The Maverick Within: Enabling Intrapreneurship as a Game Design System within Technology Enterprises

Audiences are drawn to maverick individuals because they deviate from what is safe and known. The maverick is compelling because of their rarity; maverick behaviors may be observed and imitated but are only intrinsic to a few. The maverick has always been present within enterprise development as the symbol of entrepreneurialism, corporate rejection, and personal and professional freedom (Burjek, 2016). However, we now see maverick-behavior existing on a spectrum, as employees no longer feel their only two options are lifetime enterprise loyalty or renegade entrepreneurship. The recognition of maverick and entrepreneurial activity as an area of study beyond its initial practice has led to entrepreneurial applications outside the realm of startup culture (Kulkarni, 2015). This reframing of the maverick and associated entrepreneurship has led to the practice of intrapreneurship. 

This thesis argues for the systemic development of the intrapreneur through two related but distinct lenses. The first is through addressing existing intrapreneurs within enterprises by sharing research insights to help in their pursuits. The second is through addressing large-scale enterprise leaders and convincing them to adopt a new systems-based approach for intrapreneurship.

No two organizations are designed exactly alike, making a formula for intrapreneurship practices difficult. During my research, I began to see relationships between what intrapreneurs need to succeed and the elements of game design systems. High-level comparisons between the needs of intrapreneurs and game design elements include resource acquisition and allocation, measurable indicators for success and failure, navigating a complex system, willingness to take risks, and ongoing skill-building.  

Many enterprises have encouraged intrapreneurship in some form. However, the greatest barrier to successful intrapreneurship stems from the enterprise itself; lip-service support may allow a few lone maverick intrapreneurs to make headway but it doesn’t leverage intrapreneurial power on a systemic level. Without a new comprehensive system for integrated intrapreneurship, large-scale enterprises will continue to limit their scope of innovative opportunity by failing to fully leverage the maverick intrapreneurs they have in house. Without the development of intrapreneurs, enterprises will risk a talent drain in which intrapreneurs leave the enterprise and consequently take their innovative ideas with them.

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