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The Guide to Entrepreneurship by Michael Szycher Ph.D

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17
Chapter 2
Intrapreneurship: Corporate
Entrepreneurship
2.1 Introduction
“Sooner or later your competitors will slow your sales, and prots
will begin to evaporate. The solution is Intrapreneurship.
Some of the world’s most successful companies, including 3M, Anaconda-
Ericsson, GE, Lockheed, Intel, Apple Computers, Rubbermaid, Google, Sony,
Toyota, Thermo Electron, Medtronic, and IBM, are all enthusiastic supporters
of intrapreneurship. Could that be their secret of success?
2.2 Denitions
An intrapreneur is an innovator within an existing, large company.
In their inuential 1978 publication, Gifford Pinchot III and Elizabeth
Pinchot
1
coined the phrase “intrapreneurship” to describe the marriage
of an entrepreneurial spirit—complete with its erce independence and
lack of deference to established views and the connes of conventional
wisdom—with the resources of a large corporation. Later, Norman Macrae
credited the term to Gifford Pinchot III in the April 17, 1982, issue of The
Economist.
2
18The Guide to Entrepreneurship: How to Create Wealth for Your Company
In 1992, the American Heritage Dictionary ofcialized the popular use of
intrapreneur to mean, “A person within a large corporation who takes direct
responsibility for turning an idea into a protable nished product through
assertive risk-taking and innovation.” Intrapreneurship is now known as
practicing a corporate management style that integrates risk-taking and inno-
vation with reward and motivational techniques more traditionally associated
with entrepreneurship.
In 1994, Pinchot and Pinchot published their “Intraprise Manifesto,
3
which is summarized next:
Employees are treated with independence, dignity, and responsibility.
Employees make up their own minds about what to do, limited only by
general rules and commitments.
Employees have access to resources required by their ideas and are
held accountable.
Employees have the authority to manage the resources of their business
units without interference.
Employees are free to select their associations (e.g., peer support, coaches).
Employees are permitted, and even rewarded, for taking qualied risks
and making mistakes.
Using the failed examples of Wang Computers, DEC, Polaroid, and
Kodak, Investopedia
4
suggests that companies should encourage employees
to explore ideas rather than waiting until the company is in a bind. If an
idea looks protable, the company provides the innovator an opportunity
to become an intrapreneur. Intrapreneurs thus use their entrepreneurial
skills without personally incurring nancial risks associated with entrepre-
neurial activities.
2.2.1 Kelly Johnson’s 14 Rules of Skunk Works
5
Johnson earned recognition for his contributions to noteworthy aircraft
designs including the Lockheed U-2, SR-71 Blackbird spy planes, P-38
Lightning, P-80 Shooting Star, and the F-104 Starghter. Johnsons famed
“down-to-brass-tacks” management style was summed up by his motto, “Be
quick, be quiet, and be on time.” He ran Lockheed’s Skunk Works using
“Kelly’s 14 Rules.” (Note: Skunk Works is a term used to describe keeping a
group of intrapreneurs separate from the rest of the rm.)

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