4 Tools for Today’s Intrapreneur

There are two types of innovators in organisations today. Firstly, there’s the full time professional whose job it is to deliver new products, services, R&D etc.

Then, there’s the ‘volunteer’. The person who has a full time role and has the passion and ideas to make a difference, widely known as ‘intrapreneurs’.

The performance of both types of innovator depends on many factors, but the most important factor for intrapreneurs is ‘entrepreneurial spirit’. Fortunately for some intrapreneurs, their organisation allows them time to explore their entrepreneurial spirit, whilst others have to find time to pursue their passion and ideas.

The spirit of the entrepreneur is to envision a new future, a new bold idea, then put the pieces together to deliver real outcomes. The final outcome is determined by two factors – people and process.

The spirit of the intrapreneur is the same as the entrepreneur; to envision a new future, a bold idea, and then pragmatically put together the pieces to deliver real outcomes. The issue for intrapreneurs is that their organisation may not want to change, may actively fight against change, or worse, take the idea and put it on a priority list!

The entrepreneurial ecosystem has many tools and strategies about how to best take an idea to market. Tools like lean start-up, design thinking, incubators, co-working spaces etc.

Whilst the tools of the intrapreneur are less well defined, the common focus of people and process applies to both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs.

Within our Hargraves community, experience and collaboration has identified some proven practices and tools that support intrapreneurs. We believe the best tools are:


  1. To understand your own strengths and learn how to build a multi-strength team, try the VIA Signature Strengths Survey “Authentic Happiness” from University of Pennsylvania. It’s free!
  2. To develop your influencing skills and learn how to influence when you do not have authority, read Geof Cox’s “Getting Results Without Authority” *.


  1. Asking the right questions reveals better answers. You need to understand known unknowns and the unknown unknowns! The 123 Innovate® Collaboration Cards are a proven resource with over 100 great thought starting questions.
  2. Developing a unique process that addresses your specific situation will provide a faster and more successful journey to explore your idea. The 123 Innovate® Placecards can be downloaded free and give you the tools to develop different and unique innovation processes.

To foster successful intrapreneurs, we’ve collated tools which focus on People and Process into our 2015 Leadership for Innovation ‘Future Intrapreneurs’ program. Partnering with UTS Business ensures this program offers opportunities for intrapreneurs to collaborate with entrepreneurs, and vice versa.

When considering ‘Leadership for Innovation’, I always go back to my best Thomas Edison quote ‘Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration’. Today many innovation tools and activities are well known, so the 99% perspiration is clear. It’s the secret of the 1% inspiration which makes all the difference!

*Also offered through Hargraves programs

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