We talk a lot about corporate entrepreneurship – how to stimulate entrepreneurship in the corporation, how to unleash that hidden and pent up entrepreneurship capability that is locked up somewhere in our organisation. I know it is there, I just do…….if we only we unlocked the capability…..
But maybe the idea of a corporate entrepreneur is absurd. Think about it. Entrepreneurship is about thinking outside of the box, speed, agility, lack of constraints, innovation, empowerment, execution. Does that sound like your organisation?
Last week I attended the Kellogg Innovation Network in San Francisco. It was an excellent two days. Outstanding to be honest. Run by Professor Rob Wolcott from Kellogg. And there was a panel of entrepreneurs talking about their experience of being entrepreneurial in the corporation – how they did it, what they thought was the secret sauce of success, etc etc. But not one of them is still within a corporation – they had all left to pursue interests back in “start up land”. So how come?
My theory goes something like this. Real entrepreneurs join a corporation for one reason or another, but very quickly either lose their entrepreneurial flair (it gets whittled away) or they leave. So you have a bunch of people who are entrepreneurial joining, or leaving, at any one time. Real entrepreneurs do not stay in a corporation. They just don’t.
And what about those in the corporation who say they are entrepreneurial, and want to unleash their entrepreneurial flair if only the corporation would let them? My hypothesis? They are just bored!