Intrapreneurship is the New Entrepreneurship The entrepreneurial mindset is necessary to bring a culture of innovation to all organizations.

By Claudia Chan

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Barn Images

While Steve Jobs popularized the term "intrapreneurship" in a 1985 Newsweek article, this topic is still gaining traction as the entrepreneurial mindset is increasingly needed within corporations as much as outside to set new vision, disrupt ways of doing things, anticipate change, and solve problems that will better our culture. Innovation is strategy for the future. And since individuals -- you and me -- make up our private sector, public sector and civil society, we need more individuals creating new and better norms within larger structures.

Coined by Gifford Pinchot III in the late 1970s, he described intrapreneurs as "dreamers who do. Those who take hands-on responsibility for creating innovation of any kind, within a business."

If you are an individual within a company, here is my challenge to you: Recognize that you are unique and have the ability to bring a distinct and insightful perspective to your position and to the company. Ask yourself to consider what you would recommend to your CEO that could help the company be more successful in a specific area while also benefiting people in and/or outside the organization. If the idea came to you quickly that means you already have a vision and a seed that needs watering.

If you need a prompt, consider whether you could:

  • Recommend a new workflow or org-chart change that will yield better results in shorter time

  • Push an external investment that grows the company's brand visibility, respect and reputation in an increasingly relevant sector

  • Support a new relationship, vendor, or partnership that helps you achieve an exponentially greater result

  • Start an internal initiative that will ultimately benefit employee culture

Related: Why You Don't Have to Be an Owner to Be an Entrepreneur

Here are five entrepreneurial habits to hone if intrapreneurship is for you (and I hope it is!):

1. Find Comfort in the Discomfort: If you're not uncomfortable or scared, you're not driving innovation

2. Don't Abort Your Vision: If you have a vision for something that can affect positive change, don't abort it due to lack of time, too much effort or fear

3. Prepare to Weather the Storms: To achieve your vision, know you will put in extra work and weather many storms and naysayers

4. Be Driven By the Purpose: Get clear on the positive impact your initiative will create and let that goal get you through the storms, because there is nothing more rewarding than "doing good" and dedicating efforts towards a greater purpose

5. Always Be Marketing: Know you will need to consistently sell, show up, speak up and stand up for your initiatives and ideas to those above, across, and below

Just because you may work in a corporate environment or large business does not mean you cannot embrace the entrepreneurial spirit. Why not be an inside source of boldness, innovation & imagination and contribute in new ways -- big or small -- to grow the prospects of your organization and its culture? I leave you with a favorite Emerson quote: "What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within us out into the world, miracles happen."

Related: Women: Are We to Blame for the Glass Ceiling?

Wavy Line
Claudia Chan

Women's Empowerment Expert, Serial Entrepreneur, Founder of SHE Summit Global Conference (Oct 6-7 in NYC -

Claudia Chan is the CEO of S.H.E. Globl Media Inc., the multi-platform women’s empowerment media company behind the renowned global women’s conference, S.H.E. Summit. As a women’s leadership expert and social entrepreneur, Chan celebrates and spreads stories, strategies and solutions from over 200 women leaders on Her life's work is to accelerate women's equality and unlock female potential because she believes when women and girls do better, the world does better. 

Editor's Pick

A Leader's Most Powerful Tool Is Executive Capital. Here's What It Is — and How to Earn It.
One Man's Casual Side Hustle Became an International Phenomenon — And It's on Track to See $15 Million in Revenue This Year
3 Reasons to Keep Posting on LinkedIn, Even If Nobody Is Engaging With You
Why a Strong Chief Financial Officer Is Crucial for Your Franchise — and What to Look for When Hiring One

Related Topics


Working Remote? These Are the Biggest Dos and Don'ts of Video Conferencing

As more and more businesses go remote, these are ways to be more effective and efficient on conference calls.

Growing a Business

The Best Way to Run a Business Meeting

All too often, meetings run longer than they should and fail to keep attendees engaged. Here's how to run a meeting the right way.

Business News

'Worst Day of My Life': Fans Are Furious as Dairy Queen Removes Iconic Item From Menu Just Ahead of Summer

The popular flavor has been on (and sometimes off) menus for the last five years.


Companies Aren't Talking About Black Vernacular and Dialect Bias in The Workplace. Here's Why That Needs to Change.

One of the biggest strikes against Black workers in the United States isn't always the way they look or dress, but it can often be something more subtle and ingrained: how they speak.

Real Estate

45% of Millennials Now Have Plans to Buy a Home in Suburbia — and It Has Everything to Do With This Work Policy

In the grand game of real estate, the suburbs are not just surviving — they're thriving — and it's all thanks to the game-changing work policy.


How to Control Your Brain for Optimal Functioning

Turn your brain into a force of nature by optimizing it for success with biohacking.