Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.
As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.
Steve Jobs (Stanford Commencement Address)
For more and more talented professionals who are predestined for a what-used-to-be stellar career, earning money and rising up the career ladder is not enough anymore. They are looking to change something in the world through their job. They want (or need) a career with purpose, with impact, with meaning.
This does not mean that money and professional development are not important. On the contrary, we all want to take care of our families and be able to enjoy the opportunities of our time. However, shouldn’t it be possible to combine the different factors that makes us happy?
For many entrepreneurial individuals working in large organisations, the question “Should I stay or should I go?” often arises. Entrepreneur or intrapreneur? Yes, you do need that entrepreneurial spirit in a culture in which we are encouraged to choose a career based on its ability to provide security and financial stability rather than opportunity for alignment with our passions and dreams.
The prospect of finding fulfilling work is believed to be relegated to the lucky few born with extraordinary talent, wealth or an unusual drive to succeed. This could not be further from the truth. Meaningful work is not just possible, in our opinion it is your birth right.
While following your heart and not settling until you find “your love”, both entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship will give you opportunities to find meaning and purpose, to create positive impact and to innovate. Here are some thoughts and hints around both options.
As an entrepreneur you will value autonomy and speed, making fast decisions and not owing anyone an explanation.
As an intrapreneur, you will enjoy to access to resources that that organisation you work for can offer and if you find that one great idea, scaling it through the massive “organism” can be mind blowing. Which perspective attracts you more at the moment?
In either option, there will be challenges to overcome. As an entrepreneur there will be no structure, support not even a team in the beginning.
In a large organisation, bureaucracy and over-engineered processes and passive individuals can cause great dreams to never become true. What can you deal with better?
Lever of Innovation
As an entrepreneur you will very likely be delivering your vision and impact very directly. As an intrapreneur you will rather be working the lever – navigating a complex system and people to deliver a common goal that you may even seldom see up close. How direct to you want to/can you be?
Whatever path you take, keep exploring, listen to stories and surprise yourself with courage, it will always be worth it.
View our full infographic here for more information on the pathways and preference.
If you live in Switzerland, we are holding a workshop on your Options for a Meaningful Career at Impact Hub Zurich on 17. September, 19:00-21:00. Sign up here.
Impact HUB Geneva, Summer 2014…
… And 70 highly engaged individuals were gathered to better understand what Social Intrapreneurship is and what role they have to play.
The term is becoming more and more familiar in business circles, education and social innovation. But is it just thrown around? What does it mean in practice and reality?
To help embed thinking, active intrapreneurs shared first-hand experience, advising aspiring ones and HR and CSR/Sustainability professionals on how to best go forward and make social intrapreneurship core to business-done-well. Speakers included:
- Joanna Hafenmayer, Managing Director, MyImpact, former intrapreneur at Microsoft, Aspen First Movers Fellow, coach and expert on meaningful careers, fostering Impact Intrapreneurship out of Switzerland and beyond on Tools and opportunities for impact intrapreneurs
You can see some pictures from the session here.
An individual is great, but we need an eco-system
What is becoming very clear is that, as great as an individual can be, it is a whole “ecosystem” that really makes success on a greater scale possible.
It all starts with a long-term outlook or, in fact, with another external trigger such as change in technology or regulation, increased pressure on sustainability issues, new demands or competitors, interest in moving beyond traditional markets,….
Then an intrapreneur comes into play with a set of individual characteristics such as tenacity, creativity and ability to deal with ambiguity.
Only when such an individual is supported by an enabling internal environment such as executive godfathers, development opportunities, resources and trust can his venture thrive. Read more about this here.
External partners such as field-experienced advisors, co-founders of a new venture or even co-creators will play a major role in driving the initial intrapreneurial idea, to become an innovation within the company that will have a lasting impact. Not only on the business, but on society and on all individuals involved in the process.
Who needs to be on board for Intrapreneurs to thrive Source: Heiko Spitzeck – Fundação Dom Cabral
A great example of this type of eco-system was highlighted by Gib Bulloch during his journey as an intrapreneur, heading Accenture Development Partnerships. After 10 years of existence, Accenture Development Partnerships has delivered 640+ projects with 140+ organisations – engaging 1,000+ employees from Accenture in delivering consulting services for the international development sector.
Before that happened, there was an important first step – gathering of a team of individuals with different mind-sets who were motivated by the same goal. Then, engaging the support of top executives within the company to let the idea progress and demonstrate the overall benefits – both in terms of social impact and positive outcomes for the hosting company.
Finally, securing the inputs of external partners – in this particular case, executives from leading international development organizations and private corporations – who helped Accenture Development Partnerships to refine its concept and relevance to their activities.
The future of social intrapreneurs
The diverse participants of the Geneva “Coming out” demonstrated in reality the various roles of the eco-system. This created the perfect opportunity to define specific actions to help foster intrapreneurs acting out of Switzerland. And indeed the world.
- Address the culture of complaining
- Teach and foster design thinking as a business approach
- Find the right people to influence internally and externally
- Collaborate and share skills and experiences to solve problems
- Above all, create strong business cases as core to any successful intrapreneurial venture
The participants felt that the opportunities for co-creation for organizations are necessary and these opportunities are here today, if the right systems are in place to maximise those opportunities.
The future of business?
Social intrapreneurs prototype the way business can be done in the 21st century – with collaboration, empathy and design thinking – and the way real careers can be lived out – combining performance and a sense of meaning.
But helping them develop ‘shared value’ innovations aligning business strategy with societal needs is a shared responsibility. This is the landscape that our speakers were trying to build through tools, programmes and incubators in order to help both intrapreneurial individuals and corporate leaders to see the potential. The stage is clearly open to a wider group of key supporters to define the future of business with social impact, not just adapt it out of necessity.
This post was made possible with a contribution from Lionel Bodin, a senior manager from Accenture Development Partnerships. He drives Accenture’s Social Intrapreneurship initiative supporting the League of Intrapreneurs, the Intrapreneur Labs and helping intrapreneurs within corporations to incubate and accelerate their ideas.Read More