Fairer Economies

So you want to be a social intrapreneur? Here are 5 tips

Social intrapreneurs want to build change from within an organization.

Social intrapreneurs want to build change from within an organization. Image: Unsplash/Marvin Meyer

Pavitra Raja
Programme and Engagement Lead, Europe and Americas - Schwab Foundation, World Economic Forum
Alexander Court
Marketing Communications Lead, World Economic Forum
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Fairer Economies?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Entrepreneurship is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Fairer Economies

Listen to the article

  • A social intrapreneur is someone who behaves like a social entrepreneur, but while working within an large organization.
  • Social intrapreneurs are ambitious workers who want to leverage their company's resources to create positive impact.
  • Two Let's Fix It podcast guests – Sam McCracken and Jonathan Wong – outline their top tips for social intrapreneurs.
  • Subscribe to the podcast on any platform here. Visit the show page on our website: https://www.weforum.org/podcasts/lets-fix-it.

Have you wondered how you can create change from within your organization? Then you might be a budding social intrapreneur.

A social 'intrapreneur' is someone who behaves like a social entrepreneur, while working within a large organization. Social intrapreneurs are ambitious employees who want to leverage their firm’s resources to create positive social and environmental impact.

Have you read?

In the new episode of Let’s Fix It, we spoke to two leading social intrapreneurs: Sam McCracken, General Manager at Nike N7, and Jonathan Wong, Chief of Technology and Innovation at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

If you are a social intrapreneur, or want to become one, here are their top tips:

1. Figure out what you’re good at

When you talk about my journey and how I ended up here, it was about working out what you’re good at. I have several failed entrepreneurial ventures, but what I quickly realized was that I was actually quite good at working in bigger organizations and driving change.

Jonathan Wong, Chief of Technology and Innovation at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

2. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but have a bigger picture in mind

I've never had a career path in mind. I've worked for NGOs, and I've worked in the private sector (currently at the United Nations). I've always believed in the need to reshape the economy to better serve people and planet. And that's always been the theme throughout all the organizations I've worked for.

Jonathan Wong, Chief of Technology and Innovation at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

3. Have strategic patience

There is a sense of impatience to solve big, complex, global problems quickly – however, in order to create systemic solutions, you often need to have “strategic patience”.

4. Build trust with your audience

One key ingredient that an individual needs to build trust, is to be who they are. If you talk to anyone who knows me they know who Sam McCracken is – they know who I am, they know what I represent and they know my core values.

Sam McCracken, General Manager at Nike N7
Discover

What is the Global Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship?

5. Just do it

To be a corporate social intrapreneur, you need to add value to the business. I wrote a one-page business plan and presented it to my superiors at Nike. I'm a blue-collar guy that rolled up his sleeves and did what needed to be done.

Sam McCracken, General Manager at Nike N7

And finally, be humble:

“The secret sauce to success is being humble and bringing people along on your journey,” McCracken says. Wong concludes: “You have to be ambitious. You have to be fearless. You also have to be very humble”.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Fairer EconomiesEntrepreneurship
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Are global value chains leaving Indonesian SMEs behind?

Arip Tirta and Prasanti W. Sarli

February 20, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum