The idea of corporate entrepreneurship is nothing new. Businesses are not unaware that they have to be constantly innovating to not only keep up with the competition but also to gain a competitive advantage. The next big thing is always out there and the future belongs to the company that finds it. The problem, however, is that the corporate environment itself is one of the biggest inhibiting factors in creating the kind of environment from which the next big thing generally comes. Here are three reasons that corporate entrepreneurship can actually do more to damage a company than help it.
- Entrepreneurs are self-driven and self-motivated
Individuals who are self-driven and self-motivated often struggle with taking direction or having externally imposed demands, constraints and timelines placed upon them. The innate nature of entrepreneurs themselves is generally in conflict with the needs of larger, more structured organizations. The very act of trying to tame an entrepreneur’s nature to fit within the needs of the corporation kills the very same entrepreneurial spirit from which innovation generally springs, yet the very entrepreneurial nature of innovators can also wreak havoc and chaos within the corporate environment if left unchecked.
- Entrepreneurs value risk, corporations value safety
Innovation generally requires taking a certain level of risk that is essentially intolerable to a corporation. This is why startups are almost always naturally lean. The fewer stakeholders an innovator has depending on them, the more risk they can take. By the time large businesses reach the corporate stage, they may have thousands of employees, investors, and stakeholders that all depend on the business to maintaining stability. Once again, the very nature of corporate needs is in direct conflict with those of the entrepreneur.
- Entrepreneurs derive a sense of self-worth from their creation
Entrepreneurs are generally driven to create something or add something of value to the world, but they also view their creation as their creation. Individuals that will not profit substantially from their own inventions or innovations have little incentive to create them in the first place. If an individual believes they have the next million-dollar idea, they are more likely to branch out on their own to develop it than to simply have it swallowed up by a larger corporate entity.