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Unlocking the '90s Nintendo Magic: Fuelling Intrapreneurial Discourse

One conversation I had with the Genz Undergraduates of  Warwick University in November, was about the key role Intrapreneurs play in the world of work and why we need more investment in Intrapreneurs on teams rather than superhero 'entrepreneurs'

We had a larger number of startups close shop in 2023 after receiving large investor funding that made headlines. without focusing on all the reasons why these ventures closed shop we are aware that the big conversation is on the power of intrapreneurship and how they drive businesses globally

Let's get to start with the popular ones you might not be too aware of  

In 1975, Ken Kutaragi began his journey at Sony as an electrical engineer. His pivotal moment came when he bought his daughter a Nintendo game console and identified a potential improvement in the sound quality. This led him to work as a part-time consultant for Nintendo while still employed at Sony. He spotted  the need and decided to take the bold step to not just whine about it but follow it through 

Key Events that led to the birth of Nintendo  

  • Intrapreneurial Insight: Ken was the Intrapreneur recognized for the opportunity to enhance gaming system sound quality by developing a dedicated digital chip. 

  • Consultancy for Nintendo: While at Sony, Ken worked part-time for Nintendo, contributing to the development of the SPC7000 chip for Nintendo games.


  • Market Shift: When Nintendo decided against a CD-ROM system, Ken identified the market gap and proposed Sony's entry into the electronic gaming industry. The Intrapreneur is one step ahead of the pack and because he or she is the outlier, goes ahead to make moves the gaming industry( most specifically Sony) would be proud of,. looking into the future. The gaming industry needed more than CD ROMs and unlike the story of the electronic camera and KODAK Ken moved fast and the stakeholders this time listened.  

  • Stakeholder Backing: Despite opposition from senior management, Sony's CEO Chairman Ohga supported Ken's vision and allowed him to lead the effort to develop a gaming system. Why was Ken able to get top management to buy into his big idea? Galvanizing the gifts of others is a non-negotiable skill every Intrapreneur brings to the table. 

  • Global Success: The result was the creation of the PlayStation, which became a global success, capturing a significant market share and selling over 70 million units by the late 1990s. 

Success Metrics: 

Market Share: Evaluate the PlayStation's impact on the gaming console market and Sony's position. 

Revenue Contribution: Assess the contribution of PlayStation to Sony's operating revenues, reaching 40 percent by 1998. 

  • Innovation Legacy: Ken Kutaragi's intrapreneurial spirit and innovation mindset shaped Sony's entry into the gaming industry. Every team needs a Ken Kutaragi. Ken didn't need to be an Entrepreneur he was a full-stack intrapreneur and could be cited as one of those who made the intrapreneurship journey make sense.

  • You don't need to start a new band, you can simply join an existing band and make magic with them were your lessons with the birth of Nintendo?

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