DOES "INTRAPRENEURISM" OFFER THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS?
If the entrepreneurial spirit is coursing through your veins, but a desire to leap from the mother ship is not, there is a win-win scenario. In a recent op-ed entitled "Intrapreneurs: Building for the Future," Virgin head honcho Richard Branson called for his fellow empire builders to "nurture a breed of intrapreneurs"—employees given the freedom and resources to operate like entrepreneurs on company time. "What if," he mused, "CEO stood for 'chief enabling officer'?" Some corporate overseers are already following in the nimble footsteps of Google, which encourages employees to spend 20 percent of their workweek on pet projects, with pretty good results: Gmail, Google News, AdSense (no wonder Twitter has aped the project). Says William Aulet, managing director of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, "The most effective companies are harnessing the innovation of entrepreneurial ventures and incorporating that into their corporate strategies." So now ambitious workers at Qualcomm can polish their applications for VentureFest, an in-house start-up incubator, while Procter & Gamble has a policy of "open innovation," wherein the company solicits business plans from the public and shepherds the best ideas to market. Glow-in-the-dark toilet paper, anyone? - Laurence Lowe