The Social Intrapreneurs - A Guide by SustainAbility, IDEO, Skoll, Allianz


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Published in partnership with The Skoll Foundation, Allianz and IDEO, the report presents a field guide to the world of social intrapreneurship – its challenges and opportunities – and draws on in-depth research undertaken by SustainAbility in twenty leading global corporations.

Building on SustainAbility’s earlier research into social enterprise, the field guide spotlights a new breed of social entrepreneur within big business – the social intrapreneur. These corporate changemakers work inside big business, often against the prevailing status quo, to innovate and deliver market solutions to some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges.

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The Social Intrapreneurs - A Guide by SustainAbility, IDEO, Skoll, Allianz

  1. 1. The Social Intrapreneur A Field Guide for Corporate Changemakers Shoe-lover Yachtswoman Surveyor Nuclear Artist nthropologist Lawyer Community activist p builder Yuppie Daughter Corporate soldier Scientis Hippie
  2. 2. Forewords 1 Field Notes 4 1 Introduction 8 2 Origins of a Species 12 3 The Market Ecosystem 16 4 The Field Guide 26 5 Strategy of the Beaver 42 6 Wisdom of the Social Intrapreneur 52 7 Future Expeditions 60 Acknowledgements 65 Notes 66 Bookworm Jack-of-all-trades Extrovert r engineer Adventurer Friend Innovator st
  3. 3. The Social Intrapreneur 1 Foreword SustainAbility SustainAbility’s second Skoll Program This is the line of inquiry that we further report investigates the role of the new breed pursue in this second round of our of social intrapreneurs working within Skoll Program. business — and assesses the potential for collaboration with social entrepreneurs. Who, we ask, are the corporate equivalents of social entrepreneurs, the people with Don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness. whom entrepreneurs might want to engage That is the motto of many social entre- to build the high-potential partnerships preneurs we have come across — and in some with mainstream business that featured so cases worked with. But I think I owe our high in their wish-list during our Growing readers a personal word or two of explanation Opportunity survey.4 And how do they see both on the subject matter of this latest the parallel fields of social entrepreneurship survey report and on its unusual style. and intrapreneurship? Our research and When the Skoll Foundation awarded findings are presented in what follows. SustainAbility a three-year grant in 2006, the focus was on field-building in relation The Field Guide style is both a signal that to social entrepreneurship. So why are we we do not claim to have discovered Universal now haring off into the corporate world of Truths on the basis of our work to date — social intrapreneurs? and an effort to make a sometimes complex field more accessible to a wider audience, Our reasoning runs as follows. Social particularly senior policy-makers and entrepreneurs are some of the most decision-takers. extraordinary changemakers (to use Ashoka’s term) in the world today.1 And, with several In closing, my personal thanks go to Jeff winning Nobel Peace Prizes and many others Skoll and Sally Osberg and their colleagues spotlighted by awards from organizations like at the Skoll Foundation, to Maggie Brenneke Acumen, Ashoka, Echoing Green, Endeavor and Alexa Clay at SustainAbility, who blazed and the Schwab and Skoll foundations, the our trail through the jungle, and to Rupert assumption might be that — if the rest of us Bassett for helping us turn the Field Guide would get out of the way — these people idea into what you hold in your hands. would save the world. Hardly. We enjoyed this project enormously — and hope that you find value in this report. As The Economist put it in reviewing Any comments would be much appreciated. The Power of Unreasonable People,2 the book summarizing our work in this field, John Elkington “The greatest agents for sustainable change Founder are unlikely to be [social entrepreneurs], SustainAbility interesting though they are . . . They are much more likely to be the entirely reasonable people, often working for large companies, who see ways to create better products or reach new markets, and have the resources to do so.” 3
  4. 4. The Social Intrapreneur 2 Foreword IDEO What does an innovator look like? Intrapreneurs are thus a special breed with rare, often hard-won, skills. Their value People often think of innovators as crazy- to businesses is incalculable. Indeed, our haired loners, pipe-chomping professors or business would not exist without them. charismatic entrepreneurs. As if the very Now they’re poised to become even more nature of thinking differently requires significant. innovators to be maverick characters — outsiders even — who owe their disruptive Within the enlightened boardrooms of the creativity to a life lived on the fringe. world, a new kind of intrapreneurial activity is emerging: sustainability and innovation This is largely a misconception. True have become the subject of overlapping innovators — the sort who are behind the discussions with a measurable impact on vast majority of innovations that improve the bottom line. What was once corporate our lives every year — breeze through the social responsibility (CSR) and marketing doors of the giant corporations of the world has become R&D, and vice versa. and choose to make their mark from within. They are integrators, problem solvers and With this change, a new breed of individual facilitators. They are likely to have honed is being asked to step up: a social intra- less celebrated, but perhaps more reliable, preneur — someone who is capable of making characteristics of innovation such as political a positive impact to their business and for savvy, tact, teamwork and patience. Further- the world. Identifying the challenges faced more, rather than getting their way via force by these change agents and finding ways to of personality or charismatic zeal, these support, scale-up and accelerate their work innovators learn how to bring projects to are now priorities for us at IDEO. life through the deft manipulation of the latent intellectual and financial capital These are exciting times to be in the inside their organizations. innovation business. Increasingly impassioned individuals are wrapping business pragmatism Innovation companies like IDEO are interested around visionary agendas. Understanding the in this kind of innovator. We call them social intrapreneur is thus a vital ingredient clients, or marketing execs, or president of in maintaining any future edge. The age of such and such, but rarely do we celebrate the social intrapreneur has begun. how unique these individuals are and the characteristics that make them successful. The IDEO team Where entrepreneurs choose autonomy or celebrity, they choose scale and impact. Where entrepreneurs prefer control, these individuals have the enviable ability to get things done from inside massively complex systems. They are, of course, players every bit as important as entrepreneurs — but behind the scenes.
  5. 5. The Social Intrapreneur 3 Foreword Allianz Social entrepreneurship is changing the Social intrapreneurs are a rare species. world. Finding solutions for the world’s They may sit anywhere within corporate most pressing problems is no longer structures and are often hard to find. Their considered the exclusive business of ideas are likely to be highly unusual and governments, international organizations often appear in conflict with existing business or large non-profits. Every day outstanding priorities. Yet, this is a species that must be social entrepreneurs prove that almost no patiently nurtured. The promise for society problem is too big to be tackled through and opportunity for business make the task innovation and business acumen. of identifying and supporting social Extraordinary examples abound revealing intrapreneurs within large corporations a that through ingenuity, optimism and hard highly rewarding challenge. work men and women are developing effective, scalable solutions for a wide Our strong belief in the potential of social range of societal challenges such as climate entrepreneurship led Allianz to support change, poverty alleviation and social SustainAbility’s Growing Opportunity report. inclusion. We are very pleased to take this cooperation one step forward by supporting The Social Within this new scenario, the question Intrapreneur: A Field Guide for Corporate emerges: what should be the role of Changemakers. corporations? Is social entrepreneurship the exclusive terrain of inspired individuals Helping over 80 million customers world- outside of the mainstream? Is true social or wide plan for a more secure future, social environmental innovation compatible with innovation is core to our business. Whether large corporate structures? Is it only about through environmentally friendly insurance ‘doing the right things’ (leadership) or also and investment products, retirement services about ‘doing things right’ (management)? or microinsurance projects, we strongly Is it feasible to generate shareholder value believe that identifying solutions that help while proactively addressing societal issues? address global challenges is key for our long-term competitiveness. For Allianz, The following pages point to this opportunity. supporting our social intrapreneurs in this The social intrapreneurs depicted in this endeavor is not only the right thing to do, report are early markers of the incredible but it is the smart thing to do. potential for the alignment of societal need and business value. No doubt, success in this Paul Achleitner space is not easily achieved. Yet, the tales Member of the Board of Management contained herein are not only tales of great Allianz courage, but also of opportunity — the opportunity to both do well and do good.
  6. 6. The Social Intrapreneur 4 Field Notes A brief word from the field about a newly discovered species — the social intrapreneur Social intrapreneur, n. 1 Someone who works inside major corporations or organizations to develop and promote practical solutions to social or environmental challenges where progress is currently stalled by market failures. 2 Someone who applies the principles of social entrepreneurship inside a major organization. 3 One characterized by an ‘insider-outsider’ mindset and approach. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  7. 7. The Social Intrapreneur 5 Field Notes Habitat and habits Pioneering approaches The social intrapreneur is carving out a Social intrapreneurs are creating and new niche within the multinational corporate delivering new business models. They compel habitat of our ecosystem. Their primary their host corporations to look outside their motivation is to incubate and deliver business comfort zones — to see both the strategic solutions that add value to both society risks and profound opportunities that exist and the bottom line. They are hybrid beyond the purview of traditional business individuals, who draw on values of social units. They are not satisfied with suboptimal entrepreneurship to persistently champion equilibriums, where markets work well for a vision of change in the face of frequent some, but not at all for others. Their adept cynicism and resistance. They cannot turn opposable minds exist to juggle dilemmas and their backs on the savage global inequities catalyze new visions, products, services and and environmental degradation in the world, solutions — some of which may fall beneath or on the profound social and economic value the radar today, but will eventually enable a to be gained by delivering market solutions. scale of change that delivers value to society See Chapter 2 and business well into the future. See Chapter 5 Evolutionary drivers Related species Social intrapreneurs are found in established multinational corporations. They understand Although many social entrepreneurs shun business process and priorities as well as the corporate habitat of social intrapreneurs, sustainability imperatives. They flourish they have common traits, particularly when when multinational business provides them it comes to the motivation to deliver social with an effective base from which to create change. Intrapreneurs can potentially provide and leverage innovative societal solutions. social entrepreneurs with a new point of The emergence of social intrapreneurs is the access to multinational business and all it result of a series of ‘evolutionary drivers,’ has to offer in terms of investment capital, including global market failures, shifts in global reach, resource and scale. personal motivations and increased societal See Chapter 6 expectations of business. See Chapter 3 Care and protection Identifying characteristics Intrapreneurs are adept at fighting and surviving cynicism, caution and the status Social intrapreneurs are more ambitious quo in large corporations. However, healthy for social change than for personal wealth corporate curiosity and support (including and advancement. They are willing and able capital), along with an enabling appetite to take risks, including moving across and for exploration and experimentation, will between organizations and sectors to reach definitely encourage this species to thrive. the locale where they can realize their vision. See Chapter 7 They combine tactical and strategic skill-sets with qualities of perseverance and strength, independence and teamwork, far-sightedness and practicality — all of which enables them to get the basics right, earn trust and deliver real results. See Chapter 4
  8. 8. The Social Intrapreneur 6 Field Notes The Intrapreneurs and their ventures CEMEX Luis Sota worked with executives at The following Field Guide draws upon in- CEMEX to develop low-income housing depth interviews with twenty social intra- solutions for their Mexican consumers. preneurs from a diverse sample of multi- See p. 39 national corporations. Their work covers a wide array of environmental and social Citi challenges and is in varying stages of Bob Annibale launched Citi’s global development — ranging from incubation to microfinance initiative, which focuses on market expansion. The characteristic common building commercial relationships with to all of these individuals is a passion for microfinance institutions and clients, driving societal change through business enabling access among the underserved to in a way that generates long-term value credit, savings, insurance and remittance for both their companies and communities. products. See pp. 45 and 56–57 Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP) Coca-Cola Gib Bulloch and his team work with Dan Vermeer at Coca-Cola works on water corporate, government and NGO sustainability and other environmental organizations to develop innovative, challenges. His recent focus is to extend cross-sectoral solutions to global challenges. Coke’s sustainability efforts across the A recent project with CISCO brought value chain. e-learning to the Egypt Education Initiative. See pp. 37–38 and 68 See pp. 15 and 48 Dow Amanco Bo Miller and Scott Noesen champion Dow’s At leading pipe manufacturer in Latin 2015 sustainability goals, which emphasize America, Andreas Eggenberg led the green chemistry as well as the development of development of an irrigation system targeted products to solve societal challenges. They are at low-income farmers and partnered with currently focused on water quality and access, citizen sector organizations on distribution, and recently took an equity stake in Water training and financing. Health International — a social enterprise. See p. 20 See pp. 54 and 55 Banco Real Ford Maria Luiza Pinto has worked to mainstream David Berdish has launched a Megacity sustainability training and development into Mobility project designed to address the organization’s management. This has transportation needs among swelling resulted in numerous sustainability initiatives urban populations in South Africa, India from financing biodiesel manufacturing to and Brazil. offering microfinance services in the favelas See pp. 11, 32–33 and 47 of Rio de Janeiro. See pp. 51 and 58 Hindustan Unilever Vijay Sharma heads up project Shakti, BP which cultivates women entrepreneurs in Kerryn Schrank heads up BP’s targetneutral rural villages. In addition to growing markets campaign, encouraging drivers to ‘reduce’ for Unilever’s products, these women serve petrol use. In addition to climate benefits, as agents of change, acting as positive role reducing energy use also benefits energy models in their communities. security. See p. 40 See pp. 61 and 64
  9. 9. The Social Intrapreneur 7 Field Notes Microsoft Unilever Orlando Ayala heads up Unlimited Potential Santiago Gowland is driving sustainability to deliver relevant, accessible and affordable thinking across Unilever’s diverse brands. technology solutions to the ‘next 5 billion’ He has pioneered an innovative ‘Brand people around the world. Imprint’ assessment to identify and measure See pp. 41 and 61 social, economic and environmental impacts. See pp. 29 and 49 Morgan Stanley Henry Gonzalez drove Morgan Stanley’s Vodafone microfinance offer, which seeks to originate Nick Hughes and Susie Lonie have developed microfinance-related transactions for the a mobile payment offering for Kenyan and capital markets and to manage Morgan Afghani customers. Stanley's direct and indirect equity See pp. 35 and 47 involvement in microfinance. See p. 25 Nike Sam McCracken launched the company’s Native American Business, which leverages the power of the Nike brand to drive athletic participation among Native American communities. See pp. 36, 54 and 57 P&G Win Sakdinan developed the company’s Future Friendly initiative, which educates consumers to save energy, water and packaging with its brands. See pp. 55 and 59 Shell Sachin Kapila is developing models for biodiversity markets similar to those established for carbon markets. One initiative, Project Rainforest, promotes biofuels sustainability by looking at how their impact could be offset through a market-based mechanism directed at the protection of existing forests. See p. 46 Starbucks Sue Mecklenburg is Vice-President of Sustainable Procurement Practices at Starbucks. She's pioneering a new approach to the supply chain, trailblazing opportunities for livelihood enhancement among key suppliers in addition to formalizing ‘best practices' for accountable procurement. See pp. 45 and 57
  10. 10. The Social Intrapreneur 8 Chapter 1 Introduction Inside Out Figure 1.1 Shifting mindsets — or paradigms 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  11. 11. The Social Intrapreneur 9 Introduction The world — and agendas — We make no claims to be latter-day of the social intrapreneur Darwins, but increasingly we find that when imaginative leaders in the private, public When we published our first survey of and citizen sectors are briefed on what social social entrepreneurs, people working and environmental intrapreneurs are doing, entrepreneurially within corporations a similar switch begins to flip in their brains. and other organizations said, in effect, Here, they acknowledge, may be critical clues “Great, but what about the entrepreneurs to how markets, business models and inside corporations — and inside technologies will evolve in the future. government?” Given their potential role as an interface between business and the In keeping with our field guide metaphor, wider world of social enterprise — and we use biological, zoological and ecological their experience of driving social and metaphors, concepts and symbols to environmental change from the inside — illuminate key trends and challenges. The we decided to focus this second survey on idea was sparked by the social intrapreneurs social intrapreneurs, at least those inside themselves. During our interview with Win major corporations. What follows is an early Sakdinan of Procter & Gamble, for example, attempt at a field guide to their world — he suggested that large corporations can be its challenges and opportunities. like “elephants, as they take time to change directions, but when they do, they bring lots of weight or positive leverage.” And he The nature of a field guide didn’t stop there. Many of those who advise business leaders, he argued, are like high- Because this project is a dip-stick test of flying birds, “dreamers,” seeing the landscape an emerging hypothesis — that social of risk and opportunity in useful ways, but intrapreneurs are gaining traction inside their often disconnected from the day-to-day organizations and, in the process, potentially responsibilities of business. By contrast, he offering crucial access points for social and concluded, he tries to be more like a giraffe, environmental entrepreneurs wanting to with “my head in the clouds to inspire engage business — we have developed this sustainable innovation, but with my feet report in the style of a field guide or firmly planted on the ground, alongside explorer’s sketchbook. Suggestive, hopefully. the elephants.” Full of things observed as we went about our work. But by no means the definitive Of course, companies can be like gazelles as work on the subject. well as elephants, like dolphins as well as manatees, but the thought-train inspired the There are precedents for this approach. metaphor. And in reviewing much of the When, for example, Charles Darwin saw the literature on intrapreneurship, innovation wildly diverse finches of the Galapagos, he and competitiveness, extinction and survival scribbled down his thoughts in his notebooks. are dominant themes. Over time, a light began to go on in his brain — and he came to see how life had evolved and differentiated over countless generations. “ Social intrapreneurs are unsung heroes.” Susie Lonie Vodafone
  12. 12. The Social Intrapreneur 10 Introduction Our exploration Our research findings and analysis are presented in the following chapters: If history teaches any lessons, it’s that the long-term survival of today’s corporations Chapter 2 looks at the origin of this species is by no means guaranteed.5 But, given the of corporate changemaker: the social scope of innovation required to begin to intrapreneur. tackle global market failures and sustain- ability opportunities, social intrapreneurship Chapter 3 explores some of the deep trends could be one key to shifting away from powerfully shaping the overall ‘ecosystem,’ business as usual to something more or operating environment, in which business sustainable. For over 20 years, SustainAbility conducts its activities. has tracked a series of evolutions of the sustainable development movement. Today Chapter 4 provides a basic field guide to we see a growing recognition by corporations social intrapreneurship offering up specimens, of the opportunity for greater alignment case examples, of their work. of business value and societal need — with social intrapreneurs as agents of change. Chapter 5 explores how intrapreneurs are going about transforming their corporate In the spirit of Ashoka’s ambition of habitats. ‘Everyone a Changemaker,’ 6 we define corporate changemakers as people — at Chapter 6 offers tips for future explorers and any level in a company — who are trying to considers some of the ways in which external drive change through the development and parties, NGOs and social entrepreneurs, can deployment of entrepreneurial solutions to play a role. key social and environmental challenges. Chapter 7 pulls out our key conclusions and In this work, we explore four primary thoughts for the future of this field. questions: — What are the forces driving business to more proactively address societal challenges, such as climate change, health care and human rights? — What specific business ventures are emerging? — Who are the people behind these initiatives and how do they work? — What early lessons can be gleaned for aspiring intrapreneurs and those looking to support them? “ You have to work in a corporate minefield!” Off-the-record comment
  13. 13. The Social Intrapreneur 11 Specimen Eureka moment Opportunity David Berdish I had experienced life and Reputational advantage, death when my first wife carbon savings, new Species died of cancer. Normally revenue stream, competitive Social intrapreneur people think of business advantage in new markets. as life and death. It isn’t. Niche It’s ok to take risks. Ambition Megacity Mobility Project First, to get this pilot in Personal South Africa off the ground Habitat Has worked for Ford for 25 and then to develop more Ford, Detroit years; studied organizational sustainable approaches to learning at MIT; majored in mobility in other emerging poetry and statistics. markets. Challenge Motto Finding mobility solutions It’s impossible to design a that address emerging solution in the usual linear urbanization/stratification analytic way. dynamics, and more specifically, developing sustainable mobility solutions in South Africa. Loving husband Cool rockin’ daddy Social intrapreneur Business development manager Third generation employee Poet Catholic
  14. 14. The Social Intrapreneur 12 Chapter 2 Origins of a Species Is the social intrapreneur a new species — or a rediscovered one? Figure 2.1 Aligning societal impact with business value 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  15. 15. The Social Intrapreneur 13 Origins of a Species Even we find ourselves saying entrepreneur They don’t worry overly about that. Indeed, when we mean intrapreneur, and vice versa. most of the intrapreneurs we interviewed So let’s define our terms: appear to have cast off traditional notions of advancement in an organization in pursuit A social entrepreneur is an entrepreneur of what their colleagues are likely to see with a social or environmental mission at the as a wild ambition or idea — backed by a core of their venture. Typically, the societal fundamental belief that business must, and challenge they are tackling is their mission in can, change. None of the intrapreneurs we life — with their organization and any profit met are motivated primarily by monetary generated seen as a means to that end. Social gain; instead, they are inspired by a desire entrepreneurs are dogged in their pursuit of to drive real transformation. Take Santiago new models for change, harnessing the power Gowland at Unilever. He gave up a lucrative of market forces to serve the unmet needs of investment banking job to start two social society. They come in a number of varieties projects in Argentina. He then returned to the and work in diverse habitats. business world because, he believed, there was a greater possibility of achieving societal Many social entrepreneurs operate outside change on a large scale. mainstream markets, working directly with communities to drive change. Consider So social intrapreneurs, arguably, do resemble Bunker Roy of Barefoot College, who social entrepreneurs in a number of important empowers India’s poorest citizens — many ways. At their best, social intrapreneurs thrive of whom are illiterate — by training them to on risk and uncertainty. They readily adapt become ‘barefoot’ solar and water engineers, to new circumstances — and regularly scan teachers, doctors and architects. Others, like the horizon for new ways to solve societal Reed Paget, Founder of Belu Water, drive challenges. Above all, they are innovators, change through established markets. Belu coming up with key concepts, business is a non-profit bottled water company that models, products and services that will invests the profits from its business in clean open out new opportunity spaces. water projects around the world. Yet there are differences between social Yet, in parallel, there is a new breed of intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs as well. entrepreneur emerging. These people have Though both are inclined towards action, many of the characteristics of the social intrapreneurs also understand the need to entrepreneur, yet operate in a very different tie into the processes and business case habitat — within multinational corporations. elements of the venture. Most intrapreneurs We call this new breed social intrapreneurs. are comfortable acting as lone wolves for at Skeptics may argue that as salaried corporate least some of the time, yet uniformly value employees, these people really should not teamwork as well — understanding the critical be classified as entrepreneurs. True, most need to engage others to develop buy-in and, intrapreneurs haven’t re-mortgaged their ultimately, push ownership of new concepts homes or maxed out their credit cards to fund through their organization. (Chapter 4 takes their ventures. But, while the financial risks a closer look at the characteristics of a faced by traditional entrepreneurs are very social intrapreneur.) real, social intrapreneurs also take on risks in their own way. Most obviously, they risk losing out in the race for promotion and for salary rises. But for some there is also a serious risk of losing their jobs. “ As an entrepreneur, I have the freedom to pursue an individual and/or environmental mission — unconstrained by the needs of an existing organization.” Reed Paget Co-Founder, Belu Water
  16. 16. The Social Intrapreneur 14 Origins of a Species In addition to the social intrapreneur, Examples here include Niel Golightly, however, we must also spotlight another set VP Communications and Sustainable of critical actors in the evolving ecosystem. Development for Shell Downstream, Maria These people are catalysts, who come in Luiza (Malu) de Oliveira Pinto, Head of at least two varieties. There are the senior Corporate Responsibility for Banco Real, gatekeepers, CEOs, CFOs, board members and Mike Barry, Head of Corporate Social and so on, who can give permission for new Responsibility at UK retailer Marks & Spencer. types of initiatives. And then there are the champions, who may be heads of businesses Sometimes individuals play both roles — or vice-presidents in relevant areas, who help intrapreneur and catalyst — as in the case of resource social intrapreneurs — and, critically, Pinto who both incubates new projects and support their efforts to embed their evolving works to drive change through the entire initiatives into the mainstream business. organization. What’s important here is to As one social intrapreneur commented, at understand that two primary types of actors the very least, “. . . a senior champion of an are playing an increasingly critical role in initiative provides protection for the social transforming corporations. intrapreneur from internal nay-sayers.” The hope must be that these catalysts and Most catalysts hold a certain level of formal social intrapreneurs are preparing authority, either at an executive level or corporations for the future. Not all companies through direct reporting lines to corporate that employ such people will make good use leadership. Examples of recent top-level of them, clearly, and market conditions mean catalysts include CEOs such as Jeffrey Immelt that not all those companies that do make of GE, Lee Scott of Wal-Mart and Franck good use of such talented people will survive, Riboud of Groupe Danone. Such people let alone thrive. But our working hypothesis catalyze change by explaining how is that the existence of such people inside sustainability can drive business value, major companies will increasingly be seen as communicating their vision and ensuring that a leading indicator of corporate innovation, changemakers within the organization have resilience and, ultimately, longer term the resources (staff and funding) they need, sustainability (see Figure 2.1). as well as formal accountability for results. From the point of view of the social Other types of catalysts include vice- entrepreneur, the existence of social presidents responsible for sustainable intrapreneurs could be seen as some form development, sustainability or corporate of competitive threat — but is much more responsibility. While many of these likely to prove to be a crucial gateway into individuals are not responsible for specific major businesses interested in addressing the profit and loss performance and generally challenges the entrepreneurs are tackling. do not incubate new products, services And for the individual in search of ways or business models, they are important to contribute to the seemingly intractable champions for change. They work through problems facing society — these individuals existing systems catalyzing others in the offer a clear message: ‘Make change from business to take action. where you are.’ “ Intrapreneurs must put the company, not themselves, first.” Guy Kawasaki Venture Capitalist and Serial Entrepreneur
  17. 17. The Social Intrapreneur 15 Specimen Eureka moment Opportunity Gib Bulloch Travelling on the London Skills development, Underground and coming recruitment, retention. Species across an article on VSO Social intrapreneur in the FT looking for Ambition individuals with business Combining Accenture’s Niche skills to volunteer in convening power in the Accenture Development developing countries. corporate sector with ADP’s Partnerships (ADP) I’d thought development in the development sector was only for doctors, nurses to help broker and integrate Habitat and teachers. Not business cross-sectoral coalitions Accenture, London people like me. to help tackle major social, economic and environmental Personal challenges. Spent a year on a VSO enterprise development Motto project in the Balkans. Affecting even small change in large organizations can Challenge lead to significant positive Offering quality business social impact. and technology consultancy to NGOs and donor organizations on a sustainable basis at rates aligned to development sector norms. Determined Stubborn Social intrapreneur Creative Relationship builder
  18. 18. The Social Intrapreneur 16 Chapter 3 The Market Ecosystem How ‘demand-side pull’ is driving social intrapreneurship Figure 3.1 Three types of driver 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  19. 19. The Social Intrapreneur 17 The Market Ecosystem Before zeroing in on the intrapreneurs, let’s Just as safety, health and environmental pull back the focus for a moment to look at units were squeezed in previous downcycles, the wider ‘ecosystem’ in which they operate. the likelihood — this time round — is that A key question must be: why does interest in corporate citizenship and corporate social social intrapreneurship appear to be building? responsibility departments and budgets In talking to intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs will come under pressure. At the same time, alike, their answers took three distinct forms. however, the global economic environment Pretty much everyone we spoke to referred to is likely to favour a new set of actors, drivers operating at the level of challenges particularly those focused on scalable and opportunities being faced by society, entrepreneurial solutions. business and the individual. But they also stressed that this isn’t a question of ‘either/or,’ This trend was implicit in the 2008 agenda but ‘all three and . . . ’ of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, which closed with a call The interest in social entrepreneurs and by business, government and civil society intrapreneurs, we believe, is growing precisely leaders for a new brand of collaborative and because they are addressing these key innovative leaders to address the challenges challenges — and doing so in ways that, of globalization, particularly the pressing potentially at least, offer greater leverage and problems of conflict (especially in the Middle scalability than much of what has gone East), terrorism, climate change and water before. conservation.7 That said, the economic climate has been In the following pages, we explore how social darkening for a while, with implications for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs are working the work of anyone dependent on corporate together to achieve the sort of change that the budgets. Since mid-2007, we have argued that world so pressingly needs. parts of the global economy are headed into a deeper and more protracted recessionary period than we have experienced for some time. If true, the impact on the current generation of corporate responses to sustain- ability challenges could be profound. “ The key challenge is to align the corporation of the future with societal trends.” Orlando Ayala Microsoft
  20. 20. The Social Intrapreneur 18 The Market Ecosystem Driver 1 While most societal challenges are not new, Society globalization has served to exacerbate many problems — such as wealth disparity and ‘Society’ can be a difficult concept to climate change. (See Figure 3.4 for a list of pin down, but it is clear that people — ten global divides.) And digitization is driving as consumers, family members, workers increased awareness about the scope of and voters — are changing their priorities, societal needs and the lack of progress to globally, regionally and locally. date by governments and traditional NGOs. Together, these trends are shifting societal Recent years have seen a growing range expectations of the role that business has of economic, social, environmental and to play. SustainAbility has mapped four governance issues push into the mainstream societal pressure waves (Figure 3.2) that have of politics and business. The priorities for impacted and shaped the business response action emerging from a range of summit to sustainability challenges since the 1960s. meetings — such as the G8, the World Each wave has made different demands of the Economic Forum and the Clinton Global corporation and tended to involve a different Initiative — tend to share one common set of specialists and expertise, as follows. characteristic: that they all, pretty much by definition, relate to current market The first wave (1960s–1973) was focused failures or dysfunctions. mainly on greater regulation and enforce- ment, and the corporate response tended to be defensive, involving legal and public affairs professionals, as well as specific process engineers and project developers. Figure 3.2 Catching the next wave Gorbachev becomes Soviet leader 10 Rising Tide CSR + SD on WEF agenda Nelson Mandela freed Hurricane Katrina Oklahoma City bombing 9 US troops deployed in Vietnam Solidarity movement, Poland US passes Clean Air Act 8 Distraction Oil flows from North Sea 7 6 Sharpeville massacre 5 4 Breakdown 3 2 1 1960 1980 1990 2000 2030 2020 1970 2010
  21. 21. The Social Intrapreneur 19 The Market Ecosystem The second wave (1970s–1990s) was more The fourth wave is currently building and consumer driven, with NGOs putting certain brings a greater focus on the severity of brands in the spotlight for complicity in global market failures and the related, urgent social and environmental abuses. This saw opportunities for scalable innovation, social corporate involvement expand to include intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship. brand and marketing people and new product In addition to those involved in responding developers, as well as those responsible for to previous waves, new corporate participants delivering against a proliferation of new will likely emerge from areas such as voluntary standards, such as ISO 14001, investor relations, new ventures and other the Global Reporting Initiative, SA 8000 strategic business units. So what underlies the and AA 1000. dynamic of this latest wave? Entrepreneurship literature suggests that the types of challenges The third wave (1999–2001) — curtailed by now facing society are precisely the the 9/11 attacks on the US — was typified seemingly insolvable problems to which by the challenges of globalization and an entrepreneurs are attracted. array of issues to do with global and corporate governance — and their failure. In a recent Stanford Social Innovation Much of the corporate focus was on strategic Review paper, co-authors Sally Osberg and risk management, and the locus of discussion Roger Martin 8 (board members of the Skoll tended to be at board level, with increasing Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship) involvement of supervisory boards and non- explain how entrepreneurs seek opportunity executive directors. in situations of ‘suboptimal equilibrium,’ i.e. where society is settling for a poor solution to a problem because no one has yet come up with an alternative. Figure 3.3 Irreconcilable schism — or bridging opportunity? What is it about social entrepreneurs and So we might simultaneously recognize that intrapreneurs that makes their thinking capitalism and markets leave many people different from the mainstream? Perhaps it’s unserved or under-served, yet at the same their ability to use our mental equivalent of time conclude that new forms of capitalism the thumb. Roger Martin, one of the authors and different market mechanisms can help of the Stanford Social Innovation Review bridge the gap — the crucial next step being article mentioned above, also wrote a book to come up with technologies, business called The Opposable Mind.9 Just as the models and market frameworks that can drive opposable thumb helped our species reach the relevant processes of change. unprecedented levels of technology and civilization, so — Martin argues — the The past decade saw many leading businesses opposable mind promises to jump us beyond seeking to involve a range of stakeholders in the tyranny of either-or decisions. dialogue as a means of understanding and possibly reconciling opposing ideas and world The idea here is that we can hold two views. The rise of the social intrapreneur can conflicting ideas in constructive tension — be seen as a similar response to this need to and thereby move to new models and understand and hold conflicting ideas in integrated solutions. creative tension. Both social intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs seek — in some way — to identify integrated solutions that deliver new forms of value for people and communities that were previously excluded from the benefits of the current system (or unduly exposed to its disbenefits).
  22. 22. The Social Intrapreneur 20 Specimen Eureka moment Challenge Andreas Eggenberg Arriving in Guatemala, To see social and I was stunned that almost demographic challenges Species the whole economy con- as business opportunities. Social intrapreneur centrated on the 20–30% More specifically, providing middle and higher classes, small drip irrigation systems Niche but nobody realized that to small-scale farmers. Amanco the remaining 70–80% are not just the ‘have nots,’ Opportunity Habitat but can represent a very Competitiveness in a GrupoNueva, Santiago, Chile interesting market. new market. Personal Ambition I have a background in Designing products and political science, which services that make the generates a certain formal economy more understanding of social inclusive. complexities, and creates a determination to contribute Motto to its relief or mitigation. Create a good mood around a common objective. Surveyor Political scientist Agriculturalist Businessman Social intrapreneur “ Even though relevant impacts are created by civil society — the private sector can work more efficiently, once it switches on.” Andreas Eggenberg formerly with Grupo Nueva
  23. 23. The Social Intrapreneur 21 The Market Ecosystem Their case-studies include eBay and FedEx, Driver 2 where society previously settled, in the Business first instance, for physical limitations on its ability to resell goods, and in the second, During the first decade of the new century, on uncertain and slow mail delivery services. we have seen an accelerating tempo in the For any entrepreneur, this sort of disequilibria launch by business leaders of new initiatives provides a perfect hunting ground for designed to bridge an array of global divides innovation. facing society (Figure 3.4). At the national level, for example, we have had the UK The same is true, Osberg and Martin argue, Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change for social entrepreneurs — and, we might and the US Climate Action Partnership, while add, social intrapreneurs — who are internationally leading corporations have confronted by a suboptimal state in society also been involved (sometimes alongside that: “causes the exclusion, marginalization, governments) in such ventures as the or suffering of a segment of humanity that Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative lacks the financial means or political clout (EITI)10 and the Partnering Against Corruption to achieve any transformative benefit on its Initiative (PACI).11 own.” Social entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs recognize such disequilibrium as “the But there are concerns that even such opportunity to transform the situation by initiatives are failing to go sufficiently far developing a social value proposition and and fast. “The world is getting better, but it’s bringing to bear inspiration, creativity, not getting better fast enough, and it’s not direct action, courage, and fortitude . . . getting better for everyone,” argued Bill [to challenge the status quo and] forge a Gates, giving his last Davos speech as a full- new, stable equilibrium that releases trapped time employee of Microsoft in 2008. “There potential [and] . . . alleviates suffering.” are roughly a billion people who don’t get enough food, who don’t have clean drinking Their argument comes to life when they water, who don’t have electricity — the things focus on Muhammad Yunus, founder of the we take for granted. Diseases like malaria that Grameen Bank. “The stable but unfortunate kill over a million people a year get far less equilibrium he identified consisted of poor attention than drugs that help with baldness.” Bangladeshis’ limited options for securing Adopting a tone similar to that used by many even the tiniest amounts of credit. Unable social entrepreneurs, he stressed: “I am an to qualify for loans through the formal optimist but I’m an impatient optimist” — banking system, they could borrow only and called for “creative capitalism.” by accepting exorbitant interest rates from local moneylenders. More commonly, they So what did he mean by that? “As I see it,” simply succumbed to begging on the streets. he explained, “there are two great forces of Here was a stable equilibrium of the most human nature: self-interest and caring for unfortunate sort.” others. Capitalism harnesses self-interest in a helpful and sustainable way, but only on What is particularly powerful about the behalf of those who can pay. Government Grameen example is the way the growing aid and philanthropy channel our caring for success of Professor Yunus and his colleagues those who can’t pay. But to provide rapid has inspired not only other social entre- improvement for the poor we need a system preneurs, among them people like Roshaneh that draws in innovators and businesses in Zafar of the Khasf Foundation in Pakistan, far better ways than we do today.” Such a but also social intrapreneurs working within system, he said, “would have a twin mission: major financial institutions — including Bob making profits and also improving the lives Annibale of Citi Microfinance, one of our of those who don’t fully benefit from today’s interviewees. market forces. For sustainability, we need to use profit incentives wherever we can.”
  24. 24. The Social Intrapreneur 22 The Market Ecosystem Figure 3.4 Ten divides and opportunities Divides 12 Realities Opportunities 1 Demographic The world is heading to a To meet the needs of billions population of 9 billion by 2050, of people affected by market with 95% of growth expected failures in both developing in developing countries. and developed countries. 2 Financial 40% of the world’s wealth is Help the have-nots become owned by 1% of the population bankable, insurable and while the poorest 50% can entrepreneurial. claim just 1% of the wealth. 3 Nutritional The world now produces Address the needs of those enough food for everyone, but with too little food — and over 850 million people still too much. face chronic hunger every day. 4 Resources 60% of ecosystem services, Enable development that such as fresh water and climate uses the earth’s resources regulation, are being degraded in a sustainable way. or used unsustainably. 5 Environmental The loss of biodiversity, Create markets that protect droughts, and the destruction and enhance the environment. of coral reefs are just some of the challenges facing the globe. 6 Health Some 39.5 million people live Create markets that encourage with HIV/AIDS in the world, healthy lifestyles and enable now the fourth largest killer equal access to healthcare. disease. 7 Gender Two-thirds of the world’s Enable and empower women 1 billion illiterate people to participate equally and fairly are women. in society and the economy. 8 Educational About 100 million children Provide the mechanisms to within emerging economies transfer and share knowledge are not enrolled in primary and learning that empowers education. all levels of societies. 9 Digital Internet users worldwide Develop inclusive technology topped 1.1 billion in 2007, but that enables all levels of only 4% of Africans and 11% society to tackle each of these of Asians have internet access. divides more effectively. 10 Security Between 1994 and 2003, the Work to promote security majority of the 13 million and reduce conflict based deaths caused by intra-state on inequity and exclusion. conflict took place in sub- Saharan Africa and western and southern Asia — regions that are home to 75% of the world’s 37 million refugees and displaced people.
  25. 25. The Social Intrapreneur 23 The Market Ecosystem Gates called on corporations to “dedicate a Michael Porter and Mark Kramer sum percentage of their top innovators’ time to up these new opportunities in their landmark issues that could help people left out of the Harvard Business Review article on the links global economy. This kind of contribution between competitive advantage and corporate is even more powerful than giving cash or social responsibility (CSR). They conclude that offering employees time off to volunteer.” CSR offers “many of the greatest opportunities This area, in short, is where the best social for companies to benefit society.” 14 Further, intrapreneurs are focusing their efforts. But “if . . . corporations were to analyze their Gates could have been more forceful in also prospects for social responsibility using showing the potential benefits to business of the same frameworks that guide their core addressing such challenges. The business case choices, they would discover that CSR can for involvement is clear. Social intrapreneurs be much more than a cost, a constraint, can expose their colleagues — and senior or a charitable deed — it can be a source leadership — to a series of lessons on new of opportunity, innovation, and competitive market risks and opportunities, as well as advantage.” providing insight to the likely business models and leadership styles of the future. In addition to business leaders switching on to the opportunity spaces that exist, corporate As Sir Nicholas Stern’s review of the structures and management approaches are economic consequences of climate change shifting and, in the process, opening up more put it, we now see the broad outlines of space for creativity and entrepreneurship. the biggest market failure in our collective While there is certainly much progress to be history.13 But, as he and others have identified, made, many companies are moving away our great social and environmental challenges from hierarchical, siloed management to more also represent huge potential market matrixed, networked approaches of working. opportunities, if tackled in the right way. There is growing interest in how to provide Social intrapreneurs exist and thrive in this employees with the space and time to zone, seeking to understand profound risk experiment and innovate. in order to transform it into substantial new market opportunity. Their particular creative “The outlines of the 21st century manage- approach to problem-solving is symptomatic ment model are already clear,” argues and indicative of a wider process of Gary Hamel.15 “Decision making will be more ‘reperceiving’ the challenges that face society. peer-based; the tools of creativity will be widely distributed in organizations. Ideas will compete on an equal footing. Strategies will be built from the bottom up. Power will be a function of competence rather than of position.” The work of leading social intrapreneurs plays nicely in this space. “ Why not welcome this productive tension? Thinking with societal challenges in mind is a great catalyst for innovation.” Dan Vermeer Coca-Cola
  26. 26. The Social Intrapreneur 24 The Market Ecosystem Driver 3 Strikingly, 86% of YGLs see multinational The individual corporations and individuals gaining power and influence as the nation-state wanes. Finally, our respondents stressed the growing In terms of responsibility and power to act, importance of the values and ambitions of 69% of YGLs believe the role of nation-states individuals in all of this, themselves included. will decline, although they will still remain Most intrapreneurs, when asked about the most influential actors addressing such what motivates them, talk about necessity. challenges. (China is expected to be the Once they realized the power they had leading nation-state (88%), followed by the to make change through business, they US, India and Russia, while Germany, France saw no other way, but their current path. and the United Kingdom are expected to lose These intrapreneurs signal two broader trends. power.) Asked to name the most pressing First, that greater numbers of people — young issues in 2030, 59% of YGL respondents leaders in particular — view companies and see global warming as the key challenge, individuals as ever more integral to solving followed by depletion of resources (37%) societal challenges. And, second, that and asymmetric warfare (27%). individuals are increasingly looking to align their personal values with their careers. At the core of all this, there appears to be a shift in personal motivations. While As much of the world economy moves into a intrinsic values aren’t likely to have changed recessionary environment, there is a growing dramatically over the generations, the risk that current business responses to these willingness to trade-off values for career great societal challenges will be squeezed — seems to be on a path to extinction. Perhaps and in some cases stalled. But the longer this is because the scale of global challenges term trajectories and dynamics are likely are more transparent than ever before, to reflect the extent to which future leaders along with the apparent failure of existing understand the issues and how they decide institutions to provide solutions in spite of a to respond. An interesting litmus test of multitude of promises and commitments. the thinking and concerns of young global leaders is provided by a recent survey of Richard Florida has made popular the notion 665 Young Global Leaders (YGLs)16 published of the ‘Creative Class,’ a segment of the by the World Economic Forum at its 2008 workforce whose main job is to think and annual meeting, entitled Future Mapping for create innovative solutions to problems. the Global Agenda. He notes that creativity is becoming more valued in today’s global society and that The survey forecasts key dimensions of ability to channel self-expression is also the world in 2030 by mapping significant a key element of job satisfaction and trends, early signals and interrelationships retention.17 Similarly, Don Tapscott and and assessing the likely influences on global, Anthony Williams in Wikinomics talk about regional and industry agendas. The findings the ‘Net Generation’ — those born between broadly indicate a set of challenges that will 1977 and 1996 — who “have a very strong demand long-term and globally coordinated sense of the common good and of collective responses of a type that the world’s current social and civic responsibility.” 18 Related to political and economic frameworks do this is an increase in the number of formal not support. training programs, such as MBAs, now focused on social entrepreneurship and sustainability. “ I wanted to keep one foot in the company — and one foot in society.” Santiago Gowland Unilever
  27. 27. The Social Intrapreneur 25 Specimen Eureka moment Challenge Henry Gonzalez Sharing my interest in Developing a systematic writing my MBA dissertation approach to social change Species on microfinance and capital and, more specifically, Social intrapreneur markets with Morgan bringing microfinance Stanley’s vice-chairman offerings into the heart of a Niche while doing a summer major financial institution. Microfinance internship in London. Institutions Group She immediately connected Opportunity me with the right managing New revenue stream, double Habitat director who supported bottom line, strengthening Morgan Stanley, New York my initial research interest of client relationships, talent and took it forward to retention. build Morgan Stanley’s Microfinance Institutions Ambition Group. “Never keep an idea To continue to expand the to yourself, share it and breadth of microfinance, you will see how quickly it using capital markets as a catalyzes to become bigger means to social change. and better.” Motto Personal Change from within Costa Rican, Skoll Fellow at happens! Oxford, legislative advisor and chief of staff to Minister of Agriculture; worked at the World Bank, UNDP and the Global Exchange on Social Investment. Determined Legislative advisor Social intrapreneur Inter-connector Changemaker Skoll Fellow
  28. 28. The Social Intrapreneur 26 Chapter 4 The Field Guide How to find your way through the landscape of social intrapreneurship Figure 4.1 Moving from incremental to fundamental shifts 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  29. 29. The Social Intrapreneur 27 The Field Guide Enter a new territory with an appetite to learn But, as indicated earlier, social intrapreneurs about the various species found there and it do possess a unique skill-set and are pursuing helps to have a field guide prepared by those new ways of doing business — in a manner who went before. What follows is an early that manages to leverage the power of attempt to map and describe the world of communities and corporations social intrapreneurs — and to plot some simultaneously. of their diverse forms. In the process, we investigate a number of case studies, which In simple terms, intrapreneurship involves illustrate the nature and potential of this the exercise of entrepreneurial skills and emerging field. approaches within a company or other large organization. And the key differences But, first, how do we track down and between intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs? identify social intrapreneurs? Ask any venture There are a fair number, but one of the capitalist how to spot entrepreneurs and most important is that — unlike individual they’ll likely tell you: “You know them when entrepreneurs — intrapreneurs potentially you see them.” The same could be said of leverage the resources of their large host social entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. organizations. Figure 4.2 provides a provisional checklist for spotting social intrapreneurs.19 Figure 4.2 Entrepreneur Intrapreneur Spot the social intrapreneur 1 Shrug off constraints of ideology or discipline 2 Identify and apply practical solutions to social or environmental problems 3 Innovate by finding a new product, service or approach to a social challenge 4 Focus — first and foremost — on societal value creation 5 Successfully navigate corporate culture, strategy and process 6 Communicate social entrepreneurship in compelling business terms 7 Build and inspire teams across a multiplicity of corporate divisions 8 Jump in before they are fully resourced 9 Have a dogged determination that pushes them to take risks 10 Combine their passion for change with measurement and monitoring of impact 11 Have a healthy impatience — they don’t like bureaucracy 12 Run their organizations
  30. 30. The Social Intrapreneur 28 The Field Guide Is social intrapreneurship new? Henry Ford, for example, was not only a prolific innovator in technical terms, but also The concept of intrapreneurship goes through in the social domain. His 1914 $5 per week cycles of discovery, retreat and rediscovery. pay offer to his workers nearly doubled what The current cycle goes back at least 30 years people were paid in other auto factories at the to 1978, when Gifford and Elizabeth Pinchot time. He believed that his company would wrote up their thoughts about the “intra- benefit in a number of ways. First, better paid corporate entrepreneur” while attending the workers would be happier (and faster) on the School for Entrepreneurs in New York.20 job. Second, the pay increase would ease the The momentum began to build with a 1982 pressure on the household. And, third, the article in The Economist, in which Norman workers were more likely to stay with the Macrae credited Gifford Pinchot for coining Ford Motor Company, leading to less down- the word ‘intrapreneur.’ time for training new workers. Another example is Citi’s history of focusing on the A few years later, in 1985, the book underserved middle classes, with its evolving Intrapreneuring 21 was published and in 1992 base-of-the-pyramid strategy seen as a the word went into the American Heritage continuation of that vision. Dictionary. Over time, inevitably, the term has been mutated as new concerns and priorities That said, it is clear that many intrapreneurial have shaped the business agenda, with solutions are qualitatively different from growing interest over the past decade in much of what is currently done under the areas like ‘ecopreneuring’ and social headings of corporate citizenship or corporate intrapreneurship.22 social responsibility. And because they are more ambitious, they can be substantially So the concept has been around for a harder to pitch and sell to decision-makers. while. Indeed, a number of the social We explore specific case studies later on in intrapreneurs we interviewed stressed this chapter. that their organizations had been founded by entrepreneurs who came to the task with social objectives from the outset — emphasizing that, as a result, their own intrapreneurial work is very much aligned with the company’s founding culture.
  31. 31. The Social Intrapreneur 29 Specimen Eureka moment Opportunity Santiago Gowland Life is too short. Fuelling innovation, Let's make it worthwhile. building trust, enhancing Species brand equity. Social intrapreneur Personal Law and Political Sciences Ambition Niche degree in Argentina; Strive to make my small Vice-President Unilever MBA, Thunderbird, Arizona, contribution to make the Brand and Global Corporate USA; worked in investment world more equal, fairer Responsibility banking in New York; and more sustainable. engaged in social projects Habitat in Argentina; joined Motto Unilever, London Unilever in 1999. The intelligence of the collective is always higher Challenge than that of any individual. To integrate social, economic and environmental considerations at the core of business processes to ensure business becomes a true force for good in the 21st Century. More specifically, leveraging the power of brands to engage consumers in a new conversation around citizenship. Lawyer Yuppie Hippie Corporate soldier Social intrapreneur Creative Dad
  32. 32. The Social Intrapreneur 30 The Field Guide How do social intrapreneurs operate? Key elements of success include the courage to speak out from the crowd and the ability In our conversations with intrapreneurs, to link up with others of their breed to hunt four distinct and yet intersecting attributes and deliver targets that would otherwise be surfaced. Typically intrapreneurs operate at beyond them. Just as wolves keep populations the interface between the world of societal healthy by their predation, so a wolfish values and the market processes of value attitude is essential in order to know when creation, between tactical day-to-day tasks weak business ideas should be killed off in and the more strategic role of helping their order to pursue another. organizations to mutate and evolve towards more sustainable ways of doing business. Giraffe Win Sakdinan of Procter & Gamble describes Many of the intrapreneurs spontaneously his role as akin to a giraffe, with “my head in likened various aspects of their role to the clouds to inspire sustainable innovation, wildlife, and more than one perceived but with my feet firmly planted on the themselves as some sort of hybrid creature, ground, alongside the elephants.” Key for instance, part nimble-acoustic-dolphin attributes are the ability to see further than and part plodding-persevering-trusty-donkey! others, and so to provide an early alert to Reflecting on the various roles that emerging threats and opportunities. Giraffes intrapreneurs play, we propose a basic, can, of course, also reach opportunities that playful taxonomy (Figure 4.3) of the others cannot quite stretch to. A key element attributes they tend to demonstrate, of success includes the ability to keep an eye as follows. on the wide landscape and to distinguish major trends from routine incidents. The taxonomy identifies two fundamentally tactical roles (Donkey and Wolf ) and two Beaver strategic roles (Giraffe and Beaver ). All of Intrapreneurs have the potential to the intrapreneurs we spoke to played each profoundly reshape their landscapes and to of those roles at some point in their working create whole cascades of new opportunity lives, although their positioning on the two for those around them — and this is what axes varied considerably. The key point is prompted the image of a beaver. Key elements that successful intrapreneurship depends on of success include many of those already an ability to move seamlessly and in a timely mentioned — perseverance in implementing fashion between these different roles, while small steps to achieve a clear intent and emphasizing at different points societal values vision — but in addition the beaver brings its and corporate value. ability to engineer new dams and channels of value and to bend the resources of the wider Donkey ecosystem to the task at hand, and so It is in the very nature of business that there transform the landscape. are loads to be borne — and many of the intrapreneurs reported carrying out some So social intrapreneurs are often fleet and pretty basic tasks as part of their work. sturdy of foot, and flexible and focused of “Ultimately, you have to be able to keep mind — they can think in and out of many plodding along with your eyes firmly on the different contexts without losing sight of path in front,” as Kerryn Schrank of BP put it. purpose and reality. They can code-switch, Key elements of success include stamina and understanding the logic of a local community dogged determination. one moment and then business logic the next, without losing sight of trends and realities. Wolf For many such intrapreneurs, the challenge Several intrapreneurs described their role as of aligning different contexts is not only a that of a ‘lone wolf,’ at least at times. But matter of conviction, but a necessity when being the lone voice, responding to issues as confronted with different world views, they arise, is a crucial role for intrapreneurs paradigms and thought-cultures. if they are to champion unpopular — or at least not-yet-popular — causes.
  33. 33. The Social Intrapreneur 31 The Field Guide Figure 4.3 A taxonomy of social intrapreneurship “ Through Patrimonio Hoy, CEMEX was no longer in the cement business . . . they were in the construction services business.” Luis Sota VISION
  34. 34. The Social Intrapreneur 32 The Field Guide What are they working on? Consider the example of Ford Motor Company. Since the 1990s, Ford has conducted a variety In the big picture, social intrapreneurs are of sustainability activities, many of them pursuing what some might call the grail of focused on improving the efficiency of their sustainability: a better alignment between manufacturing operations. But, if we consider societal needs and business value. They see these efforts from a societal context, Ford is the potential for corporations not only to still having an increasingly negative impact minimize the problems they can cause as on the environment. Its core business model they create traditional forms of value, but is the manufacturing of vehicles, whose also to create new forms of value by helping environmental impact occurs almost entirely meet societal challenges. during the use phase of the product (through the burning of fossil fuels). Renowned architect and the author of Cradle to Cradle,23 William McDonough often speaks As populations swell, and Ford expands to of how companies should do “more good” meet rising demand, no matter how efficient rather than “less bad.” What he means by Ford’s production process is, society is this is that a true path toward sustainability inherently worse off. If, instead, Ford requires companies to consider how their considers how it can serve transportation activities can generate positive benefits across needs of communities in the most sustainable the board, from environmental protection to manner, we begin to see how expanding its human rights. Current strategies that focus reach to more customers can actually have a only on risk management or eco-efficiency positive societal impact by getting consumers simply aren’t sufficient to the task. out of their cars, to a greater or lesser degree. Figure 4.4 charts Ford’s sustainability initiatives, designed to address business and societal value simultaneously. “ You need to continually revisit what you assumed at your outset, working in and out of new contexts, markets and experiences. We recreate ourselves all the time.” Bob Annibale Citi
  35. 35. The Social Intrapreneur 33 The Field Guide Figure 4.4 Fording the river of opportunity High Business Models Sustainable Mobility Products & Hydrogen Vehicles Services GTDI (EcoBoost™) Flex Fuel Vehicles Hybrid Electric Vehicles Sustainable Materials Vehicle Lightweighting Societal Impact Processes Ford of Europe Product Sustainability Index Haddon Safety Matrix Ford Code of Basic Working Conditions Global HIV/AIDS Policy Facilities Energy Management / Renewables Green Buildings Environmental Operating System Wastewater Treatment & Recycling Closed-Loop Packaging System Low VOC Painting Process IT Consolidation & Energy Management Low Low Business High Value The above diagram plots a selection of This mapping is purely indicative and sustainability initiatives at Ford. These range serves to illustrate the spectrum of corporate from internally focused projects like energy sustainability opportunities. While the management, through to activities with the fundamental shift is where we hope potential to transform the economic companies will aim, it is clear from our landscape, including work on sustainable interviews, that successes in incremental mobility and hydrogen and other alternate- sustainability initiatives provide a critical fuel vehicles. foundation for changing corporate mindsets.