I was fascinated by the term “intrapreneurship” when I first read about it in the 90s (the term was actually coined in the 80s, but I’m generally late to the party).

Here was the promise. Build a business but limit the risk. Wow, that sounded great.

Intrapreneurship, however, never really seemed to go anywhere. Once in a while you’d get hear a story or the Post-it Note innovation example would resurface. That’s changing. A rising interest innovation, entrepreneurship and lean development, and applying these principles in enterprise settings all point toward a re-surging need for the intrapreneur.

This is what came to mind for me when reading Paul Singh’s newsletter and he discussed “The Rise of the Everywhere Else.”  He stated, “Silicon Valley was the place to be… if you wanted to build a big company anyway. Over the past year or two, other cities have started to pick up steam… I’ll bet that two trends are about to start: (1) more early-stage investors are going to follow 500 & YC by looking for deal flow elsewhere and (2) the outlook for local angels/VCs outside the Valley, unless they adapt quickly, is going to get a lot tougher.”

He wasn’t talking about intrapreneurs. But the same newsletter called out the cultural shift at companies like JPMorgan who’s executives come from tech backgrounds like Google and Yahoo, with computer science degrees, rather than traditional banking credentials. They’re bringing with them a different cultural norm and experience fighting nimble competition that the digital and startup economy has created.

This intersection of enterprise and entrepreneurship is spawning the rise of the intrapreneur. When Jonathan Ortmans, CEO of Global Entrepreneurship Week, states, “Entrepreneurship has been transformed from a subject of narrow commercial significance into one of substantive cultural consequence…” That’s what corporations are seeking from their innovation and growth initiatives, and they’re looking more frequently to internal intrapreneurs to accomplish it.


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