All hail corporate innovators

Some might become household names and have movies made about them, but the harsh reality for most entrepreneurs is that their business ventures will fail. So says Scott Anthony, leader of Innosight’s Asian operations, in a call to arms for corporate innovators. “If you ask twenty-somethings where they could go to have an impact, they will tell you a start-up,” Anthony says. “They have read the stories of Andrew Mason from Groupon and Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook, peers who have created billions of dollars in value. Joining a faceless corporation manned by drones? Not so sexy.” Yet it’s these “quiet” corporate innovators who have the opportunity and the resources to tackle society’s big issues. “Doing so isn’t charity — it’s good business,” Anthony adds. “The right combination of words and actions could make corporation innovation the most sought-after job for anyone looking to have impact on the world.” In the end, globalisation and the increasing connectivity of business may make the whole start-up-big corporate debate irrelevant, suggests LinkedIn founder, Reid Hoffmann. In fast-changing, complex environments, all successful executives need elements of the “entrepreneurial mindset”, he says, the ability to thrive in ambiguity and to tap or build networks to share knowledge, information and resources. “It doesn’t mean everybody’s going to start a company,” Hoffmann says. The competitive advantage: “assembling the network around the idea”.


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