I’ve never seen myself as particularly forward thinking. I can generally see what’s going on around me and make sense of it but in terms of the larger changes and trends I’ve never really had that much game.
The one exception to this was with intrapreneurs. Actually when I first understood the concept of intrapreneurship I didn’t know there was a word to describe it. I could just recognise traits and behaviour in others and knew they were operating differently to the norm.
When I first started trying to research intraprenuership a few years ago the challenge I faced (and the reason this blog started) was in finding people who considered themselves intrapreneurs. In my quest I happened upon the remains of Jimmy Hoffa, the lost city of Atlantis and the secret formula for Frosties – all of which were easier to find than people who considered themselves intrapreneurs*
What I found interesting at that time was it was easier to find people who knew people they considered intrapreneurs and it was the recognition and suggestion of others that allowed the individual to even entertain the thought. Even then they were often resistant to the idea that they were operating differently. They often ascribed it to ‘just a project I was given’ or ‘some luck I had in getting it done’. The term is still not widely used or understood, often, it appears to me being used as a derivation of entrepreneur for those who aren’t brave enough to go it alone.
It was therefore with surpise and a smile on my face that I read a post on Sir Richard Branson’s entrepeneurship blog about an awards programme he’s supporting along with Ashoka, an organisation that supports social entrepreneurship and who run the ‘league of intrapreneurs’. You can find more from reading the Virgin blog I read here.
The awards scheme recognised achievement in social intrapreneurship in such large corporates as GSK and Shell and as Branson put it, “Social intrapreneurs are demonstrating to the world how business can be a force for good”. Amen to that!
I love the fact that the opportunity that intrapreneurs offer to organisations is starting to gain more recognition (and let’s face it with Branson attached it’ll get publicity) and that large corporates are seeing these people not as rogues and mavericks but as people who can operate differently to the benefit of the organisation. It’s also great that Virgin are using the fascination in Sir Richard’s entrepeneurial achievements as a way to grow the understanding of intrapreneurship – Bravo!
*I did not actually find any of these things
P.S. Thanks to Rob Harrison for directing me to the blog post