Social Intrapreneurism and All That Jazz
How Business Innovators are Helping to Build a More Sustainable World
In response to the world’s rapidly growing social, economic and environmental challenges, a growing wave of "social intrapreneurs" are harnessing the power of large companies to create new business solutions to address societal problems. Social Intrapreneurism and All That Jazz reveals how these highly creative social innovators are improvizing alliances across, as well as beyond, their companies to create micro-insurance products for low-income people; offer delivery services to millions of small businesses in slums around the world; develop alternative-energy solutions inside a major gas and oil corporation; partner with a Brazilian community to produce new natural care products; establish a green advertising network within a major media company; apply engineering expertise to help alleviate poverty and much more – all while generating commercial value for their companies.Distilling insights from interviews with social intrapreneurs, their colleagues and experts around the world, the authors bring to life how business can be about more than just maximizing profit. They identify the mind-sets, behaviours and skills that have helped successful social intrapreneurs journey from initial idea to roll-out by their company – and some of the pitfalls.Although their journeys may be lonely at times and require considerable hard work while working "against the grain" of large conventional businesses, successful social intrapreneurs are, above all, great communicators who inspire others to join them in achieving a higher purpose beyond the realms of conventional business.Drawing on the metaphors of ensemble jazz music-making, the authors describe how "woodshedding", "jamming", "paying your dues", being a "sideman", joining and building a "band" but, above all, "listening" to what is happening in business and the wider world – are all part of the life of a successful social intrapreneurism project.Whether you’re an aspiring social intrapreneur who wants to change the world while keeping your day job, or want to renew the entrepreneurial spirit of your own company, this book is for you.
Table of Contents
ForewordIntroduction1. How social intrapreneurs are rising to global business and social challenges2. Understanding individual social intrapreneurs3. How companies react4. Enabling environment inside companies5 External enabling environment5. External enabling environment6. Impacts of social intrapreneurism7. Recommendations and practical tips8. The way aheadConclusion: Towards a new way of doing businessAppendix: Our researchReferencesIndexAbout the authors
Can business save the world? The question might distract business leaders from more immediate concerns, such as making a profit. Starting a conversation about sustainability, for instance, could even mark you down as an obstacle to success in some people’s eyes.This is the dilemma facing so-called “social intrapreneurs”, described in this insightful new book as the people in a corporation who put themselves forward to come up with innovations that address social or environmental challenges while generating revenue.The authors have done well to uncover dozens of social intrapreneurs at big businesses around the world, and to get them to tell their stories. The businesses involved include Vodafone, GSK, Accenture, Danone and DHL, among many others, and the individuals have been responsible for significant business activities, which are described at some length in the book.It turns out that techniques required by social intrapreneurs to advance do have some parallels in jazz that are not so far-fetched. Like a jazz musician, the intrapreneur must go in for “woodshedding” (solitary practice to improve technical skills), “soloing” (putting your ideas forward), “being a sideman” (contributing to a group in which you are a supporting team member), and “paying your dues” (contributing to your immediate team/community, and earning trust). In other words, social intrapreneurs must find and construct ensembles to prosper.The authors are guardedly optimistic. Their successful witnesses have mastered balancing the roles of risk-taking entrepreneurs and rule-following employees within a large organisation. They are “tempered radicals”.“Don’t change companies, change the company you’re in,” advises one social intrapreneur. But this radicalism, too, is tempered by the book, which reminds any aspiring social entrepreneurs of a question they should ask themselves: “Am I prepared to lose my job if this doesn’t work out?” - STEFAN STERN, Visiting Professor in Management Practice, Cass Business School, London