In Search of the Intrapreneur: Choosing the Right People


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Intrepreneurs stand out in the crowd; choose your in-house hires carefully! Image by m3_fs

Intrepreneurs stand out in the crowd; choose your in-house hires carefully! Image by m3_fs

New products, new technology and innovative ways of doing things are the fuels for future growth and ultimate survival in any corporation. The key to this growth, in any organization, rests within the abilities of the people and their skill sets within the company.

One of the most important jobs senior managers in any organization are tasked with is finding intrapreneurs, employees who are ready to take a project and run with it.

Intrepreneurs are individuals who can help your company develop new business in  the near and long-term horizon.

Qualities of the Intrapreneur

In order to select the right person from among the current employee base or through a new hire selection process, you’ll need to develop standards for the position, and select a group of individuals rather than a single person or manager.

Creativity is an important quality of the Intrapreneur, but such individuals must also be able to adapt creative impulses within the culture of a larger organization. The following criteria is a useful way to approach this problem:

  1. An intrapreneurial person must possess some of the qualities of an entrepreneur without the independence of the entrepreneur. His or her ultimate loyalty must be to the organization/employer vs. self.
  2. The intrapreneur must fully know, understand, and work well within the existing corporate  culture.
  3. An intrapreneur must be able to see beyond and outside the existing product grouping offered by the company.
  4. The intrapreneur will need to understand and perform the essentials of new market analysis, focusing on marketing and financial analysis.
  5. The intrapreneur embraces change and seeks improvement within the company.
  6. An intrapreneur must have successfully run projects, and always places market testing before execution.
  7. Intrapreneurs are proficient at “strategic scanning”, i.e. visualizing what happens next ; constantly thinking one step beyond.
  8. Intrapreneurs display both confidence and humility, not the rugged individualism one might expect from an entrepreneur (notwithstanding the incredible success of Steve Jobs).

A Working Job Description for Intrepreneurs Will Make Your Job Easier

Fit these qualities, as well as those which are unique to your industry, into a working job description or group of job descriptions, if you are tasked with building a new “intrapreneurial department.” There also may be certain minimum level or bar of educational credentials that you might expect in current employees, for example. Moreover,  there might be a minimum threshold of experience and maturity that’s necessary.

In the end, much of your decision will rest on personality and accomplishment. Integrity and the “right” attitude might trump education, depending on the circumstances. In this economy, competition is fierce; the need for intrapreneurs in larger businesses doesn’t shout, it screams.


Driscoll, Emily. Intrapreneurship Opportunities for Grads. (2010). Accessed October 14, 2013

The Edward Lowe Foundation.  How to Prepare a Market AnalysisBiz Info Library. Accessed October 14, 2013

Toma, Dan. 5 Must-Have Skills for Intrapreneurs(2006). Board of Innovation. Accessed October 14, 2013

Govindarajan, Vijay and Desai, Jatin. Recognize Intrapreneurs Before They Leave. (2013).  Harvard Business Review Blog. Accessed October 14, 2013

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