Innovation, Sustainability
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Social Intrapreneurship : Where Business meets Society

What is the best thing to do on a Saturday morning? Learning, growing and expanding our horizon!

The first class of the Apprenticeship colloquium was about understanding how we can maximize social impact within the structure of an already existing organisation. I was curious about this class, and ready to let it challenge my own assumptions. I have always craved freedom, and as a result, have been frustrated by big organisations as I saw processes and rules as a constraint and a killer of creativity. For years, I have been dreaming of creating my own venture, a small enterprise, in order to conduct the impact I wanted to see in this world. To me, that was the only way.

I was surprised that social intrapreneurship resonated within me. However, it shouldn’t have been so surprising. It was an interesting conversation, as we revisited ideas I am a preacher in; the need to realign business and society, often seen as conflicting entities. Business needs society, as much as society needs business. They operate in the same ecosystems, and it is deeply reductive to believe that business is the mean uncle everyone is scared of and that the social sector is the hippie cousin no one takes seriously.  can only hinder development.

Business should aspire to be best for the world, not best in the world. That is why I see the great value of social intrapreneurship. Social intrapreneurs are hybrid individuals and their power lies in their ability to operate and innovate within an existing structure, with existing resources, in order to make a change. If a business really takes societal challenges seriously, and choose to integrate them into its strategy, the impact can be amazing. I am not talking about philanthropy or CSR, which are important tools of social change but not powerful enough. Danone is one of those forward thinking companies that reshaped its strategy around sustainable development in choosing to go beyond CSR by implementing innovative business models that generate social and environmental value in a financially sustainable way.

As a result, when It comes to making the world a better place, business should not only be seen as an evil perpetrator, causing inequalities. Instead, we must remind ourselves that business is a big part of the solution. Contributing to changing the world should be the right thing to do, but if this is not enough, caring about social and environmental issues is also good business. These challenges can deeply impact a company but they also represent some of the biggest untapped market opportunities.

As part of this course, we will have the opportunity to play the role of social intrapreneurs for four months. The idea is to drive change in the organisation we are currently working for. I work for a solar company that has already a great impact. For this project, I would like to focus on the organisational structure of my company and create a culture of innovation. I believe that employees are the key resources of any organisation and have the ability to bring great solutions to the challenges we want to solve, but this potential is often overlooked. I believe that involving employees from different departments in the process of innovation and product development can bring unique ideas and increase productivity.

Let’s see if I am right!

On the Side: Otis Redding – A Change is Gonna Come 

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