Three years ago, Forbes published an article suggesting that an award for “Most Valuable Employee 2014” should be given, not to a single individual but, to an emerging business concept: “The Social Intrapreneur”.
Social Intrapreneurs are passionate individuals who aim to convert social problems into business opportunities by acting like entrepreneurs inside their companies to deliver projects which aim to profitably do good.
The piece lauded these “corporate innovators who are taking on initiatives that do well for their companies and also do good for society” and predicted that 2014 would be a “tipping point” for such work. And yet this idea of social intrapreneurship remains largely under the radar and its proponents are relatively scarce.
Despite a marked increase in ideas being put forward by would-be social intrapreneurs for corporate schemes which “profitably-do-good”, there are disappointingly few of these initiatives reaching delivery stage.
We need to work out how to convert this “inspiration” into “implementation”. This is why the Circle of Young Intrapreneurs was created.
Conceived in 2015 by two social intrapreneurs based at Barclays, Tim Heard and David Spears, The Circle of Young Intrapreneurs was launched in January 2016 to inspire, guide, develop & deliver purpose-driven business ideas from young social intrapreneurs inside corporate organisations globally.
We aim to drive positive social change through business by creating a community of change-makers, supporting them with mentoring and advice, encouraging pan-industry collaboration to solve shared societal challenges, and driving advocacy of the intrapreneurial agenda.
By April 2017 we had grown to 2,000 members in over 50 countries, working at over 350 companies worldwide, making us the world’s largest network of Social Intrapreneurs. Co-founders, Tim and David, regularly give presentations on the topic of social intrapreneurship at major global conferences, including One Young World, the premier international forum for young leaders.
We grew so quickly because we can provide people all over the world with the ability to do well and do good. Social Intrapreneurship allows you to do both – to have a successful career and have a positive impact on the world – the two should not be separate. This message resonates most strongly with those in the ‘millennial’ generation which is why we are the Circle of Young Intrapreneurs but, in reality, everyone is welcome!
To meet this demand we launched 10 new global chapters in January – from LA through to Singapore – led by 10 inspiring young leaders and Ashutosh Kumar for Delhi is no exception! India was always one of our key target markets as thinking and practice around innovation and social responsibility are so strong. Indeed – we feel like India might become our key chapter given its rapidly growing economy and incredibly bright, talented, and socially conscious workforce and the fact that the #dowelldogood mentality social intrapreneurship creates can hopefully do 2 things in India:
1. Help thousands of people to find more meaning and purpose in their careers
2. Create projects which aim to help the poorest people, sustainably
When the Circle of Young Intrapreneurs was launched in January, 2016, we thought that it would develop into a useful network for, perhaps, a few dozen people to get together and discuss social intrapreneurship and, by virtue of doing this, assist with the delivery of their own projects which aimed to profitably-do-good. In no way did we think that we would be here, 14 months on, approaching 2000 members in over 50 countries around the world and really helping people find more purpose and meaning in their careers worldwide.
It is clear from this growth rate that Social Intrapreneurship has really struck a chord with, in particular (but not exclusive to!), young professionals the world over by really providing the space between doing well and doing good! The social benefits of each individual project are clear and, indeed, potentially hugely impactful – leveraging the power of big corporations globally to solve social problems could be the transformative social action of our time. We are delighted to welcome India to this movement and excited to see what Ash will achieve as our India Lead.