In an article in The Economist in 1976, Norman Macrae predicted a number of trends in business - one of them being "that dynamic corporations of the future should simultaneously be trying alternative ways of doing things in competition within themselves". In 1982, he revisited those thoughts in another Economist article, noting that the this trend had resulted in confederations of intrapreneurs. He suggested that firms should not be paying people for attendance, but should be paying competing groups for modules of work done. One suggestion was to set up a number of typing pools contracted for a certain amount of work over a certain time period for a lump sum. The members of the pool would be responsible for apportioning work, setting pay, setting work hours or even whether to subcontract out part of the work. Applied across the business spectrum such groups would provide the intrapreneurial competition he envisioned.
During the same time frame, Gifford and Elizabeth Pinchot were developing their concept of intra-corporate entrepreneur. They coined the word intrapreneur giving credit for their thinking to the 1976 article by Macrae. Under their model a person wishing to develop an intrapreneurial project would initially have to risk something of value to themself - a portion of their salary, for instance. The intrapreneur could then sell the completed project for both cash bonuses and intra-capital which could be used to develop future projects. Based on the success of some of the early trials of their methods in Sweden they began a school for intrapreneurs and in 1985 they published their first book,Intrapreneuring, combining the findings from their research and practical applications . (Note: A revised edition of that book, Intrapreneuring in Action is now available.)
By 1986 John Naisbett was citing intrapreneurship as a way for established businesses to find new markets and new products in his our-of-print book, "Re-Inventing the Corporation" and Steve Jobs was describing the development of the Macintosh computer as an intrapreneurial venture within Apple. The concept was established enough that in 1990 Rosabeth Moss Kanter of Harvard Business School discussed in her book, "When Giants Learn to Dance", the need for intrapreneurial development as a key factor in ensuring the survival of the company.
And, in 1992, The American Heritage Dictionary brought intrapreneurism into the main stream by adding intrapreneur to its dictionary, defining it as "a person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation". Intrapreneurship was a concept here to stay.