How Developers Can Be Intrapreneurs at Work

Everyone knows what entrepreneurship means, but another term has emerged to embody a similar spirit with a different execution: Intrapreneurship. An intrapreneur is an individual who thinks and acts entrepreneurially at their present job. Without leaving to start their own business, this person is effecting change in their company through new projects and initiatives that drive growth and innovation for the betterment of the individual, the team, and the company at large.

Why do people choose to become intrapreneurs at their companies? It might be due to a dissatisfaction with their current responsibilities or a lack of passion for their work. Intrapreneurship is a way to boost creativity and morale and find new purpose within an organization. But not all intrapreneurs are unhappy with their jobs; often, people choose to act to launch new projects they think will benefit the organization and push it in new and exciting directions. It’s often the most passionate and committed employees who take on these qualities and make intrapreneurial moves to benefit the company. Intrapreneurship can also bolster an employee’s influence and authority in their current position and help them stand out for raises and promotions down the road.

If you’re interested in becoming an intrapreneur at your company, here are a couple tips to get you started.

Spot Areas that Could Use Improvement

The fastest route to intrapreneurship is understanding the holes and deficiencies at your company and moving to fill in the gaps. As an employee, you know better than anyone what problems you and your team face and would have the most logical solutions for a fix. Let’s say you’re frustrated with the present QA process at your organization and have an idea for how you can make it smoother. Sketch out the plan for how you envision an ideal system for tests and bring it to your supervisor.

Be candid about the pros and any cons, but most importantly, explain why your process is superior to the one currently in place. In this way, you’re working to streamline an existing process in a creative way to make the organization more efficient. If your team adopts your system, you can say on your resume, in future interviews, and in performance reviews and promotion opportunities that you improved your team’s productivity by acting intrapreneurially.

Workshop Your Ideas

If you have a great idea for a new service or feature your team or company should offer, be sure to discuss it with your peers. You may think it’s innovative and useful for your customers, but they may have a different opinion. Your co-workers could find it too costly or niche to fit a real market need. Hearing feedback, both positive and negative, can only help you develop your idea further and iterate. Take their feedback to heart and integrate it into your brainstorming.

Once you’ve reached a point where you’re confident in the idea and believe it’s feasible, useful, and potentially profitable to your company, take it to your supervisor. If they love it, then you’ve created a new full-time or side project to work on or even a new revenue stream. If they don’t, then you’ve demonstrated an interest in making the company better through acting intrapreneurially in your position.

Find Support Within Your Organization

Like entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship can get lonely considering you’ll probably be working on your concept by yourself. That’s why it’s important to find support at your company. If someone like a supervisor believes in you and your ideas, you’ll be much more likely to feel motivated to pursue them.

Working at a company that clearly prioritizes freedom to create for employees can inspire innovation and an intrapreneurial spirit, helping developers go after their ideas for how they can improve their company from the inside out. Find someone who believes that you can make a difference at your company, either a mentor, work friend, or supervisor, to help encourage you on when you both believe that your idea can benefit the work your organization is doing.

Whether you’re looking for some new inspiration at work, interested in pursuing an idea to help your company, or trying to get noticed by management, acting intrapreneurially at your organization can only help you as an employee where you are now and make you more marketable when looking to switch jobs.

If you’re looking to move right now, Stack Overflow Jobs can point you in the right direction. Check out which companies are hiring for talented developers like you right now.


Alyssa Mazzina

Alyssa was a Content Writer at Stack Overflow where she wrote for the Code for a Living blog, helping developers make the most of their careers. She lives in California, in a house filled with kids and dogs.

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