Social X

Monday, February 06, 2017

18:30 - 21:00

On February 6th we explored the “exponential mindset” with John Elkington and guests. We looked at how companies are turning to powerful technologies and business models to tackle social problems, from moonshot targets to the blockchain. It’s a recognition that incrementalism is not cutting the mustard, and that greater ambition is possible.

John explains this mindset in his Breakthrough Business Models report, largely through the lens of Silicon Valley. His carefully selected speakers shared what they are doing in six minutes, before a discussion of the obstacles that lie in the path of exponential thinking and they can be overcome. We heard from;

  • Susanne Stormer of NovoNordisk on how the worlds biggest supplier of insulin has set an ambition to eradicate diabetes
  • Shona Tatchell on how she is developing a blockchain solution to modern slavery from within Barclays
  • Danone’s Corinne Bazina on how its partnership with Grameen Bank has helped to deliver affordable nutrition to the base of the pyramid
  • Charmian Love, on how the B Corp platform is creating a movement of businesses that treat society as a stakeholder.

Many are concerned about the social impact of business and technology, but what if the same power was used by business for the benefit of society? How does that build trust, improve retention and deliver innovation? It was an inspiring, bamboozling and tech-fuelled conversation that may opened our minds to new possibilities.


Charmian Love B Lab UK

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Corinne Bazina danone.communities

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John Elkington Volans

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Shona Tatchell Barclays

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Susanne Stormer Novo Nordisk

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Round Tables

Carbon X

What does exponential change in carbon management look like in 2017, and is there now a business case for extreme reduction? Where does power lie – from pledges to remove carbon, like the RE100, to Science Based Targets to new technologies? Will 2017 be a good vintage?

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- Scientific understanding
- Tech solutions
- Availability of low cost tech and computing power creating connectivity
- Convergence of technologies – solutions driven and cross-sectoral
- Power to new and small organisations
- Allows peer review as a demand tool and to create transparency eg. Airbnb, Uber
- Waste reduction through collaboration
- Sharing data with consumers – enabling more informed and better decisions
- Electric vehicles
- Supply chains
- Supply chain risk as a driver for business
- Labelling and transparency
- Carbon disclosure requirements / records
- Business led changes in emerging markets

- Behaviour change
- Cost of carbon is too low
- Appropriate legislation/regulation is required
- Siloing of innovation
- Lack of incentives
- Lack of focus to date on agriculture and clothing industries

- Divestment eg. pensions and changing investment flows generally
- Jet fuel created by waste carbon monoxide
- Small businesses sharing resources
- Electric Vehicles

Energy X

With an array of new energy management technologies coming to market, it is hard to see how 2017 will not be a breakthrough year. What excites you the most - low power sensors, data platforms, storage, AI, falling prices, new forms of financing…. or something different? What obstacles need to be overcome?  

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Biggest themes: blockchains & distributed energy
Most people at the roundtable were interested in expanding their perspective on innovative tech in the energy efficiency sector to better understand how to adapt going forward (e.g. what business models should corporates adopt to better manage energy)
There is an ensuing “U bend” / tipping point within the current energy market, and people are interested in what's going to cause the shift.

Distributed energy …
- Energy will become distributed; once it can move from being generated to being stored it will change everything. It will become a global fungible commodity.
- Bottlenecks: there needs to be payback / reason to invest and improvement on software (e.g. hardware deployment to create microgrid, software solutions, storing information in Cloud).
- Globally we may be 5 to 10 years away from deployment, but faster regulation means faster adoption.

Blockchain …
- Will blockchains revolutionize energy by creating smart networks and organizations?
- Blockchains allow you to move assets that represent currency, it’s a shared database.
- Blockchains are a new way of doing business. It fundamentally changes the role of the medium, u can automate and write business logic into the system. You can still transact directly, but are removing cost base and now have a barrier to inefficiency. This creates a new space for people to collaborate, by building a top down system with new layers of functionality.
- People are excited about blockchains because u have big digital platforms emerging, and for processes like supply chains which are complex, blockchains can allow you to manage the transfer of value across different organizations.
- Blockchain solves operational efficiency and gives a level of transparency by bringing a shared list into the organization (e.g. whos got what, what’s the current state of activity, etc.).
- In terms of energy, you can put localized energy networks (e.g. microgrids, solar panels) onto a distributed ledger and sell it to your neighbour (i.e. transfer ownership from one person to the other). Also, with demand side response there is one central trading medium, and therefore more access to the market.

Notable obstacles and timely inquiries
- One of the main energy disruption intuitions is that over the next few years the fossil fuel industry will change. The system is already under a huge amount of pressure, tech is evolving more rapidly than government can create regulation, and it seems, there is a dangerous point where u flip from one system into another (perhaps this is the “U Bend”).
- Globally we’re approaching that inflection point and if the current system collapses, and there isn’t a shared desire to push innovation into energy systems, than what will the replacement be?
- Who will invest?
- Innovative business models will come in, however corporates investing in demand side response is difficult in the UK because there isn’t a central market or price discovery.
- Perhaps corporates have to work with competitors who have a different piece of the puzzle.
- Is blockchain more applicable for power or transport? Power markets may need regulation like financial has, in a way it never has before. Perhaps power & transport markets may be the same thing in a few years; blockchain is a new business model and needs collaboration.
- What will cause mass adoption of these technologies? A big crisis, or big corporations and governments adopting and moving innovative tech forward.
- Some innate risks may be that the companies who figure it out will be successful and whoever doesn’t will be challenged. If one corporate, say IBM, gets better at blockchain than everyone
else, then it becomes centralized ... like everything else.

Less of the same

Given the scale of the social and environmental problems we face, now is not the time for more of the same. How does one avoid mimicking others and take real creative risk? Is it right to feel mildly sick with anxiety if one wants to create change? Time to pool your experience and nominate heroes.

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• Most people said they want to get ideas to bring back to their companies to create change and innovation
• Bigger, bolder steps - less of the small cautious steps.
• Things that help people do less of the same deep belief in what they are trying to achieve
o Example of the military in Iraq flipped traditional hierarchy of military on its head and had daily conversations with everyone at the bottom so that information and decisions were disseminated faster and change was actually able to take place
o Example: One very large corporate trying to tackle systemic change in the way they do business – all business orientation is set up top down – this is not a model that is going to work in the future – how to do bottom up across their whole business and still make money? Don’t believe that you chuck away the current model, but try to meet in the middle so that business can continue while you are systemically changing how you do business. They believe that the status quo will not work in 5 to 10 years’ time
• Something about the power that you give to the individual people
• RB is creating innovation pods to help them innovate. These groups aren’t restrained by gross margin goals – they weren’t given a sustainability objective, but all of them are coming back with sustainability objectives. Just saying that you don’t have to worry about your regular ways of working seemed to facilitate a lot of ideas and discussion.
• So often you get the great rousing speech from the CEO, but unless you change their priorities and the way they are evaluated, nothing will actually change
o Incorporate it into people’s KPIs
o The key is how you integrate social and environmental KPIs into business decision making
o You need to have to want to create the outcome that you want rather than just checking a box – you need to get people emotionally engaged and to want to do it
o Make the objectives the employee’s choice – they choose a “passion” objective or a sustainability objective – but they can choose exactly what that objective that is
o Systematic change is very hard to create when there is some kind of cultural aspect that goes against it. Doesn’t happen quickly.
o Moonshot idea can make people start thinking really differently about it - we now have permission to really start thinking differently
• Is there a way to talk about it with the CEOs that doesn’t call it ‘sustainability?’
• CEOs are always worried about new business models disrupting their business how do you talk about sustainability without calling it sustainability
• What about emerging markets? You can’t sell sustainability to them – they have far more base-level needs to worry about first.
o There’s something about asking better questions.
• Have to get better at what sustainability does rather than what sustainability is
• Why aren’t we as society getting on with changing our behavior? It’s really hard for CEOs to rationalize spending money on it if it won’t make them money, i.e. the end consumer must demand it
• The biggest asset a regulator has is access – i.e. I can get a call with any CEO in Scotland. You have to have a relationship with them. You go in and talk about the businesses objectives rather than environmental sustainability. As you grow and develop, how do you include the community in your growth? One of the things a regulator can do is bring the citizens together in that area with the businesses and non-profits.
Sometimes it is very hard for us to understand someone else’s perspective. Is sustainability and environmentalism synonymous with liberalism? What language will bridge that gap with consumers and customers? Need to get away from the far end of the spectrum where we are currently discussing these issues.


Materiality matters in periods of change. Can you identify the 5 core ingredients for a world-class sustainability materiality strategy, from engaging the right stakeholders to communication mediums to frameworks? How can an effective materiality process transform the value of reporting?

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Materiality Roundtable
Materiality matters in periods of change. Can you identify the 5 core ingredients for a world-class sustainability materiality strategy, from engaging the right stakeholders to communication mediums to frameworks? How can an effective materiality process transform the value of reporting?

The Current Situation
- The term materiality is not understood or even used within the wider business environment – it should be seen as a means to drive evidence based change. The term ‘issues heatmap’ was raised as an example of an alternative phrase which seemed to gain traction with one organisations’ senior management.
-It is seen as core to business strategy and the cause of the report, not an afterthought in reporting planning. It has the potential to provide and drive scale and impact.
- For some of the attendees, materiality acted as a core factor for decision-making within the business, used as a tool for tangible sustainable development and other outputs.

What are the core ingredients for a world class sustainability materiality?
-Consider the stakeholders who are identified very carefully. The example of the panel’s Novo Nordisk bringing in Greenpeace to bring different views was called out as particularly bold and important in bringing a balanced outcome. Equally, voices that don’t get heard could be difficult in the longer-term as the strategy is developed.
- The method for engagement must be framed somewhat broadly in a creative way – identification of future megatrends in interactive workshops sets the context for exponential thinking.
- Ensuring there are clear checkmarks/pathways for other parts of the business to use, which stem from the materiality exercise. Creation of a toolkit for brand teams linked to purpose was cited as an example.
- Get the right data – bringing in grounded science helps particularly within energy to provide real substance to the assessment. There is work to be done in understanding the tangible/quantitative impact on the social side. Similarly, understand what existing data is available within the organisation is critical – duplication across departments was cited as a frequent problem in obtaining the right information in a timely manner in mechanisms such as staff surveys.
- Articulation of the agreed materiality aspects is important – for example ambiguous headings such as ‘customer’ require elaboration. For example this could be ‘helping customers live sustainably’.

Other items discussed included:
- The SDGs were also discussed as a means to frame the complete sustainability discussion, with select material topics within this framework to be chosen by individual businesses to lead and innovate on.
- Understanding the key internal socialisation mechanisms were key to gaining internal credibility

The Impacts of Materiality
-Materiality can change the way in which the sustainability team is viewed to give it more business relevance. It can provide credibility backed by evidence which repositions the team alongside commercial teams, to allow more input in to key business decisions.
-Materiality helps provide a clear strategy – it helps provide an answer to the ‘so what?’
-It provides the evidence for courage to drive change on controversial issues
-It helps unlock other and often larger budgets, from other departments such as marketing.

Other items discussed included:
-Having an independent advisory board for validation has value, but only if this is outside the company and is able to control the process and agenda.


Millennials will make up half the global workforce by 2050, and are characterised as “wanting to a desire to affect THEIR cause through YOUR organisation”. How can organisations turn this generation into an asset, and build an environment that attracts Millennials. Is there a connection with exponential change?

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What characterises and motivates Millennials?
• Millennials are more driven by finding purpose in their careers than previous generations.
• Millennials have an affinity with tech and the digital world - this seems to define the generation. They take up developments in tech more quickly than other generations.
• Universities are incorporating SDGs into an increasing number of courses, and as a result students are graduating wanting to find purpose in a career that wouldn’t traditionally attract people with those values.
• This is a generation that have grown up in a more unstable work environment – there is more flexibility and movement in careers. Technology and professional networking sites are driving a culture of ‘job hopping’.
• Millennials have a larger gap between expectations and reality which is driven by social media.
• They are growing up in a society where businesses are being vocal about corporate social responsibility and the barriers between business and society are being broken down.
• There seems to be a difference in millennials that joined the workforce before and after the 2008 crisis. They are using different business language and approaches.
• Does millennial enthusiasm for change and purpose only set them apart from other generations at a young age because the horizon or what is possible has moved so far for this generation?
• We need to be aware that there is a risk that we over categorise millennials and make too many assumptions about their motivations and drivers. Is there a values-action gap with the millennial generation?

How can organisations turn this generation into an asset, and build an environment that attracts millennials?
• Millennials are receiving 7-10 times more information than previous generations, a huge opportunity for companies to engage with them more.
• A number of people are transferring from the private sector to social enterprises and NGOs. Some corporates are responding well to this by incorporating purpose into their mission effectively. Any business has the potential to provide purpose. It is more challenging in some industries, but still possible.
• Businesses need to react to this trend of needing to find career purpose, or they risk struggling to attract and retain talent. Millennials have more challenging needs and feel a need to stretch themselves – they have a higher expectation of the value that work can deliver. Talent will move to where it feels most enriched.
• With millennials less likely to stay loyal to an organisation, organisations cannot react to this by failing to invest in their staff, as this will drive talent away more quickly.
• Work life balance is more of a porous wall to the millennial generation than their parents’ generation. Organisations can build an environment that attracts millennials by creating a culture where an employee can bring their full personality to work and recognise that workplace innovation is often inspired by interests outside of the workplace. Organisations need to ensure they give staff channels for their ideas to be heard.
• Millennials seem to be selfish in business – they want to be ‘rock stars’ in their own careers. For this reason an intergenerational workforce is important to run a successful team.
• Many workplaces have an ‘institutionalised’ workforce, so millennials can inject much needed social and environmental values.
Is there a connection with exponential change?
• The millennial generation are under pressure to drive and lead exponential leaps towards finding solutions to environmental challenges. However all generations have equal access to information on climate change, so we all need to take responsibility.
• There is concern that there are such a large number of significant global and local challenges to fix that millennials are finding it overwhelming. Do we have a generation modelling themselves on role models such as the ‘heroes’ of the tech world? Perhaps we need to redefine what success looks like.

The millennial generation are core to organisations achieving environmental and social goals. While millennials are showing an eagerness for confronting social and environmental injustices, this seems to be reflective of society as a whole rather than unique to this generation – millennials are the putty that business and society have shaped.


2016 saw many companies start to think about modern slavery in their supply chains, driven by Modern Slavery Act in the UK.  What are the lessons learned from complying with the legislation, and what does leadership look like on slavery? Could technology deliver exponential change?

Social X

John Elkington is calling for business to shift from incremental to exponential mindset to tackle social and environmental challenges. After hearing from him and his panellists, what strikes you about this call? What are the obstacles that need to be overcome, and how can we make progress?

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What does it mean? Are there real examples?
o A good example is the eradication of slavery in the US – started with incremental change in one state as the catalyst and then uptake accelerated more broadly until issue addressed
o Domino effect: may start off small and eventually takes off exponentially
o An exponential solution could fix a broken system – it’s about the transition rather than only focused on long term. It could be as simple as re-skilling and retraining in the short term to mitigate a potential issue in the future

What does the enabling environment look like?
o Coalition of companies to solve challenges together
o Multiple tools and channels required to tackle an issue – sometimes a catalyst is all that is needed
o Culture and environment is key – solutions or innovations need to be nurtured for others to build on it. Quickest way to get something used, tested and improved is through ‘open source’
o Employ someone from cross-sector to fundamentally change thinking and approach and transform traditional way of doing things by asking different questions. It needs to be embedded in company culture otherwise a barrier and can be soul destroying
o Innovation labs and incubators are useful. Not currently being used in the best way, as nothing has come out of these as yet. This is not just a sustainability problem, it is innovation in general. How labs work and its core focus is what needs to be addressed!
o McKinsey model - Enduring Ideas: The three horizons of growth There is currently lots of investment from business for ideas in phase 1: beta testing and phase 3: supporting developed ideas. What requires more investment is phase 2, to develop and scale incremental innovation throughout the product line
o Crowdfunding model: taking small scale ideas to the next phase. An example is mentoring small companies how use resources more efficiently to develop their social enterprise. Failure is not as bad as still very low risk. Innovation requires a laddering approach. A similar platform is Tesco’s ‘BACKIT’
o Companies can spread their bets and use corporate venture capital to invest in corporate funds across several initiatives. For example:
♣ invest in competitors that could shake up the industry
♣ invest in or partner with someone that already doing it better
♣ invest internally in an incubator or lab internally
o Track what disrupting companies are doing? Use that and apply to own scenario. Needs to be aligned to business priorities, and only if relevant!
o Accept that there may be a loss of revenue as a result of solving problems. Companies have to be flexible and constantly look at ways to evolve. Keep up with change or will become redundant
o Not possible to be a centralized power forever. An innovative idea may disrupt a particular industry, but if you don’t do it, someone else will. Rather be the leader that is associated or has sponsored it, than shooting oneself in the foot
o Consider what industry will look like in 10 years. Companies not thinking long term – often it is only a quarterly view. Need to ask the right questions to get people to think about these things

o Have to really understand the challenge or solution. If don’t know what it is, it is not possible to make it exponential
o Business culture needs to be tolerant of risk and comfortable to not make a return straight away as some big risks will need to be taken
o Due to complex nature of challenges, the solution could also result in a negative social impact. Example: automation resulting in job loss. Have to be really careful of the trade-offs
o Competition law can be a barrier and hinder innovation. When collaborating with competitors, law and regulation only allows one to get to a certain level, but can only get so far. A new legal structure is required

Final thoughts:
o Exponential thinking has a long way to go
o It only takes a few people to realize they have a choice. Need to change behavior for a societal shift to take place.
Baby boomers are potentially a barrier to the way business operates. The millennials have the power of change, as they naturally think differently

Systems change

The idea that a company should seek to change the system is fresh thinking, with a number of leading companies exploring it. What examples of system change inspire you, from joining movements such as the RE100 or B Corps, to lobbying for positive policy change? Should this be seen as a high-risk activity?

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Starter Questions:
What examples of systems change inspire you?
Should this be seen as a high risk activity?
How do we define systems change?
What is systemic change and what is incremental?
How do we define “system”?
Where can you accelerate change?

Initial feedback is that we rarely see examples of system change. We might see incremental change in consumer goods like brand Splosh that produces concentrated cleaning products with reusable packaging. This is not always aligned with consumer behavior. For instance, consumers tend to prefer a larger product. We see that functions can start to change, but there is a need for consumer education.

Asking managers to change business models will not always be received well. So what about starting with building blocks? Some companies have been collaborating with competitors on shared issues (e.g. management consulting firms and Unilever). This has been encouraged with the sustainable development goals. This is also not systemic change, but it is incremental action that leads to a new dynamic.

The most effective drivers of system change include: taxation, financial penalty, risk, and leadership. Inspirational leadership only goes so far, and we should think more about psychology and organizational behavior. If we were to implement more rigorous hiring processes for people with broader skills, we might get cross functional thinking within an organization. At the same time, we shouldn’t underestimate the power of peer pressure; we can already see that Davos leaders are affecting each other. In terms of government intervention to drive change, governments should recognize their responsibility to tax harmful activities like overconsumption of meat and needless waste. For example, France has encouraged systems change on an environmental front.

Uber was given as an example of a real systems change that met a consumer need. In the future, we might expect Blockchain to have similarly disruptive effects on the banking industry. Further examples within technology were given such as mobile technology leveling the playing field of access to information and giganomics allowing companies to benefit from cost effective labour as required. We should be careful of the disappointment that this kind of change can bring, such as job displacement due to driverless cars. We need to ensure that there is a system in place that can retrain those who are forced out of jobs.

In making the circular economy a success, we, similarly, need to meet consumer needs and engage their support. For example, ocean plastics are now being recycled and turned into premium products with high demand. Another example was given about startups that are trying to democratize energy. Individuals can be suppliers and consumers in their community’s energy market using microgrids, solar tiles, and batteries. This gives consumers the ability to own part of the energy market and feel some sort of control over it. If this is a scalable option, it would represent systems change.

Concerns were also voiced about how change may only be viable in smaller organisations. We might draw parallels to the current systems of politics, which is not inspirational for people who want to make real change. We need to get better people in government and have an open conversation between society and corporations. Perhaps Brexit will allow us this flexibility, but the impact will only be made at the community level, so we need to ensure good delivery at this point.

The Intrapreneur

Some argue it is hard for an individual to change an organisation from within, whilst others believe it is only individuals that create change. Where are you on this? How can an organisation empower social intrapreneurs, and can you identify 5 effective levers that an intrapreneur can pull?

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Roundtable participants agreed that sustainability needs to become everyone’s business and needs to be part of conversations. Intrapreneurs can help illustrate the value that sustainability can bring to creating successful solutions. Four effective levers that an intrapreneur can pull were identified:
1. Cost/profit motivation
a. A company always cares about the bottom line and a powerful business case that shows potential cost savings or profit gains will get the attention of senior management.

2. Leadership and reputation
a. Sustainability should not be a tick box exercise. Setting ambitious targets in conjunction with purchasing strategies can out a company in a leadership position, enhance its reputation (internally and externally) and attract investment.
b. Sustainability = long-term thinking. Long term thinking helps to identify risk from short term-actions and can protect a company from future reputational losses.

3. Create a powerful problem statement
a. An intrapreneur may want to take the initiative to speak out, raise a problem and present a solution. Showing confidence and passion for the solution can help gain attention from leadership. What if they still don’t listen? Seek a senior staff member as a sponsor.
b. A company may wish to put out a problem statement to its employees, looking for passionate intrapreneurs that suggest a solution that is scalable and has monetary benefits to create exponential growth.

4. Pilot study/guerilla action
a. A pilot study can help show the business case for the solution/project
b. Gaining internal buy-in from colleagues who support the idea can create a more impactful impression on leadership.
Round table participants recognized that intrapeneurship can mean cultural change, which can be particularly hard to instill in companies that tend to be resistant to change. However, fostering intrapreneurs can have a range of benefits from employee engagement and retention to creating new successful business ventures.

Finally, a few strategies that help roundtable participants to develop ideas and solutions:
• Mind maps – start with a blank sheet and visualize idesas. You can work alone or as a team.
• Use your network – discuss problems or ideas with people from different departments or backgrounds to get different feedback and insights. Don’t always go for the most obvious discussion partners. Google documents can be used to share ideas online.
• Creative writing – write a fictional story, from start to ending, to help determine where to start and shape the desired outcome.
• Start with an existent similar idea and shape it to form and improve your own idea.


An intrapreneur is a relatively new word and concept, understood as an entrepreneur creating change from within an established organization. Jim’s opening prompt on the Paris Agreement blog post detailing five ingredients to foster change:
1. Determine a common goal that’s deeply rooted in shared values
2. Gather not only those who are necessary but also those who are helpful
3. Connect the dots and strive for ‘radical collaboration’
4. Build trust by embracing distrust and giving space
5. Have stubborn optimism

How applicable is the Paris Agreement approach within the commercial context? Can too many actors get too complicated? Can businesses discuss a shared morality?
• Change in the context of the Paris Agreement and businesses cannot be drastically different; there is an underlying human motivation that pushes people to jump in and act.

• Stakeholder mapping of both formal and informal hierarchies.
• Individuals will need to take risks, especially at the early stage. Someone who is fed up with the status quo to start something and get some initial results. Only then can the intrapreneur bring up the initial proof to show the senior management at a business.
• Intrapreneurs need space to make mistakes. But that’s not the mindset that organizations have
• Even if an intrapreneur’s initiative fails, the dialog that has taken place creates momentum
for the next intrapreneur to re-open the discussion. For instance, at Accenture’s employee engagement program, a staff member’s attempt to re-open a past discussion on serving vegetarian options certain days of the week led to eco-Olympics.
• Workshops: some organizations have formal workshops put in place to generate ideas. When senior management takes on these ideas, things get done out of these workshops.
• Example of Google’s 20% permission, which does not always get used by employees but the 20% time allowance gives a sense of continual employee permission to engage in change initiatives. Anyone can be doing anything anytime.
• Time is the most crucial ingredient at least at the early stage. Intrapreneurs take it upon themselves to work over-time to start change. Being able to imagine something outside of your current reality demand’s an intrapreneur’s time.
• In addition to time, an intrapreneur needs confidence to demonstrate a project’s value to someone else.
• Relationships: Intrapreneurs create a variety of relationships within the power structure, and that’s how ideas take into action. Teams that did not talk to each other before start talking and can start implementing things.
• In short, a broader organizational culture with a shared sense of morality ingrained within the culture helps intrapreneurs.
• Additionally, systematic surveys can help identify gaps for an intrapreneur. A company’s CSR activities are often so decentralized that no one in the organization knows the real extent of work being done.
• Intrapreneurs also need ambition. Steve Jobs’ example of setting aside a task force to develop Mckintosh. Example of Jeff Bezos as someone who must have had a bigger vision than being an online book rental. Similarly, when it comes to social problems, it is important for the intrapreneur to have a bigger goal / vision. Long term impact that can be brought to the organization.
• Change demands an internal driving force on the part of the intrapreneur, for him/her to do overtime work, outside of the confines of annual performance reviews.
• Intrapreneurs need both a social vision and a skill for communicating the economic impact to the management in a compelling way. Present financial return and social / environment impact together.
• Even if an organization has a social mission statement, it’s important to know how much of it gets implement. Role of the intrapreneur is to drive this mission.
• Contingency plans are needed. An intrapreneur needs to have a contingency plan ready to respond to any failure and communicate learnings to stakeholders.
• More importantly, we need to nurture other intrapreneurs when we see them. It’s important to reach out and offer support to them.
• Design signals to welcome intrapreneurs. Having a workshop is a signal. Not to be told to get back to your day job is a signal.
• Strip away unnecessary paperwork by instilling an agile structure. For instance, an entrepreneurial CEO that has set up an agricultural impact fund opts for a lean structure with only three senior executives to oversee the fund and sign off on approvals.
• Remember that intrapreneurship is a long-haul game. Example of Ignite (under Centrica), a social impact investment fund on energy social enterprises. Ignite provides both funding and strategic mentorship / long-term relationship to funding recipients. Sometimes, what comes out of Ignite have a direct benefit on Centrica but at other times, the benefit is a long- haul game.

- Cultural challenge: the bigger you get, the more risk-averse you become.
- In Barclay’s case (presented), there exists a structure for intrapreneurs to start an initiative,
but in most organizations, there is politics that intrapreneurs have to navigate.
- When benefits are long-term, how does an intrapreneur shift the culture of the organization
to view the benefits long-term?
- Senior buy-in is crucial for intrapreneurs to thrive.
- One way to create change is to have an individual strategy to climb up the corporate ladder
and then make changes as a senior manager.

Venue Detail


Skills Matter, 10 South Place, London, EC2M 7EB


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