When I Realized That I Was an Intrapreneur (No, That’s Not a Typo)

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I have worked in the corporate environment my entire adult life. I have loved it and fell in love with it when I first stepped into one right out of University. But over the years I always felt like I was the odd one out. I could never put my finger on it. I never quite “fit” in. But what I did know – was that I have always been disruptive – I have gone about things differently – I was never happy with NO as an answer. I always wanted to do things better, if someone said do A, I would say well why not A+B+C? I always pushed the boundaries and found creative ways of going about things.

While in theory this may sound like what an organization would want to see in their employees, people were at times uncomfortable or at taken aback by my thinking. Never the less, I continued to do “well” according to the corporate standards…my career progressed and my work got recognized. It was not until about a year ago a friend of mine said to me – “Chitra you are operating like an ENTREPRENEUR in a large company” it then all made sense to me – How I had been thinking and operating over the past 2 decades. An IINTRAPRENEUR is someone who takes an ENTRERENEURIAL approach from within a large organization. Someone who challenges conventional thinking to drive innovation, creative thinking and new ways of approaching business.

Since then, I have become obsessed with the idea of this and have focused my PhD research on this topic. I look at why these people are so important now, what are their traits and how companies can really take advantage of this talent. These people are disruptors, often challenging the status quo, finding new ways of doing things, pushing boundaries…they are essential within organizations…more so now than ever before. The word disruption can often be taken as negative. I read an article recently by Virgin on disruption – they refer to it as it being a “wonderful word. It’s about being stopped in your tracks and seeing something in a radically different light. Often this is something simple, yet once you see it turned upside down it can transform your life.” I love this so much because it is so true. I think about this notion quite often, why are we so afraid of seeing things differently? I think it is the wonder and the magic of what our brains are capable of… if we can just allow ourselves to imagine the possibilities.