Illustration: Riley Rossmo

The Bizarre Intrapreneur Battle

No matter how much some people keep supporting that “the intrapreneurs do not exist”, or discredit them as “second league entrepreneurs”, the true reality is that the intrapreneur is, for real, like a four leaf clover.

You barely can see them, but once you find one, and as long as you are be able to take care of it and keep it as it deserves, it will be capable of providing us with something much more crucial than “good luck”.

Because nowadays, as we are living under extreme uncertain conditions, and everyone competes with each other, it won’t be the good luck the last hope to avoid our company from being totally forgotten.

Present and future belong to those companies that will be capable of fighting with intelligence in a true battle for the continuous reinvention, so new proposals can provide them with an ideal exponential growth.

A hard and complex battle, not exempt of any kind of sacrifices, having the villain at your own home, inside your company or around the corner, ready to fight for the conservatism and claiming “The light at the end of the tunnel might be a train”.

A battle, sometimes to survive, but always to grow and evolve, which is the bizarre intrapreneur battle.

And in this case, bizarre is not understood as the English or French translation, which means somebody or something odd or unusual. Although, as a second thought, maybe the intrapreneur is also a bizarre person, just as the four leaf clover is a bizarre plant.

But, bizarre is understood with a different meaning, “bizarro”, the Spanish one, which involves, in a more wide sense, what a fighter is and must be: a warrior, a hero inside the company.

“Bizarro”, from italian etimology:
1. adj. Brave, hardworking.
2. adj. Generous, magnificent, splendid.

Let’s focus on learning which are the characteristics that truly define the bizarre intrapreneur, the real fighter that any company needs.


The intrapreneur detractors may say that the real bravery belongs to the entrepreneur or business owner, that under extremely uncertain conditions, and “without the comfort” of a salary at the end of the month, are capable of betting it all.

In my opinion, the entrepreneur merit does not become the intrapreneur demerit.

Because, if there is something that the intrapreneur really stands out, that is the bravery. A more than required feature in order to:

  • Rise up as a non-conformist willing to fight against the sacred status-quo.
  • Fight for the development, growth and reinvention of the company, while confronting a powerful reticence to any change. Salim Ismail really gets to the point when talking about the autoimmune system of the companies in “Exponential Organizations”. An inherent skill in classic or lineal organizations, that helps to prevent any external or internal change, promoting a fierce fight against them.
  • Put his own career into play. Because, whether we like it or not, the intrapreneur exiled syndrome is a sad reality.

Magnificent and Hardworking

A magnificent and hardworking person is someone who carries things out with flair, generosity and brilliance. Someone that probably is going to experience a setback, or has already experienced it. Someone who is capable of doing the task in front of him, and capable of going for broke.

And in this battle, the point is that the bizarre intrapreneur works with flair in the search and definition of new lines and business models. A task that will maximize his success chances, as long as it is performed under the following conditions:

  • Physical, procedural and sometimes even financial independence, between the intrapreneur (and his team) and the company he works for.
  • Direct dependence on the leader, who in most cases can be the CEO or Executive President.
  • Staff on demand & leverage assets.
  • Active involvement of key users, like the community and external partners, sided with a common mantra which has to be massive and transformational.
  • FocusFocusFocus + Different + Memorable: development of proposal under the three keys of a killer strategy.
  • Using methodologies and tools based on testing and experience: like The Hero Plan, a tool capable of adapting, even in huge companies, the organized and systematic application of LeanStartup, Customer Development, Business Model Generation and Exponential Organizations.

All of it, keeping in mind that we are going to experience setbacks and failures. But they are essential during the training journey, and more than bearable, provided that they occur under the famous Lean Startup mantra: “Fail fast, fail often, fail cheap and learn on the way”.

Generous and splendid

Falling in love with your proposal is one of the more dangerous mistakes of the entrepreneur, and in this case, of the intrapreneur too.

The bizarre intrapreneur must clearly identify his mission and role in the battle. And this is none other than:

Maximizing the company’s benefits, driving innovation in ‘reluctant to change’ environments.

A process that begins searching for the reinvention through new proposals and business models, and ends when any of these proposals has been validated, getting enough real clients to support it.

At that moment, the bizarre intrapreneur must take a step aside, and let a new army take control on next battle stages, as spin-offs, or if it is justifiable, inside the mother company.

The bizarre intrapreneur is…

Unrecognized, discredit and many times, condemned.

A strange and extravagant figure, full of bravery, lucidity and generosity, capable of moving freely among conservatism shadows.

A courageous fighter that strives against villain inside and outside his circle, looking for his own and else’s future with exponential growth.

The bizarre intrapreneur, a four leaf clover that you must start looking for, although some still insist on the fact that “they do not exist”.

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