Recently I read with interest this article by Leanne Kemp, QLDS Chief Entrepreneur entitled Every Company Needs a Chief Entrepreneur.
I LOVED the core message – that organisations need a dedicated C-Suite executive responsible for focussing specifically on the future of the company. Here is a brief extract explaining why – but please click through and read the full article. Well worth a few minutes of your time.
I believe that CEOs need a partner for innovation inside their companies, someone who will create and defend processes, incentives and metrics, which encourage radical ideas and find new areas for growth. It’s an executive who can help large companies reinvent themselves while they’re still successful. And this new role needs to sit in the C-suite.
You could call this person the Chief Entrepreneur (CE) — someone who can lead the future of the company while the CEO takes care of running the existing business. This is a huge divergence from the traditional norm for chief roles, but the CE is a necessary position of power to ensure that a company innovates.
Now more than ever, businesses need a CE who will build the future. The CE will be responsible for managing a portfolio of entrepreneurs who experiment with new business models and value propositions.”
This makes absolute sense to me! It means that innovation (in particular disruptive innovation) becomes a systematic and supported activity within the organisation. It is particularly important at a time like this when it is very tempting for organisations to delay or cancel innovation projects – which many organisations have done. Research from Europe reported earlier this month in Sifted showed the number of CEOs who planned to NOT invest in innovation more than tripled over the last couple of months. This is despite the fact that all the historical data shows unequivocally that organisations that invest in innovation during a downturn, emerged much stronger than rivals. A CE would help keep organisations on track.
Of course, the relationship between CEO and CE would need to be managed very carefully – as do all C-suite relationships. And appointing a CE will ideally be completely complementary with fostering a culture of empowerment and creativity. Internal entrepreneurs are by definition INTRAPRENEURS – those enterprising individuals who choose to deploy their entrepreneurial talent WITHIN the organisation. They are those supremely valuable employees who spot opportunities for innovation, solve problems, garner support and find ways of navigating internal barriers in order to implement worthy ideas. A CE could provide ‘cover’ so to speak for the innovators and intrapreneurs in the organisation and provide some ‘inoculation’ against the ‘corporate immune system’.
Intrapreneurialism Is About to Go Mainstream
As someone who has been advocating for, as well as running intrapreneurialism programs in both public and private sector organisations for many years I was delighted to see this article. You see intrapreneurialism is still largely a ‘fringe’ activity in most organisations. Having a powerful advocate for it would address that. When I see leaders like Leanne calling for the dedicated position of Chief Entrepreneur to lead intrapreneurial activity – I realise that the concept of intrapreneurship is about to go mainstream. Rather than intrapreneurship programs and support for intrapreneurs being in the minority of companies who are early adopters – we are now entering the time of the early majority.
Covid-19 has accelerated innovation.
Over the last few months, we have learnt to adapt – to think differently, do differently, work differently. We’ve learnt to use new technologies and communication tools to work from home and connect with team members, stakeholders and our wider network. We’ve learnt many things we otherwise wouldn’t have. We’ve challenged ourselves to make on-line gatherings and meetings interesting and engaging. We’ve joined on-line communities, educated ourselves with on-line courses and connected with people around the world. We’ve taken multi-tasking to new heights turning our homes simultaneously into offices, classrooms, businesses and quarantine wards. It certainly hasn’t been easy but we’ve figured it out along the way. The situation we were thrust into gave us a compelling reason to galvanise our creative problem-solving.
As we come out of lockdown, businesses and organisations both large and small, are taking the opportunity to reimagine their future and reset strategy. I’m one of them. I’m now delivering my programs virtually and will continue to do that with a hybrid model after we emerge from lockdown into a world that has permanently and radically shifted. Intrapreneurship and innovation will be front and centre in our ‘next normal’.
The research shows that the return on investment in disruptive innovation is over 70%. So, it makes sense to have a Chief Entrepreneur or Chief Intrapreneur in the C-Suite supporting this essential activity that could determine the future of the organisation. The good news is that there are some powerful next-gen tech tools like Swarm Vision emerging to help organisations achieve high ROI on their innovation efforts.
PS. If you read my newsletter last week, you’ll know that it was co-authored with one of my long-time subscribers. It has been extremely well received and from my perspective, (and Brett’s too I think) the collaboration was a wonderful experience. So, I am putting the call out to everyone. If you have a powerful idea or story you’d like to share with others, reach out to me and we can do something together.
Join the Global Intrapreneurs Institute to build your skills as an intrapreneur, hear from global thought leaders every month and position yourself for the future. Join us while we are still in Beta mode (till June 30) to become a FOUNDING MEMBER.
Every month we have a global industry leader run a masterclass with our members. This month, we are hosting one of the global gurus from the world of HR – JIM LINK. Jim is the head of HR for Randstad, North America – one of the leading recruitment firms in the world. In his role as Chief Human Resources Officer, Jim oversees Randstad’s human capital strategy and manages the company’s HR initiatives for over 125,000 employees. He has been named HR executive of the year in the American business awards and is a regular contributor to Forbes, Intrapreneur Magazine and other high-profile publications.
These monthly masterclasses are absolute GOLD. Our members say that just one of them is worth the entire cost of annual membership ($97 for the year!) – and we have them EVERY MONTH. There are heaps of other benefits too – check out the website and join us.
I am very proud to have partnered with Silicon Valley tech firm Swarm Vision to bring their powerful tool to Australia. Swarm conducted the world’s largest study of serial, successful innovators.
Then built a SAAS platform to drive top-line growth in organisations. This is how:
- Identifying innovation talent inside the workforce or candidate pool
- Organizing people into stronger teams
- Up-skilling them 10-20% in 8 weeks
- Driving a culture that retains and leverages innovation talent.
Build your organisation’s innovation capacity right now when it is needed the most! Uncover the hidden innovation talent in your workforce and harness it to skyrocket team effectiveness, create new products and transform customer experience through innovation. The tool is currently being used around the world to transform organisations in both the private AND public sector. Visit Swarm Vision or reach out to me if you’d like to know more.