Skip to main content



At October’s Innovation Day, Knowledge Brief welcomed Dr Richard Tunstall, Associate Professor of Enterprise at Leeds University Business School.

If being an entrepreneur (or intrapreneur) were easy, everyone would do it. Instead, we must be realistic and be willing to face certain realities to commit to corporate entrepreneurship.

Current trends in organisational literature suggests that the pace in which business practices are changing and evolving is now quicker than ever. As such we face two choices: innovate or perish. Now more than ever it’s important for organisations to not be complacent and continually assess ways in which they can continue to work towards evolving organisational practices and outputs.

So, what do we do about organisational entrepreneurship?

Get top level support. It is imperative we get those in senior management and board room level positions to see the benefits of engagement in corporate entrepreneurial activities. Entrepreneurship is something that doesn’t just need to be supported, it needs to be ingrained within the fabric of the organisation for it to be successful.

Know your resources and assess your challenges. Establish what will help facilitate entrepreneurial processes within your organisation: this might be something as simple as allocating time or providing “organisational slack” so that employees can engage in creative processes, or it may be perhaps something more ambitious such as finding a team who possesses the skills and psychological capital required to drive forward an entrepreneurial process. Consider also what could restrict key creative processes.

Be prepared to fail. All too often we hear stories of success relating directly to ground-breaking and innovative practices adopted by organisations. What we don’t get to see is the frequent struggles and failures organisations have had to endure to see their visions realised. Take heart (and resilience) from watching creative projects fail and taking ideas back to the drawing board.

Now where do we go from here?

Establish your “why” . Why does your organisation want to engage in corporate entrepreneurship? It is important to clearly document how corporate entrepreneurship will benefit your organisation so that you can help build the levels of commitment required to see these processes through to completion.

Don’t be afraid to “flip the script” . Rather than working in a hierarchical fashion, whereby those within the higher echelons of the organisation make all the key decisions, consider how those operating with various departments and levels of the organisation could bring innovative ideas to the table.

Vision without action is pointless. Develop an entrepreneurial ecosystem in which you can clearly map out and identify who and what is required to bring the vision to life.

Finally, have fun. Corporate entrepreneurship is a creative process and the key to unlocking one’s creative potential exists in our ability to enjoy the process. Be clear in your intentions but don’t be afraid to have fun with the process as well. Fun in the workplace is a key driver of employee engagement and as such could be key in helping to promote future innovation.

These are just some key highlights taken from October’s Innovation Day. Each month, clients of the Innovation Programmes receive a full ACT report, capturing the guest expert’s research, the implications and next steps for leaders to apply back in their team and organisation.

Next month, clients will explore psychoanalytic leadership. For more information, please view the Innovation Day page.

Sources: Tunstall, R. (2018) ‘Develop Organisational Creativity and Entrepreneurship’, KnowledgeBrief Innovation Day Presentation, 10 October.