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Impact intrapreneurship

Leveraging the power of large organizations for social innovation

We’ve got a huge challenge around social innovation. If we’re serious about trying to help fix our planet with everything that’s going wrong with it then it’s going to take a lot of effort. More precisely, a lot of innovation. It’s one of the few things around which we can get consensus. Even the Secretary-General of the UN has said we can only hit our Sustainable Development Goals through innovation.

But innovation is not going to happen by accident; it needs change agents — entrepreneurs — who are going to help make the difference. This interview with Heiko Spitzeck who is Professor of Corporate Sustainability at the FDC Business School in Sao Paolo in Brazil looks at a particular kind of social entrepreneur who works in the context of a larger organisation. Leveraging the resources and capabilities of such institutions to help scale innovations for social impact.

It’s not always easy — organizations are built on stability and too much change can feel uncomfortable, even challenging. For all the rhetoric about social responsibility and even with a growing regulatory framework requiring organizations to demonstrate their commitment to environmental and sustainability goals, progress is often slow. It’s going to take plenty of effort and a particularly courageous and resilient kind of individual to help this change of direction — a corporate hero.

Heiko calls them ‘impact intrapreneurs’ and he’s just published an excellent book, ‘The corporate hero’s journey’ in which he looks at the phenomenon and illustrates it with many compelling stories of such individuals.

And a video version on my YouTube channel here

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