Meeting the Challenge of Corporate Entrepreneurship

Meeting the Challenge of Corporate Entrepreneurship

Publication Date: October 01, 2006

This article includes a one-page preview that quickly summarizes the key ideas and provides an overview of how the concepts work in practice along with suggestions for further reading.To be competitive, companies must grow innovative new businesses. Corporate entrepreneurship, however, isn’t easy. New ventures face innumerable barriers and seldom mesh smoothly with well-established systems, processes, and cultures. Nonetheless, success requires a balance of old and new organizational traits–and unless companies keep those opposing forces in equilibrium, their new businesses will flounder. The authors describe the challenges companies face when they pursue new businesses, as well as the usual problematic responses to those challenges. Such companies, they say, must perform three balancing acts: 1) Develop strategy by trial and error, which includes narrowing potential choices, learning from small samples, using prototypes to test business models, tracking progress through nonfinancial measures, and knowing how and when to pull the plug on a new venture; 2) Find the best combination of old and new operational processes by staffing new ventures with “mature turks,” changing veterans’ thinking, knowing which capabilities to develop and which to acquire, and having old and new businesses share responsibility for operating decisions; 3. Strike the right balance of integration and autonomy by assigning both corporate and operating sponsors to new ventures, establishing criteria for handoffs to existing divisions, and using creative organizational structures. The authors provide a detailed look at IBM’s Emerging Business Opportunity system, which manages all these balancing acts simultaneously.

Pages: 20

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Meeting the Challenge of Corporate Entrepreneurship

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