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

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

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 elkington@sustainability.com 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • The Social Intrapreneur 8 Chapter 1 Introduction Inside Out Figure 1.1 Shifting mindsets — or paradigms 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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).
  • 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
  • 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.”
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • The Social Intrapreneur 34 The Field Guide Another way of looking at this spectrum of Interestingly, and not surprisingly, many innovation is to recall the thinking of Clayton of our intrapreneurs are pursuing disruptive Christensen. Well over a decade ago, he and paths that, while focused on emerging or new his colleagues spotlighted two different forms markets, have potential implications for the of innovation, sustaining and disruptive.24 mainstream. Consider the following examples: “Sustaining technologies . . . improve the performance of established products along the — Vodafone’s mobile payment service, dimensions of performance that mainstream which breaks down barriers to payment customers in major markets have historically for customers without bank accounts, valued.” could potentially translate to mainstream markets as consumers increasingly use By contrast, “disruptive innovations don’t, mobile phones for financial transactions. by traditional measures, meet existing customers’ needs as well as currently — Citi’s biometric ATMs, which enable available products or services. They may developing country customers to access lack certain features or capabilities of the Citi’s services using fingerprints, has established goods. However, they are typically leapfrogged technology in developed simpler, more convenient and less expensive, markets. so they appeal to new or less-demanding customers.” 25 They cite examples such as — Ford’s Megacity Mobility Initiative, the PC vs. mainframe computer, mobile vs. which focuses on transportation solutions wireline telephony and nurse practitioners that minimize per capita car use, could vs. medical doctors. potentially help more developed countries with traffic and pollution solutions. Christensen and Stuart Hart point out that disruptive innovations are suitable for This applicability to the mainstream also developing markets — because “they offer creates the ‘innovators’ dilemma’ — how a product or service to people who would to ensure that this disruptive innovation otherwise be left out entirely or poorly served “is taken seriously within the company by existing products.” 26 They also talk about a without putting at risk the needs of present subset of disruptive innovations — catalytic customers who provide profit and growth.” 27 innovations — where social change is the We return to this dilemma in Chapter 6. primary objective. “ The CEO never imposed sustainability as a mandate . . . but he did set a vision and helped establish a common language: ‘ Better bank for better market for better society.’ ” Maria Luiza (Malu) Pinto Banco Real
  • The Social Intrapreneur 35 Specimen Eureka moment Challenge Susie Lonie Just getting phones into Overturning long- people’s hands and having established assumptions. Species them test out the product More specifically, launching Social intrapreneur really brought the value of a completely new type of what we were doing home. financial service in Kenya. Niche Product Lead, Personal Opportunity Mobile Payments Broad-based experience Extending core capabilities in nuclear engineering, into new areas; new revenue Habitat consumer marketing and stream. Vodafone Group, UK product innovation in Africa has set me up to tackle Ambition whatever challenges come To create a worldwide my way, undaunted by little financial service based on details like having little the needs and resources of sense of what I’m getting the citizens of developing myself into. markets. Motto Do your research, lay your plans, then get on with it! Shoe-lover Bookworm Jack-of-all-trades Extrovert Nuclear engineer Adventurer Social intrapreneur Innovator Storyteller Daughter Empathizer
  • The Social Intrapreneur 36 Specimen Eureka moment Opportunity Sam McCracken When I can pick up the New revenue stream, phone and hear a voice- reputational branding, Species mail from someone in the competitive advantage, Social intrapreneur community, telling me innovative approach to that their community is product design. Niche changed because of a Native American Business Nike product. Motto Have a vision, never give up, Habitat Challenge and never forget where you Nike, Oregon Developing the Nike Air came from. Native N7 shoe to promote physical fitness. Basketball coach Native American Social intrapreneur Loving husband Manager Change agent Community advocate
  • The Social Intrapreneur 37 The Field Guide Four specimen cases Specimen 1 Coca-Cola’s Global Water Initiative So, to what extent — and how — are social intrapreneurs pursuing new business models? Providing access to clean, affordable and First, it’s crucial to recognize that most sustainably produced water looks like one successful intrapreneurs begin by evaluating of the great challenges of the twenty-first their sphere of influence on society from a century. Here’s how one company is lifecycle standpoint and then consider how responding. they can leverage their core competencies to do ‘more good.’ Often business model Collector’s note transformation emerges as essential, given Interview 15 January 2008. The focus here that incremental improvements to the existing is on risk assessment — based on an model are unlikely to address the relevant innovative assessment method. challenges at an appropriate scale and pace. Specimen In our triple distilled case studies, we hone in Dan Vermeer’s job title is Director, on the journeys that four social intrapreneurs Sustainable Value Chain, at Coca-Cola, have taken to make their ideas reality. where he has worked for seven years. Prior We examine the ways in which they have to coming to Coca-Cola, Vermeer lived for opened out new niches in the corporate several years in Nepal and India conducting habitat. We look at the key drivers and where anthropological research. He also has worked the relevant ventures sit with respect to the in Silicon Valley, and has a Ph.D. in Learning core business. And we spotlight some of the Sciences. When it comes to developing shared potential contributions being made at the solutions to water sustainability challenges, interface between business value and wider his approach is inclusive, working with a forms of societal value. broad range of internal and external stakeholders to “develop innovative local We selected these specimen cases because approaches and then scale up those that they are at different stages of development work across Coca-Cola’s global system.” and because they help to illustrate the diverse approaches an intrapreneur can take to Habitat develop a new niche. For example, Hindustan Founded in 1892, Coca-Cola launched its Unilever’s Shakti initiative is being run Global Water Initiative in 2004, which aims out of its core business; Coca-Cola’s to make the company ‘water-neutral’ within Water Stewardship Initiative is blurring its manufacturing and bottling operations. the boundaries — firmly connected to core strategy, while pioneering value-sharing Significance solutions outside its four walls; Patrimonio Water scarcity poses significant risks to a Hoy began as an external niche offering that company whose single biggest input is water. later became its own business segment; while Following pressures in countries like India, Microsoft sees Unlimited Potential as the Coca-Cola recognized how trends in water future target area for business. Another supply and use could pose financial, way of looking at these four cases is to note operational and reputational risks. that Specimen 1 focuses on today’s risk, Specimens 2 and 3 on today’s opportunities and Specimen 4 on tomorrow’s opportunities.
  • The Social Intrapreneur 38 The Field Guide “Approaching water meant addressing Coca-Cola first conducted an in-depth survey systemic challenges that had the potential (300 questions!) of each of their plants in to drive transformative change,” explains 20 regions and used the results to develop an Vermeer. “We aspired to understand these innovative risk-assessment framework. issues deeply, and used this understanding (Note: the high response rate — nearly 92% — and the power of Coke’s global system to was driven by top management endorsement, develop scalable water management solutions but also ensured that Vermeer had a group of that would benefit the company and deliver stakeholders highly interested in the results value for local communities and other and ultimate project outcomes.) Thorough stakeholders.” data analysis uncovered six primary categories of risk for which monetary values Ecosystem pressures were assigned. These values were built into a The project began as an investigation into scenario planning tool that could be used by the state of global freshwater resources. strategic planners at all levels of the company “We first examined water trends and long- to drive investment decisions. term strategic issues,” Vermeer recalls. “We recognized that Coke had a major stake Coca-Cola then developed local water in the future of water resources, but many of stewardship initiatives engaging communities our risks and many of our opportunities were across its regions of operation. These were outside our four walls.” based on an assessment of local water dynamics and ranged from addressing water Symbioses access and water contamination to watershed Established partnerships with a number of protection and post-disaster water system external organizations, including the United rehabilitation. Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United States Agency for International The company has taken a holistic approach Development (USAID), CARE, World Wildlife to developing its strategy — inviting to the Fund, and many others. table friends and critics from a variety of sectors to explore opportunities for improving Challenges sustainability practices across its entire value Three primary challenges: chain. 1 Corporate Buy-In Focus How would the initiative embed the issue Managing reputational, regulatory and of water scarcity into strategic decision- operational risk; strengthening supply-chain making at all levels of the organization? relationships; embedding sustainability into core business practices; rigorous quantitative 2 Boundaries assessment of environmental and other How could Vermeer and his team get the sustainability issues; integrating sustainability company to embrace the opportunity to across the value chain. work outside the four walls of its plants to address supply-side water challenges? Lessons learned Tackling water scarcity isn’t only about 3 Global and Local internal operational issues, such as water How to develop a global approach that efficiency, wastewater treatment and new meets the unique challenges of local technologies. A sustainable water strategy communities? requires real collaboration and engagement around water challenges with NGOs, The solutions to these challenges were a governments and community members. combination of risk management and value While it is critical to have a global strategic creation approaches. approach, water is inherently local, and requires local solutions with other local actors.
  • The Social Intrapreneur 39 The Field Guide Specimen 2 Ecosystem pressures CEMEX’s ‘Patrimonio Hoy’ The recent entry of competitors into the market had begun to erode CEMEX’s share. Base-of-the-pyramid markets offer an This new business segment, made up of low- opportunity to align social and business income homebuilders, provided CEMEX both value. The business case is increasingly clear with stable growth through economic crises — first mover advantage in a new market, in Mexico and was CEMEX’s most profitable new growth area and increased brand loyalty. segment, representing 35% of the total market The positive social impacts tend to be fuzzier, for cement in Mexico. however. Here we examine a venture that pioneered a hybrid business model using an Symbioses ethnographic approach to product CEMEX partnered with VISION, a strategy development. and operations consultancy. The initial instincts of the executives were to bring Collector’s note its existing product — cement — to a new Interview 7 February 2008. The focus is on an customer base. It was only after a team of innovative approach to product development. managers spent time living in low-income neighborhoods in Guadalajara, Mexico, Specimen that they began to understand the needs Luis Sota is CEO of VISION South America. and concerns of this new customer base. He is Chilean, but left Chile with his family As a result, they developed a model that in 1974, shortly after the coup. He later was built around a value proposition developed a career as a consultant, built adapted to local needs. around a principle that “companies are networks of conversation.” He acted as a Challenges full-time consultant on CEMEX’s Patrimonio Since launching Patrimonio Hoy the Hoy (Patrimony Today) project. company has been successful in scaling its initiative in Mexico and has nearly met its Habitat goal of enabling home ownership among Founded in 1906, CEMEX launched over 800,000 families in Mexico. The next Patrimonio Hoy in December 1999. challenge will be to adapt the model to new Patrimonio Hoy offers do-it-yourself country contexts where informal savings construction services to low-income mechanisms (a critical success factor in the households. Mexican business model) may be strikingly different — or may not exist. Customer Significance retention also has proven difficult as the The CEMEX team noted that building physical novelty of the venture is wearing off and assets in the shape of a well-built house was customers may choose to spend money of central concern to many lower-income elsewhere. families. But financing, construction services, and building materials were difficult to come Focus by. The concerns of these families couldn’t Employee engagement; reputation and be answered by a product. As a result, branding; and profitable new business CEMEX developed a more robust offering. segment. In addition to its core construction products, CEMEX developed offerings ranging from Lessons learned microfinance to architectural and technical “It was all about trust,” remarked Sota. advice. As Sota says, “We’re not just selling “When you can have a beer with your cement. We’re delivering patrimony [wealth] customers, and really listen to their concerns, accumulation and construction services.” then you become aware of real opportunities to become a partner to their concerns.”
  • The Social Intrapreneur 40 The Field Guide Specimen 3 Ecosystem pressures Hindustan Unilever’s Shakti Program Hindustan Unilever sought to increase its market share in rural villages with smaller Our second base-of-the-pyramid case study populations, but discovered that no retail moves the spotlight from Mexico to India — distribution network really existed and and from the cement industry to the retail infrastructure for transport was poor. sector. Responding to these challenges, Shakti was created to provide women with training in Collector’s note selling, commercial knowledge and book- Interview 21 February 2008. The focus here keeping. Women can then choose to set up is on income-generating opportunities for their own businesses or become Shakti rural populations. distributors. These women, in turn, become role models in their communities, catalysts Specimen for mobilizing rural development. Vijay Sharma’s job title is Business Head, Shakti. Sharma has an engineering Symbioses background and worked in sales and Shakti works closely with the rural marketing for ten years. He has been working development departments of India’s state to scale up the Shakti program for the past governments, as well as numerous NGOs. two and a half years. For Sharma the Shakti sits smack dab in the center of experience of managing the Shakti program Hindustan Unilever’s sales department, has been transformative: “I used to have a so there is complete integration of this very myopic view of business. Now I see the initiative into the business. The project importance of looking at the environment is also stimulating core brands to consider that business operates in — generating their sustainability impacts — through solutions that integrate business and procurement practices, etc. communities. For me personally, it’s intellectually exciting and emotionally Challenges gratifying.” Scale! Shakti plans to more than double the number of women entrepreneurs from 45,000 Habitat today to 100,000, which would cover 500,000 Hindustan Unilever launched Shakti in 2001. villages and 500 million people. But there are Shakti aims to train and finance female always outstanding challenges — are you entrepreneurs in India. training the right entrepreneurs? Are you entering into the right kind of partnerships? Significance Hindustan Unilever realized that investing in Focus income-creation was critical to expanding its Increased sales; development of future reach and increasing sales. The barriers on markets; employee satisfaction; ‘relationship rural development are “barriers that strip capital;’ reputation and branding. people of dignity, and strip business of opportunity,” says Sharma. Lessons learned As businesses look to integrate social ventures into their core business, Sharma urges others, “Don’t lose the basic character of the business you’d like to integrate. You always need to proceed with extreme clarity about the goals and deliverables of your initiative. Don’t try and force core business metrics that aren’t applicable.”
  • The Social Intrapreneur 41 The Field Guide Specimen 4 Ecosystem pressures Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential Facing additional competition and a recessionary landscape in its mainstream Finally, the focus switches to information markets, Microsoft looked to emerging technology that is available and affordable markets as a future growth area. However, for low-income people in less developed many of its current products were not ready countries — with an eye to building a to serve emerging clients. long-term competitive strategy for the software giant. Symbioses Microsoft has some 750,000 partners Collector’s note around the world, which offer potential for Interview 25 January 2008. The focus collaboration on this initiative. here is on creating future conditions for competitiveness through transforming Challenges education, fostering local innovation and “The biggest challenges have to do with creating jobs and opportunities. being aware of the infrastructure that can absorb technology. Technology does not Specimen generate development alone. You need sound Orlando Ayala, Senior Vice President, government policies, enhanced workforce Unlimited Potential Group. Orlando was skills and infrastructure investments,” Ayala raised in Colombia and was the first in noted. Another key challenge Microsoft faced his family to graduate from high school was creating a line of sight. This wasn’t about and university. business in the next two years. It was about business in the next ten. Unlimited Potential’s Habitat aim is to lay the foundations for future Founded in 1975, Microsoft launched business. As Ayala commented, “The profit Unlimited Potential in 2007, to promote is not obvious right away, but it’s important technology that is accessible, affordable to have a presence in these markets.” and relevant in lower income populations. Focus Significance Competitive advantage in a new market, The ‘digital divide’ refers to the gap between powered by locally driven innovation those people with access to digital and outcomes. informational technology and those excluded. The aim of Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential is Lessons learned to forge a strategy for future competitiveness “It’s important to create expectations that built around technological inclusion. you can deliver on,” Ayala commented. Working with partners has allowed Microsoft to be more realistic both about the context and expectations it sets for its initiatives. Ayala also noted that “you won’t get anywhere unless your CEO has long-time horizons.”
  • The Social Intrapreneur 42 Chapter 5 Strategy of the Beaver Successful intrapreneurs transform the landscape, internally and potentially externally, too Figure 5.1 Working across multiple planes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  • The Social Intrapreneur 43 Strategy of the Beaver If one characteristic jumps out from our At the same time, their dam building can sample of social intrapreneurs, it is that — be beneficial for the wider ecosystem. while they see part of their role as warning For example, in restoring wetlands, with the their colleagues about impending challenges incidental benefits including flood control and clearing impediments to the progress of downstream, biodiversity (by providing the business — their ambition is to change the habitat for both rare and common species) landscape of thought and practice, both and water cleansing, both by the breakdown internally and (eventually) externally. “Social of toxins such as pesticides and the retention intrapreneurs create the prophecies that allow of silt by beaver dams. Beaver dams also companies to make new business offerings. reduce erosion as well as decrease the At the same time, they are re-envisioning the turbidity that is a limiting factor for much terms in which corporations engage society,” aquatic life.28 as Luis Sota put it. For all these reasons, we opted for the But why pick the beaver as the symbol of beaver as the icon of the social this transformative part of the intrapreneurial intrapreneurial movement. These people, agenda? The answer is that beavers are at their best, are part of the wider processes perhaps best known for their habit of building of creative destruction and reconstruction. dams in rivers and streams, and then setting In their book Creative Destruction, Richard up homes, or lodges, in the resulting pond. Foster and Sarah Kaplan cover the topic of Interestingly, too, they are also known for mental models, attributing the collapse of their danger signal: when startled or large companies to the inability of executives frightened, a swimming beaver rapidly dives, to shift their models of thinking. A common while energetically slapping the water with its weakness is that of ‘hubris’ — where a tail. The resulting 'slap' is audible over large company comes to see itself as “more distances, both above and below water. powerful than the collective forces of the market.” 29 Time and again, the intrapreneurs flagged the fundamental need to shift mental models inside their company — and in business more generally. The panel below is a sampling of the oft-heard responses from colleagues when intrapreneurs began to pitch their projects. Figure 5.2 Torpedoing Beavers When we asked social intrapreneurs what “This is a distraction.” arguments were most often used by their “We don’t have the budget.” colleagues to counter — and even sink — “Poor people have no money.” their proposals, they mentioned the following “Consumers or customers won’t pay for it.” counter-arguments: “We’re not in that business.” “We’ll cannibalize our existing business.” “We’ll be seen to be greenwashing.” “We aren’t sufficiently managing our own risks, so how can we possibly focus on opportunities?”
  • The Social Intrapreneur 44 Strategy of the Beaver The habitat and challenge The work reported involved Kanter and a research team venturing inside a dozen global When we asked the intrapreneurs what sort giants, including IBM, Procter & Gamble, of animal they would see as best symbolizing Omron, CEMEX, Cisco and Banco Real. the organizations they are trying to Their goal was to discover what has been transform, there was a common refrain. driving change. After conducting over 350 Not surprisingly, perhaps, the answers tended interviews on five continents, she and her to focus on large, slower-moving animals. colleagues came away with a strong sense “A big black bear,” said Ford’s David Berdish. that we are witnessing the dawn of a new “It moves slowly, but when it’s angry it strikes model of corporate power. hard and will meet its objectives. Trouble is, it is in hibernation sometimes and can miss The coordination of actions and decisions what’s happening!” Across at Unilever, on the front lines, Kanter suggests, now Santiago Gowland opted for a fairly widely appears to stem from widely shared values shared mental image. “An elephant,” he said. and a sturdy platform of common processes “Moving slowly, but consistently.” and technology, rather than top-down decrees. Interestingly, the values that engage Given how often the image of the elephant the passions of far-flung workforces stress came up when the social intrapreneurs were openness, inclusion, and making the world describing their host companies or a better place. Through this shift in what organizations, it is perhaps worth pursuing might be called their guidance systems, a little further. Elephants are intelligent and Kanter argues, large companies are becoming powerful, but often pretty ponderous, which as creative and nimble as much smaller is why they tend to feature in the titles of ones, even while taking on social and books like Teaching the Elephant to Dance environmental challenges of a scale that by James Belasco, sub-titled ‘The Manager’s only substantial enterprises could attempt. Guide to Empowering Change’ 30 and Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? by Lou Gerstner So, how are social intrapreneurs going about on his transformation of IBM. 31 In his book, achieving change in such organizations? James Belasco argues that large incumbent Successful species grow their niche, in some businesses are often “shackled, like powerful cases to the point where it becomes virtually elephants, to the past,” thereby robbing the entire ecosystem. All the intrapreneurs we themselves “of the ingenuity required to interviewed intend to grow their own niches, meet new competitive challenges and escape but most acknowledge significant challenges the ‘re’ dimension trap (of re-engineering, in doing so, and some even anticipate their re-organization and re-structuring) that efforts being spun out of the company concentrates on short-term fixes rather altogether. “Most people still don’t get it,” than long-term solutions.” explained one, while another worried that “it only takes one person in a powerful More recently, research like Rosabeth position to wipe out the whole thing.” Moss Kanter’s Transforming Giants 32 When it came to the steps intrapreneurs argues that change is afoot. Kanter writes: take in developing and scaling their projects, “large corporations have long been seen as we surfaced four (‘Getting It,’ ‘Selling It,’ lumbering, inflexible, bureaucratic — and ‘Doing It’ and ‘Scaling It’), though often clueless about global developments. But they progress somewhat in parallel. recently some multinationals seem to be transforming themselves: They're engaging employees, moving quickly, and introducing innovations that show true connection with the world.”
  • The Social Intrapreneur 45 Strategy of the Beaver Getting It On the other hand, Nick Hughes of Vodafone noted that “There really wasn’t an epiphany This is the Aha! moment, the epiphany where moment for me, but working at BP and seeing the intrapreneur sees the opportunity to the effectiveness of the emissions trading leverage his or her business to solve a mechanisms helped me to think more broadly particular problem. This may happen in an about the ways commerce can be used to instant or, more likely, is the result of careful address sustainability.” Other intrapreneurs dedication to exploring the linkages between agreed. Sue Mecklenburg of Starbucks societal challenges — such as water scarcity or reported that, “There wasn’t one ‘aha’ poverty — and the entire value chain of their moment. It’s an organic process. Each step business. The key, however, is about making a you take creates the conditions for the next.” commitment to make change from within the business. And, while intrapreneurs may be influenced by emerging literature around sustainability, Accenture’s Gib Bulloch, for example, spoke they are wary of swallowing new concepts of his awakening as follows. “My crucible wholesale. At a time when many business moment occurred on none other than the people are increasingly interested in bottom- District Line of the London Underground. or base-of-the-pyramid markets, for example, I came across an advert in The Financial Bob Annibale of Citi noted that in Mexico, Times. Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) was a key market where some 76% of citizens looking for someone with strong business don’t even have access to the most basic of skills to volunteer on development projects bank accounts, the ‘BOP’ market “is not the in the Balkans.” Within one week, Gib’s bottom of anything. It’s the bulk or majority context shifted from one of luxury hotels, of Mexico.” posh London restaurants, and a high pressure business environment to living out of a suitcase, learning a new alphabet and singing Macedonian folks songs with his host family. Win Sakdinan of Procter & Gamble attributed his “moment of truth” to reading Al Gore’s article in a green issue of Vanity Fair. This, he recalls, “Changed my life. Suddenly it clicked and I saw how you could mobilize business to address environmental challenges that are a win-win for everyone.” “ During the pitch, one of the finance guys fell asleep. It was largely a question of time horizons. It would be the end of the decade before the company began seeing revenues!” Off-the-record comment
  • The Social Intrapreneur 46 Strategy of the Beaver Selling It It is in the nature of the work that some intrapreneurial ambitions take a while to Once the intrapreneur has switched on to pull off, if they happen at all. So stamina the challenge and committed to drive change, is essential, particularly given the emotional they must rally resources to develop the toll this sort of work can impose. initiative. This involves navigating the The intrapreneurs noted how dependent complexity of a large organization to they were on more senior folk to give a influence the key individuals who can help green light to their proposals. move the project along. Our intrapreneurs are no strangers to power points and typically Courage is a vital asset. “Not being afraid will take a meeting — any time, any place — to provide input and engage in internal to sell their idea. discussion/debate” was high on the list of BP’s Schrank, alongside the ability to The biggest challenge to intrapreneurs in this “challenge the status quo and, importantly, stage is to keep going. Often, people’s knee- to keep key people informed/updated of my jerk reaction to any new idea is “No.” project and the associated issues.” Across at So, intrapreneurs look for ways to overcome Shell, Sachin Kapila agrees, acknowledging the push-back and find people who are more that, “often I have to be quite stubborn!” likely to support their ideas. (Figure 5.2 presents some frequently cited reactions.) Equally, there is a need for carefully honed diplomatic and political skills, at every level The working environment can be fractured, — and for careful intelligence gathering. with meetings across large organizations — “I have to know what’s going on in the and much time spent in transportation and industry,” as one intrapreneur put it, “to keep waiting. “My working life centers around up to date on issues and developments, so being constantly involved and connected — I am an expert on the issue that I’m dealing with my team, our partners and customers with. If people see me as a center of expertise, and others involved in social intra- and then they develop trust and confidence in the entrepreneurship, for example,” said work and my project. I also spend a lot of Microsoft’s Ayala. “Frequent travel allows time talking to people to learn how the me to always be mindful of the real concerns organization works, to find out what their and lives of the people who we are working level of knowledge or understanding is on constantly to reach, which at the end of the certain issues.” day is the most indispensable part of being able to do our job well.” Opportunism — of the best sort — is another key ingredient of success, we were told. Networking is key. “I need to keep my finger “I’m always looking out for opportunities to on the pulse,” as BP’s Schrank put it. progress or grow the program,” was Schrank’s “An intrapreneur needs to know what’s going answer here, “saying yes to speak at team on in the organization and to stay abreast meetings, contribute to think tanks, putting of strategy, policy or organizational changes up displays, or sending out update reports. to know how they potentially impact or can Crafting and strategizing ways to encourage be used to leverage my project.” It’s all about teams to take on board operational elements finding synergies, argues Shell’s Sachin of my program or suggest how they might Kapila. He says he doesn't understand and incorporate the program in a customer offer can’t connect with people who merely and so on.” establish a relationship just to get something from it. He pursues relationships because he finds people interesting and has chemistry with people, not because they have something to offer. “It’s about authenticity, and yes, you never know one day when they might become useful — but that certainly shouldn't be the driver!”
  • The Social Intrapreneur 47 Strategy of the Beaver Doing It Model 1 Islands Any intrapreneur will tell you that no idea is worth anything without results. The quicker Incubating an initiative away from the to realizing proof points, the better, they say. business mainstream can provide a degree of Of course, most intrapreneurs also advise to freedom and clarity of perspective. Steve Jobs approach this stage with a great deal of did this with his Macintosh team at Apple. humility. Most acknowledge that they didn’t Companies involved in this approach often know what they were doing when they dove use corporate venture capital to drive the in, but by learning quickly, being open to innovation. Take Unilever’s investment in ideas and hiring the right talent, they Physic Ventures, a venture capital firm that increased their chances for success. invests in start-ups at the interface between food, technology and healthy lifestyles. Incubation at this stage is key. Yet, the best Though Unilever has placed a staff member approach can be tricky. This gets back to on the management team of the fund, Physic Christensen’s “innovators’ dilemma” — how remains at arm’s length when evaluating to successfully incubate your transformative deals, believing that distance in the early idea without threatening the core business? stages of company development will result No intrapreneur, no matter how skilled, can in uncovering more disruptive innovations. turn their companies around over night. Similarly, companies like Groupe Danone are In fact, most warn about the dangers of setting up social investment funds to launch taking on too much too quickly. Small, start- their social business ventures. up endeavors seem to be the first jumping- off point for any intrapreneur. Though their Vodafone’s M-PESA was originally conceived approaches vary from discrete islands of through a social product innovation fund — innovation to new businesses incubated and their pilot incubated outside the main- within the current company structure. Below stream business in Kenya. That said, the we present three models of intrapreneurial initiative did have some bridges back to incubation: Islands, Bridges and Symbiosis. the business through its relationships with safari.com, Vodafone’s Kenyan subsidiary. David Berdish’s Megacity Mobility project is being developed at Ford in a similar fashion. Launching pilots in several cities, the initiative has few direct ties to the mainstream organization and is likely to seek outside financing for its efforts. A potential downside to this approach surfaces when companies attempt to reintegrate these start-ups. The cultures, processes and visions of the island inhabitants may clash with the existing Figure 5.31 corporation. Model 1
  • The Social Intrapreneur 48 Strategy of the Beaver Model 2 Model 3 Bridges Symbiosis Another approach companies may take in Finally, many intrapreneurs chose to incubating their social and environmental incubate their initiatives right inside the host ventures is a bridge relationship, with new organization from the get-go. Accenture units (be they previously independent, spin- Development Partnerships (ADP) is an outs or spin-ins) having clear — but relatively example, where Gib Bulloch built the non- loose — links to the host company. Often profit consultancy to work in concert with these divisions receive more freedom than the main business model, drawing talent traditional business units. from inside and using ADP as a leadership development tool. The model has continued Sam McCracken at Nike applies this to evolve to make even stronger links to the model. While McCracken had access to company’s core consultancy by developing the company’s resources, he developed an a brokering function focused on developing independent outfit with its own rules of the client value and societal impact through game. Shell’s wind division in the North Sea creative public/private partnerships. Citi, too, is another example, with the team physically located its microfinance division squarely in located outside the corporate headquarters — the consumer products group, working across but with access to Shell’s capital and other business units to develop new product offers resources. As several of our intrapreneurs — such as microinsurance. noted, their companies and brands can provide them with profile and access to One key advantage of this symbiotic approach resources and people that they wouldn’t is that intrapreneurs appear able to ‘infect’ enjoy as a traditional entrepreneur. the rest of the organization more readily and with greater effect. That said, it certainly doesn’t come without its risks. If you fail in this model, you fail more publicly — and perhaps risk closing a bigger window of opportunity. Figure 5.32 Figure 5.33 Model 2 Model 3
  • The Social Intrapreneur 49 Strategy of the Beaver Figure 5.4 Journey of an intrapreneur: Unilever’s Brand Imprint Getting It Doing It Aha! Be genuine, be realistic Unilever had a multitude of corporate The focus here was to integrate social, sustainability initiatives living within silos economic and environmental impacts and disconnected from the core business, into brand development in order to particularly brand development and reduce negative and maximize positive marketing — in spite of the fact that most impacts through innovation and brand of Unilever's core impacts relate to consumer communications. This was the strategic use of their products (86% of their CO2 statement, but the execution was quite an impact, and 45% of their water impacts organic process. Unilever turned to its core occur in consumer use). In 2005, social competencies. It relied on its best practices intrapreneur Santiago Gowland, and a in lifecycle analysis, consumer marketing team led by Unilever CEO Patrick Cescau, and trend spotting, and then coupled these realized there was a substantial missed skills with a value-chain and livelihood opportunity to engage consumers and analysis completed in conjunction with market influencers in this new conversation Oxfam. Outperforming its initial target, about sustainability. Unilever ended up conducting ‘Brand Imprint’ assessments with 14 brands, where the initial expectation had been just five. Selling It Scaling It Make the foreign familiar Growing the niche Unilever wrapped a common, business- The aim from the beginning was to look friendly marketing language around this at transformative strategies. As Gowland initiative — ‘gaining insights.’ As Gowland commented, “Low-hanging fruit is important commented, “We were going way beyond but insufficient. Balancing immediate consumer-product insights. We were intent growth areas with future trends is critical on examining the relationship between a if long-term sustainable markets are to brand and society, not just the psychological be carved out.” aspirations of consumers. This was a departure for us, but it was also something we could talk about in a familiar language.”
  • The Social Intrapreneur 50 Strategy of the Beaver Scaling It Other than the most obvious threat of triggering the corporate version of the tissue Scaling the solution is the end goal for most rejection problems sometimes experienced — if not all — intrapreneurs. As the three in organ transplantation, the main barriers models illustrate, the big challenge for to integration and scaling referenced by incubated projects is to incorporate into the intrapreneurs sound remarkably similar to mainstream. Too often, the tendency is for those faced by social and environmental this work to be viewed as a threat to the entrepreneurs: existing business or organization. So the work of laying the foundations, shifting mindsets — Access to finance was frequently cited, and getting buy-in early plays a central role with intrapreneurs competing for scarce in helping intrapreneurs align their longer- project funding within their organizations, term goals with those of the host company. and often competing with initiatives for which the market data is more robust and “I have embedded various operational the timescales shorter. elements of the scheme into appropriate teams so that we can scale up the program,” — Operational issues and know-how were reported BP’s Schrank. “Each market has set also cited as key challenges. Some aside a budget and a project manager to intrapreneurs, among them Nick Hughes implement the targets. I consult and support and Susie Lonie at Vodafone, said they the markets rather than lead on these had found themselves playing catch up launches, so they have ownership and are when their initiative scaled more quickly able to ‘tweak’ the program to the local than they had anticipated. environment.” — And, finally, staying true to the This concept of giving away ownership of mission was cited by many as a the program to others in the company was crucial consideration when scaling. a recurrent theme. In this way, intrapreneurs While no one seemed to have the answer, pave the way for the expansion and most saw this as a very real risk in replication of their initiatives. Working growing their businesses. in collaboration — even informally — with people in the mainstream company helps to shift mindsets and helps others see the links between their work and the future opportunities presented by the intrapreneur. “ Sketch a window, show the future opportunity.” Orlando Ayala Microsoft
  • The Social Intrapreneur 51 Specimen Personal Ambition Maria Luiza de Background in psychology. Provide formal training Oliveira Pinto to clients and suppliers on Challenge integrating sustainability Species Creating a better bank, for into their core business. Social intrapreneur a better market, for a better society. More specifically, Motto Niche mainstreaming sustainability Everything is Sustainable development training and development interdependent! into the organization’s Habitat management. Banco Real, São Paulo Opportunity Employee engagement, strengthening relationships with suppliers and customers, new revenue stream, competitive advantage. Catalyst Psychologist Social intrapreneur Motivator Holistic Brazilian
  • The Social Intrapreneur 52 Chapter 6 Wisdom of the Social Intrapreneur Signposts and survival-kit for success Figure 6.1 Switching on to new mindsets 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  • The Social Intrapreneur 53 Wisdom of the Social Intrapreneur When we asked social intrapreneurs for Intrapreneurs on entrepreneurs insights into their success — most had to pause to consider their answers. They clearly When we asked social intrapreneurs about weren’t following well-scripted play books. their views on social entrepreneurs, two Indeed, it was striking how many of the themes emerged. First, it’s fairly clear that intrapreneurs used words like ‘serendipity,’ intrapreneurs are inspired by the visionary ‘alchemy’ and ‘magic.’ “You can’t ‘project thinking grounded in practical action manage’ a cultural revolution,” says approach for which social entrepreneurs are Unilever’s Santiago Gowland. “When you so famous. BP’s Kerryn Schrank noted Bunker are dealing with projects that join mind and Roy of Barefoot College as an inspiration, heart, the speed and scale of execution can citing “the fact that he has been a catalyst change dramatically.” But that doesn’t mean for lasting change.” Similarly, Unilever’s change comes with a wave of a wand. Gowland admires Juan Carr and Julio Intrapreneurs, it seems, are a prime example Vacaflor, “two Ashoka social entrepreneurs of Louis Pasteur’s principle that “chance living in Argentina . . . [for] their values-led favors the prepared mind.” Having done vision, spontaneity, conviction and freedom their homework and created a concept for to do what they believe needs to be done.” change, intrapreneurs are able to respond to opportunities when they arise. But intrapreneurs see these folks as much more than inspiration. They view social Despite the lack of an A–Z manual on entrepreneurs as offering ideas and insights intrapreneurship, there are consistent into communities and the challenges they approaches. One important finding of our face. Some of our intrapreneurs interviewed research is the way that intrapreneurs view have actively worked with social entre- the outside world, in particular, the citizen preneurs and, in fact, see them as integral to sector. No longer do the businesses that these the work that they do. Others are intrigued, intrapreneurs help guide see citizen sector but still considering the best approach. organizations as simply “stakeholders,” able to offer advice at arm’s length and then get out of the way. Instead, some social Intrapreneurs on corporate changemaking intrapreneurs are beginning to see NGOs and social entrepreneurs as potential Next we’ve attempted to distill insights strategic partners. from our interviews into ten tips for other intrapreneurs — and the related opportunities for entrepreneurs. “ I heard there was a need in my community and I listened. I didn’t have a grand plan.” Sam McCracken Nike
  • The Social Intrapreneur 54 Wisdom of the Social Intrapreneur Tip 1 Tip 2 Focus on solving a problem, Use storytelling, but build the business case not selling a solution A critical challenge is getting colleagues to It may sound simple, but prioritizing make a perceptual shift from today’s reality problem-solving is an essential element to to tomorrow’s possibility. Mary Harmon of successful intrapreneurship. Keen observers Trium Group, an organizational trans- of their environments, leading intrapreneurs formation consultancy, puts it this way: conduct rigorous research and constantly “It’s important for people to have a line of strive for deeper insight. It is this quest for sight. You need to show them not only where understanding that yields more effective you want to go, but how you are going to and innovative solutions. get there.” Most intrapreneurs find that storytelling, images and prototypes help At Coca-Cola, the Water Stewardship people to grasp the opportunity. Initiative started out with a focus on understanding the global challenge of water At Nike, Sam McCracken noted that people scarcity. Only after in-depth exploration of finally “got it” after the company produced a the problem did they consider the company’s video about his work. Similarly, the Vodafone role in tackling the issue. Similarly, Nike’s team discovered that sharing photographs of Sam McCracken observed a problem in his potential Kenyan consumers was powerful in community — and then worked to understand providing a more engaging picture of the the concerns and challenges around Native opportunity. Chris Sherwin, formerly an American health. By listening and observing, intrapreneur at Philips, describes his he was able to offer a solution that could challenge in getting a company focused on have real impact. high-end medical equipment for developed markets to consider opportunity space in the Advice for social entrepreneurs? developing world. “In addition to in-depth Grab a beer with your target intrapreneur. market research,” he recalls, “I relied heavily These people are hungry for information, on experiments and concept projects insights and ideas. expressed through prototypes, sketches and storyboards to make these ideas come alive.” But stories alone aren’t sufficient. Changemakers need to build the business case for action. In particular, intrapreneurs must be clear about the potential business benefits — and about the timescales likely to be involved. “People will want to know ‘why us?’” as one intrapreneur put it. “What is the case for action?” Still, Dow Chemical’s Scott Noesen warns, “Don’t oversell it! Everyone wants to monetize the opportunity, but sometimes it is difficult. This is often about unarticulated needs in the market — and we are still at an early stage of articulating what those are.” Advice for social entrepreneurs? Build a strong narrative, but make sure you have the facts at your fingertips. “ 70% of my job is storytelling.” Gib Bulloch Accenture
  • The Social Intrapreneur 55 Wisdom of the Social Intrapreneur Tip 3 Tip 4 Align with the best of the company culture Go to the top Once the problem has been identified and The intrapreneurs were insistent here. carefully researched, successful intrapreneurs Don’t get hung up on getting the support of know they must focus on how their efforts top management, they said, but remember can leverage the core competencies of their that companies tend to respond energetically organization, including finance, innovation, to signals from the CEO and other leaders. marketing, distribution and access to global At Ford, David Berdish noted that Bill Ford networks. and his Senior VP got the sustainable mobility agenda “right away.” Then, once top In some cases, the connection may be people have got the message, they need to surprising. Dow, for example, recently keep banging the drum. “If you support the took an equity position in Water Health idea,” as Procter & Gamble’s Win Sakdinan International, a social enterprise that insisted, “don’t stop saying it!” distributes water purification technology in developing countries. Initially, Dennis In siloed organizations, Sakdinan stressed, Merens in Dow’s Venture Capital group change takes longer — often much longer. thought access to technology and distribution “So be a broken record,” he advised. capabilities were their key challenges. “And be patient.” Interestingly, many Instead, the biggest challenge for Water intrapreneurs stress the importance of Health was accessing capital. So, Merens remaining under the radar in the early persisted internally and engaged Dow’s stages. Shell’s Sachin Kapila was particularly finance group to help secure investments strong on this point: “If you get too high for the initiative. a profile too early on, your work can easily get blocked,” he warned. “Get success first, Similarly, social intrapreneurs have found demonstrate the possibilities, document that their chances of success are greatest your learnings, build alliances and go from when they can link their projects to the there. Otherwise, you’re just setting yourself company’s ambitions, values, culture and up for a big fall.” history. Citi, for example, moved to 24-hour banking in the 1980s in an attempt to extend Advice for social entrepreneurs? its services to previously underserved middle Do the due diligence, early on. Does the class consumers. Bob Annibale views — and person you’re working with have the ability pitches — his microfinance initiative as to get agreement on a partnership? If not, a logical extension of this movement to who do they need to influence? What are greater access to finance. the risks if that person fails or goes away? Is there someone else in the organization Advice for social entrepreneurs? who would be better at championing It makes sense in marriage and it makes your effort? sense in business: get to know your partner, in depth. “ I use the Nike brand for inspiration. We have a series of eleven Maxims and I use them all — especially ‘do the right thing.’ ” Sam McCracken Nike
  • The Social Intrapreneur 56 Wisdom of the Social Intrapreneur Tip 5 Tip 6 Wherever possible, use existing processes Make sure you’re funded Most intrapreneurs attribute much of their Pretty obvious, isn’t it? But enthusiasts success to their ability to integrate their often leave the financial details until later — new thinking and requirements into existing sometimes too late. The importance of processes. This not only enables them to ensuring you have a sensible budget, the access company resources and know-how, intrapreneurs insisted, cannot be overstressed. but also helps to create support for their Without it, they said, people you need to efforts by getting more of the mainstream help you won’t take you seriously. “Once you company involved. have funding,” says Kerryn Schrank of BP, “people start to listen.” “It’s difficult to get buy-in to develop products and services from the Corporate In building your funding, it always makes Responsibility or Corporate Affairs divisions,” sense to look for patient funding or capital, commented Nick Hughes of Vodafone. which allows you room to experiment. Some Instead, he set up his initiative as part of big companies have internal funds — like Group Marketing — and subsequently moved Shell’s ‘Changemaker’ group, which provides to Global Business Development. “I knew angel-type investment for projects. External we had to be in the engine room of the sources, too, may be available. Among the company,” he explained. Along parallel outside sources of funding mentioned by the lines, Citi’s Bob Annibale recalled, “We were intrapreneurs were the International Finance successful because we were able to build it Corporation (IFC) and national government into our plumbing — policies, risk models, agencies, such as the UK’s Department for target market, etc. — we used our core International Development (DfID). business model as a foundation for growth.” Advice for social entrepreneurs? Advice for social entrepreneurs? You might think that intrapreneurs have It is no accident that most of the ‘wisdom’ unfettered access to corporate coffers, but of social intrapreneurs is basic business sense. you would be wrong. Consider the financing Rein in the temptation to reinvent the wheel challenges your corporate partner may — the vehicle for change may already be at have — and think of ways in which a joint hand. initiative might be better placed to attract funding. “ 1 + 1 = 3 . . . partnerships result in a much greater outcome.” Vijay Sharma Hindustan Unilever
  • The Social Intrapreneur 57 Wisdom of the Social Intrapreneur Tip 7 Tip 8 Create a coalition, Pilot and execute engage external stakeholders Intrapreneurs are overzealous in their views “At Starbucks innovation is highly valued,” on execution because they understand the said Sue Mecklenberg. “It’s important to power of proof points. Once your idea moves have a free flow of information across from theory to action, you’re much more business divisions. Don’t underestimate the likely to get people’s attention, for good or contribution of interpersonal relationships to ill. Early on, Santiago Gowland of Unilever innovation. People make decisions based on warns that one “danger is to do too much conversations they’ve had, and information talking and not enough delivering. The they’ve exchanged. It’s important for critical factor is to drive a robust business companies to create incentives that allow case.” Similarly Bob Annibale of Citi notes for this knowledge-sharing.” that “you can feel as mission driven as you want, but you need to achieve results.” Time and again, intrapreneurs cite small coalitions of people who “get it” as key to Annibale goes on to explain that “pilots their success. This is ‘Step 2’ in John Kotter’s and partners become stakes in the ground.” framework for change management, with Most intrapreneurs start with pilot tests Step 1 to create a sense of urgency.33 in specific markets before going big. Leading intrapreneurs have shown themselves This enables experimentation and learning, adept at finding others in the organization potentially minimizing risks. For intra- who share their vision, as well as bringing preneurs who are limited in resources, in the right people to support the project partnerships with third parties — such as early on. universities — can provide useful avenues for incubating new thinking and initiatives. Build a coalition in support of your initiative, they suggest, but make sure that the right Advice for social entrepreneurs? people are involved — and that the agenda is Focus on results. Some of the work you clear. And make sure that you engage have done on metrics for tracking such external stakeholders in appropriate ways, things as social and/or environmental value throughout the process. To take just one added may be pretty sophisticated by the example, Nike’s engagement with the Native standards of even some of the biggest American community helped to ensure that companies. this initiative has credibility both with that community and with the wider world. Advice for social entrepreneurs? Keep an eye out for related coalitions that you can join — and help to shape. Companies that you want to engage may not yet see you as a significant stakeholder. Help them see the 1 + 1 = 3 potential. “ A small number of individuals who were religiously sold on the idea were key to our success.” Susie Lonie Vodafone
  • The Social Intrapreneur 58 Wisdom of the Social Intrapreneur Tip 9 Tip 10 Maintain your integrity. Be patient Share ownership — and have fun Along the journey, inevitably, an intrapreneur It was apparent in our interviews that despite — like an entrepreneur — will be challenged the many challenges and often long hours, and pulled in many different directions. the intrapreneurs are not taking the whole But be patient and clear about what you responsibility for change on their own are trying to achieve. Attempting to integrate shoulders — indeed they seek to share an initiative into the business too early, or ownership of their initiatives with a range in the wrong way, runs the risk of diluting of key people inside and outside the impact. Be opportunistic, but be careful not organization. And, while they all work to be deflected from your core goals of furiously hard, one more thing shone fundamental change. Paths of incrementalism through from these conversations: these are very likely to emerge, in some cases people enjoy their work and are having purpose-designed to distract you. So fun, most of the time. remember the urgency of change. While successful intrapreneurs generally show an Advice for social entrepreneurs? openness to improving their thinking and Alongside all the other metrics, consider solutions, they won’t budge when it comes whether you — and the people you work to achieving real impact. with, or want to work with — enjoy what they do. Your chances of long-term success “The minute I’m no longer solving the are immeasurably boosted if the answer is problem, I’ll leave the company,” as one put in the affirmative. it. At the same time, however, they are more understanding than many social entre- preneurs would be of the time scales needed to achieve real change. “People need different timing to buy into an agenda,” said Unilever’s Santiago Gowland. “You have to make sure you balance learning from challengers with movement from fast supporting early adopters. This allows you to sharpen strategic rigor while building momentum.” And, without over-simplifying, ensure that you bring clarity to complex situations. As Malu Pinto explained, when she started out in the intrapreneurial space, her organization — Brazil’s Banco Real — had 22 different approaches for the 22 different directors of the business units. Over time, she has helped boil that complexity down into a much more coherent strategy and set of initiatives. Advice for social entrepreneurs? Decide on your goal, but be flexible in how you get there. If you are trying to engage a major business, be open to suggestion. The journey to success can take more than one route. “ Would your mother understand what you’re doing?” Susie Lonie Vodafone
  • The Social Intrapreneur 59 Specimen Eureka moment Challenge Win Sakdinan My sustainability ‘moment Creating product innovations of truth’ was reading that address sustainability Species Al Gore’s article in Vanity challenges with mainstream Social intrapreneur Fair’s famous green issue. consumers who want It changed my life. Suddenly to do their bit for the Niche it clicked and I saw how environment. External relations you could mobilize business to address environmental Opportunity Habitat challenges that are a Driving a sustainability P&G, Geneva win-win for everyone. strategy that is good for consumers, company and Personal environment. Lead guitarist in The Consumer Republic, P&G’s Ambition in-house rock band. Creating the next generation of business leaders with a sustainability mindset. Motto Carpe diem and have fun! Guitarist Enthusiast Dedicated husband Father Storyteller Social intrapreneur
  • The Social Intrapreneur 60 Chapter 7 Future Expeditions Working towards Capitalism 3.0 Figure 7.1 Discovering the markets of the future 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  • The Social Intrapreneur 61 Future Expeditions Eric the Red — and his son Leif Ericsson — Pioneering tomorrow’s business models came to mind while we were developing The Social Intrapreneur. They may have been When we asked leading intrapreneurs rapacious colonizers, but they are credited to comment on their potential to affect with the first European discovery of what widespread change in their companies, the we now know as America. In the same way, reactions were decidedly mixed. For most of we have made an early, halting voyage of them, it was clear, this remains the ambition. discovery into a landscape which we hope They genuinely see their way as the way of will open out tremendously in the twenty-first the future. They believe strongly that they are century, though the fate of the Viking colony helping to pioneer new business models that on Greenland should give us pause. Still, as are not only likely to be successful in their we conclude this stage of our journey, we own right, but will usefully signal future are clear that the social intrapreneurs directions for their organizations and, they covered here: hope, their industries. — represent a significantly different At the more optimistic end of the spectrum, corporate approach to some of the great Microsoft’s Orlando Ayala noted that socio-economic and environmental developers of the company’s next generation challenges of our time; operating system are now considering how to design it so that it will function well with — believe that there are large benefits in the growing number of low-cost computers working inside major organizations to in emerging markets. Equally bullish, Kerryn leverage their skills, financial muscle Schrank talked about how the concept of and other resources; ‘reduce, replace and neutralize’ with regards to mitigating CO2 emissions is starting to — have the potential to accelerate the take hold in various business units at BP. evolution of strategies, business models She noted that, despite recent restructuring, and engagement processes that will be she is seeing her program gaining traction — crucial in helping their host organizations and is expanding from the UK pilot into to understand and move into the emerging seven additional countries.34 In Brazil, landscapes of risk and opportunity; meanwhile, Banco Real says they now have so many sustainability-related initiatives — have much to teach social entrepreneurs that they can no longer keep track. in terms of how to engage large business organizations and bring their solutions Others, however, were distinctly less bullish. to scale; At Vodafone, for example, Nick Hughes reported that in a recent slate of budget cuts — are nowhere near achieving critical mass funding for the social product innovation in any of the organizations we studied; initiative was under pressure. Only two and projects survived — one of which was M-PESA a mobile payment project. As he — are increasingly interested in working suggests, such initiatives utterly depend with leading, high performance social on top-level champions. He added: “It is entrepreneurs, as long as there are clear too easy to go back to business as usual.” and shared market-related objectives. “ Don’t confuse us with charity . . . people are going back to mainstream Accenture from ADP and inspiring the rest of the company.” Gib Bulloch Accenture
  • The Social Intrapreneur 62 Future Expeditions Business as unusual 35 Leadership support The intrapreneurs were absolutely clear that We have looked at the ‘ecosystem’ pressures leadership support is “golden.” Many are that are opening out the niches that social effective at engaging at top management, but intrapreneurs occupy (Chapter 3) and at the most felt the need for new allies and political nature of the new niches now emerging support. While some manage to achieve (pp. 47–48). We have focused in on a small progress without the benefit of a completely number of cases that illustrate the impact that tuned-in senior management, all underscored these people can have (pp. 37–41). We have the importance of management not only explored the ways in which they see both ‘getting it,’ but talking about it — clearly, themselves and the organizations they are consistently, repeatedly. trying to change (p. 30). And we have spotlighted the advice these leading intra- Space for experimentation preneurs would offer to others hoping to Specifically, the intrapreneurs argue that follow in their footsteps (pp. 54–58). senior management needs to create space for people to experiment and generate new ideas. But, in terms of helping these people do Successful intrapreneurship seems to emerge more of what they want to do — and faster — most often from groups or individuals who what sort of wish-list emerges? What do the have been given the space to conduct in- intrapreneurs see as their most critical needs? depth research about emerging needs in the And where do social entrepreneurs fit in to outside world. The ability to look outside the this bigger picture? Here are some of the company walls — in depth and over time — answers. was felt to be a critical success factor. Access to capital Talent-spotting and development Perhaps surprisingly, given their belief that If businesses are to actively encourage working inside out helps leverage resources intrapreneurship, they need to know where unavailable to a social entrepreneur, a to source these people and how to develop significant proportion of the intrapreneurs a pipeline of trained talent. Just as those cited access to finance as a key challenge. who have worked with social entrepreneurs They clearly compete for scarce resources see their entrepreneurial genius as being with other new projects inside their an innate characteristic, it seems likely t companies. Some had been able to secure hat intrapreneurship, too, is something one capital through internal venture funds. is born into. While we may not yet know Others accessed external financing through enough to answer the nature vs. nurture governments or international entities such question definitively here, we do know as the International Finance Corporation that it takes both catalysts and intrapreneurs (IFC), which enabled them to operate “under to achieve real forward momentum and to the radar” until they felt they had captured create the preconditions of sustained success. enough “proof points.” Developing financing Leading business schools and other mechanisms, internally and externally, educational institutions are already will be essential. Like social intrapreneurs, considering how they can evolve their they also noted the importance of “patient curricula and offerings to encourage more capital” and the corporate equivalent of entrepreneurial thinking and approaches. “angel investments,” given that many of their projects are unlikely to meet short-term investment criteria.
  • The Social Intrapreneur 63 Future Expeditions Recognition of success ‘Yunus Inside’ A no-brainer, surely, but many of the intrapreneurs had received — and had Business cannot be expected to solve been mightily encouraged by — internal these challenges alone. Governments have recognition in the form of awards for their a key role to play in creating enabling work. Such were cited as important not only environments for new business models to for acknowledging the significance of their thrive. Increasingly, policy-makers will need agenda, but also for communicating relevant to scan the landscape of intrapreneurial messages across the company about the value solutions and consider their potential of intrapreneurial solutions. contribution, accelerating the development and scaling of relevant projects. They should Celebration of failure also ask what intrapreneurship might look This has been a constant mantra of like in their own institutions and agencies. management scientists for decades. According to our intrapreneurs, however, Similarly, the citizen sector — NGOs and there is still a yawning gap between the social entrepreneurs alike — needs to work rhetoric and the practice. By the very nature out how to make more — and more generative of their work, intrapreneurs are going to fail, — connections with these individuals and sometimes. More people will be happy to head their organizations. Social entrepreneurs down the intrapreneurial path if they know potentially have valuable insights into they won’t be automatically fired or punished markets and societal challenges that can help if their project hits the skids. social intrapreneurs develop more powerful solutions, but the benefit flows can run both Coaching and mentoring ways. This is an area that we are actively Intrapreneurs have no shortage of passion, exploring with the Skoll Foundation and the but at least a proportion of them admitted International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF). diving in without sufficient knowledge about markets or operations. Pairing intrapreneurs Finally, if asked what this project has left us with experienced mentors or coaches — hoping for in the wider world, it would be the from inside or outside the business — was social entrepreneur’s version of the cunning suggested as a means to help them more ‘Intel Inside’ strategy. As social enterprises quickly advance the learning curve of like Muhammad Yunus’s Grameen Group building, operating and scaling solutions. partner with growing numbers of mainstream companies, the challenge for those same companies, increasingly, will be to develop their own ‘Yunus Inside’ strategies and approaches. And that, whether or not they would explain it that way, is what all of the social intrapreneurs featured here are working towards. They are today’s rather more progressive versions of Eric the Red, providing early blueprints of Capitalism 3.0 — very much more inclusive, hugely innovative and, above all, sustainable. “ Project Shakti has stimulated thinking across the company about how to approach brands in a more sustainable way.” Vijay Sharma Hindustan Unilever
  • The Social Intrapreneur 64 Specimen Eureka moment Challenge Kerryn Schrank Realizing that many people Reducing CO2 emissions, feel powerless to bring about finding business solutions to Species changes in their work place. challenges posed by global Social intrapreneur Whether they feel they lack warming and engaging the skills, knowledge, consumers in the challenge. Niche confidence or permission More specifically, developing Fuels Management Group to do so . . . this is when BP’s targetneutral campaign, it struck me. People can be which offers motorists a way Habitat an incredible resource if of offsetting the carbon BP, London encouraged, empowered and dioxide emissions of their given the opportunity to do car for the coming year. so with the right guidance. Ambition Opportunity Extend the program to Reputational branding, other markets. employee engagement, new revenue stream. Motto Keep one eye internal and one eye external. Environmental scientist Change agent Social intrapreneur Motivator Australian Straight talker Yachtswoman
  • The Social Intrapreneur 65 Acknowledgements The Project Team from SustainAbility consisted of Maggie Brenneke, Alexa Clay, This guide was a collective effort — built and John Elkington, with invaluable help foremost on the insights and journeys of a from Yasmin Crowther, Chris Guenther, group of exceptional people within multi- Meghan Chapple-Brown, Sophia Tickell, national companies: the ‘social intrapreneurs.’ Michael Sadowski, Kavita Prakash-Mani, Our heartfelt thanks go to these individuals Manuela Fremy, Ori Chandler and Sam Lakha. for sharing their stories — and to their companies for nurturing and supporting In addition, we would like to thank others these valuable initiatives. for their inputs, which in no small way helped to shape and set the tone of this publication: This publication would never have seen Chris Sherwin, Forum for the Future; Jed daylight had it not been for the financial Emerson, Generation Foundation; Diane support and wider inputs of Jeff Skoll, Sally Osgood, Business for Social Responsibility; Osberg and their colleagues at the Skoll Ziba Cranmer, Nike; Stu Hart, Johnson Foundation. We are profoundly grateful to School, Cornell University; Mary Harmon, the Skoll Foundation and would like to Trium Group; Eric Rassman, UCLA; Ros acknowledge their efforts to advance Tennyson, IBLF; Daniel Vennard, Mars; entrepreneurial solutions to sustainability Mark Goyder, Tomorrow’s Global Company; challenges. We are also enormously grateful Virginia Barreiro, World Resources Institute; for the support of our corporate sponsors, and Samantha Beinhacker. Our gratitude Allianz (where we thank Paul Achleitner, to Rupert Bassett for his design. As ever, Mónica Aguilar, Nick Tewes and Kay Müller) all errors of omission or commission are and IDEO (where we thank Tim Brown, ours alone. Santiago Matheus, Richard Kelly, James Parr and Carmen Marrero). Finally, we hope that for those social intrapreneurs who shared their stories, this guide provides a tribute to their courage and determination, a validation of their approach and a platform for imagining new possibilities of success. “ The role involves a measure of asking for forgiveness after the event, rather than asking for permission in advance.” Off-the-record comment
  • The Social Intrapreneur 66 15 Notes Joanna Barsh, ‘Innovative management: a conversation with Gary Hamel and 1 www.ashoka.org Lowell Bryan’, McKinsey Quarterly, 2008, 2 John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan, Number 1, p. 31. 16 The Power of Unreasonable People: The Forum of Young Global Leaders is a How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets multistakeholder community of the That Change the World, Harvard Business world’s most extraordinary leaders aged School Press, 2008. 40 or younger who agree to dedicate a 3 ‘Unreasonable people power’, part of their time and energy to jointly The Economist, 22 January 2008. work towards a better future. Each year, 4 Growing Opportunity: Entrepreneurial the World Economic Forum recognizes Solutions to Insoluble Problems, 200–300 individuals, drawn from every SustainAbility, 2007. region in the world and from a myriad 5 Richard Foster and Sarah Kaplan in of disciplines and sectors, as Young Creative Destruction estimate that by 2020 Global Leaders (YGLs) and invites them the average lifespan of a corporation on to join the community as active members. the S&P will have been shortened to about YGLs engage in task force work under ten years! See Richard Foster and Sarah the themes of development and poverty, Kaplan, Creative Destruction: Why education, environment, global Companies that are Built to Last governance and security, health, as Underperform the Market — and How to well as values and society. Creatively Transform Them, Currency www.younggloballeaders.org 17 Publisher, 2001, p. 13. Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative 6 www.ashoka.org Class, And How It's Transforming Work, 7 www.weforum.org/en/media/ Leisure and Everyday Life, Basic Books, latest%20press%20releases/ 2002. pr_closing_270108 http://creativeclass.com 8 18 Roger Martin and Sally Osberg, Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams, ‘Social entrepreneurship: the case for Wikinomics, Atlantic Books, 2007, p. 47. 19 definition’, Stanford Social Innovation This list draws upon a multitude of Review, Spring 2007. sources for social entrepreneurial www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/ characteristics — including Schwab, social_entrepreneurship_the_case_for_ Ashoka and the Skoll Foundation. definition www.ashoka.org 9 20 Roger Martin, The Opposable Mind: www.intrapreneur.com/ How Successful Leaders Win Through mainpages/history.html 21 Integrative Thinking, Harvard Business Gifford Pinchot, Intrapreneuring, School Press, 2007. Harper & Row, 1985. 10 22 http://eitransparency.org http://209.59.162.229/~intrapre/ 11 www.weforum.org/en/initiatives/ cgi-bin/bbs/ikonboard.cgi 23 paci/index.htm William McDonough, Cradle to Cradle, 12 See SustainAbility’s recent work, North Point Press, 2002. 24 Raising our Game: Can We Sustain Clayton Christensen and Joseph L. Bower, Globalization?, for more in-depth ‘Disruptive technologies: catching the coverage of the ten divides. wave’, Harvard Business Review, www.sustainability.com January–February 1995, pp. 43–53. 13 25 www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/ Clayton Christensen, Heiner Baumann, independent_reviews/stern_review_ Rudy Ruggles and Thomas M. Sadtier, economics_climate_change/ ‘Disruptive innovation for social change’, stern_review_report.cfm Harvard Business Review, Harvard 14 Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer, Business Press, December 2006, ‘Strategy and society: the link between pp. 94–101. competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility’, Harvard Business Review, December 2006.
  • The Social Intrapreneur 67 26 Clayton M. Christensen and Stuart L. Hart, ‘The great leap: driving innovation from the base of the pyramid’, MIT Sloan Management Review, MIT, Fall 2002, p. 52. 27 Clayton Christensen, The Innovators Dilemma, Harvard Business Press, 1997, p. xxvi. 28 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/beaver 29 Richard Foster and Sarah Kaplan, Creative Destruction: Why Companies that are Built to Last Underperform the Market — and How to Creatively Transform Them, Currency Publisher, 2001, p. 62. 30 James A. Belasco, Teaching the Elephant to Dance: The Manager’s Guide to Empowering Change, Crown, 1990. 31 Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? Inside IBM's Historic Turnaround, Harper-Collins, 2003. 32 Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Transforming Giants, Harvard Business Press, 2008. 33 www.johnkotter.com 34 Note, however, that BP is simultaneously expanding into carbon intensive oil sands as it races to meet growing energy demand. 35 First used by John Elkington in Cannibals with Forks in 1997, this phrase also appeared as the title of a book by Anita Roddick in 2005.
  • The Social Intrapreneur 68 Specimen Eureka moment Opportunity Dan Vermeer Realizing water’s dual Develop innovative capacity character, its necessity to for value-sharing; create Species the sustainability of the competitive positioning Social intrapreneur planet and its criticality as through sustainability across a primary input to Coke’s the value chain; reduce risks Niche products. to business continuity and Water Stewardship Initiative reputation. Personal Habitat Lived in the Himalayas; Ambition Coca-Cola, Atlanta worked for Gary Hamel. To use the power of the brand and a global business Challenge system to transform the Developing risk-sharing and sustainability of our value value-sharing solutions to chain. water scarcity. Motto Allow knowledge to flow up. Outside-in worker Anthropologist Social intrapreneur Thinker Innovator Localizer
  • Publication ISBN 978–1–903168–22–6 The Social Intrapreneur: A Field Guide for Corporate Publisher Changemakers SustainAbility First Edition 2008 Designer Copyright 2008 SustainAbility Ltd. Rupert Bassett All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored Printer in a retrieval system or transmitted in Seacourt any form or by any means, electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, photo- Paper copying, recording, or otherwise, Robert Horne without permission in writing from Revive 100 Offset the copyright holders. Marketeer Agriculturalist Guitarist Thinker Innov Creative