I Am a Social Intrapreneur - By Ashley Jablow

Ashley Jablow is community manager at OpenIDEO, a social innovation platform where people design better, together. You can reach Ashley on Twitter (@AshleyJablow) or via her blog, The Changebase.
May 31, 2011 3:40 PM ET

I Am a Social Intrapreneur

When you’re looking for CSR work, there’s a very clear mantra that everyone repeats, day in and day out. It goes something like this:

“Real CSR jobs are few and far between. If you want to do CSR, go get a functional job within a big company and innovate from the inside out.”

In social change circles, this mantra could also be called social intrapreneurship. Unlike social entrepreneurship, where you’re starting something completely new and distinct, social intrapreneurship is all about finding ways to innovate within the constraints of your current organization.

For instance, if you’re an operations social intrapreneur, you might be on the lookout for ways to streamline your supply chain so as to reduce environmental inefficiencies, but that doesn’t mean that your job title has the word ’sustainability’ in it. Similarly, if you’re a marketing social intrapreneur, you might find an opportunity to promote the green benefits of your product, even if it’s not an explicitly eco-friendly item. This, at its core, is what social intrapreneurship is all about.

I learned this “innovate from the inside out” mantra early in grad school, which means that while I was a student, social intrapreneurship was often on my mind and in my blog (check out some stories I wrote about Best Buy and eBay as well as a short video interview I gave about it!).

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