culture.

Intrapreneurship is, in short, supporting courage in employees. Granting employees the space to bring their full selves to work, and being genuinely open and curious to their bright ideas and unique insights is key for a fruitful work environment. With them feeling safe and cared for, as well as respected and valued as individuals, real meaningful innovative breakthroughs can see light from empowered employees.

Related: Initiating Ideas: Entrepreneur Middle East Academy Stages Workshop For The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention

Mélanie Lapointe

Head of Learning and Development, Entrepreneur Middle East

Mélanie Lapointe is passionate about everything people and culture. An expert in diversity and inclusion-related topics including gender issues and intercultural communication, Mélanie has worn many hats in her 15-year career in learning and talent development. Her inclusive leadership style comes from having lived, worked, and studied in seven countries through an expat life that she embarked on in her teenage years. Her millennial perspective makes her a caring and devoted professional, committed to do good through her work. Mélanie’s vision of an ideal world is one where one’s voice is one’s ability to bloom, hence her drive to write these community-oriented pieces.

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