Business Management

Is it possible for a hulking giant to "think like an entrepreneur"?

If there is one thing that gets trotted out with alarming regularity at the moment, it is that people in businesses large and small, ought to be thinking like entrepreneurs. But really, how possible is this in large organisations?

“You are right to ask whether innovation and entrepreneurialism are oxymorons in large businesses,” says James R.F. Berkeley Managing Director at Ellice Consulting Ltd. “Your question is even more insightful when you dig deeper and ask is the activity ‘symbolic’ or ‘meaningful’?”

Berkeley, who has written a paper, ‘The Five Myths of Innovative Entrepreneurs’, based on observations in over 75 businesses seeking profitable growth and expansion adds: “The finance and insurance arena provides wildly contrasting examples.”

He point to the “CEO's of sluggish monoliths” who have set up corporate accelerators and “blather onto analysts about how they are embracing disruptors” but end up with third rate entrepreneurs. He goes on to compare this unfavourably to “the meaningful businesses who are applying digital technologies” to a variety of core issues. Many of these, are of course, new.

This seems to sum up the core challenge of the entrepreneurial spirit in large businesses. It is one thing when the company was recently small and attempts to retain that spirit, but trying to shoehorn innovation into a towering behemoth is another thing entirely.

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