It’s rare to encounter entrepreneurs in large organisations. More often repelled by the sheer number of rules, procedures, and hierarchies, preferring to work in small, agile firms or to start their own venture. If they do end up in a larger firm, it’s usually due to the young entrepreneur’s belief that it’s better to learn their trade at a big company, so that they can learn from their mistakes before starting their own venture.
These preconceptions harm both entrepreneurs and corporations. Entrepreneurs often miss out on the chance to learn from large organisations, and corporations miss out on the energy, dynamism, and innovation that entrepreneurs create. It means that entrepreneurs lose out on skills, and corporations on profitable new ideas. So that, even though they have the most resources and know-how, groundbreaking ideas are much more likely to come from start-ups.
And, in the face of climate change and the drive to net-zero emissions, being innovative has never been so important. In order to improve their sustainability and meet these new responsibilities, corporations must act now to unleash their entrepreneurial potential.
ICE, jointly founded by Bocconi for Innovation (B4i) and SDA Bocconi, supports companies that want to figure out how to enhance their capability to innovate. By increasing their entrepreneurial energy, firms can harness their employees’ potential, break down inertia within their own firm, and replace passive reaction to market uncertainties with proactive action.
A key characteristic of entrepreneurs is that they act even if the outcomes are uncertain, but often they lack organization. Bureaucrats on the other hand are good at organizing a large number of people that need to work together but hate uncertainty. So the challenge large firms have is to:
(1) hire people with entrepreneurial drive and create a culture that boosts their entrepreneurial energy;
(2) reduce market-related uncertainties with modern market research tools; and
(3) develop administrative processes that reduce uncertainties to the extent that the energy entrepreneurs have to follow-up on their ideas is high enough.
If the market uncertainty (i.e., how will clients react to this?) and firm uncertainty (i.e., how will my colleagues react to this?) are low, managers are more likely to act.
Bocconi for Innovation (B4i)
B4i selects the most innovative ideas and startups with the greatest potential to help them grow and succeed by investing experience, knowledge, time, and resources of the wider Bocconi community.
B4i selects business ideas and startups that propose innovative solutions to real market needs to join its Pre-Acceleration and Acceleration programs.