The Rise of the Quester Intrapreneur
Quester intrapreneur, n. 1 A person who works inside major corporations or organizations to develop and promote practical solutions to social, ethical, operational or environmental challenges where progress is currently stalled by market and business failures. 2 A person who applies the principles of social entrepreneurship inside a major organization. 3 Someone who strives to deliver meaningful benefits by identifying major systemic problems in their world and challenging the paradigms and mindsets of what is deemed to impossible.
Finding solutions for the world’s most pressing problems has become a source of competitive advantage for leaders with their finger on the pulse of a changing world. Every day outstanding quester entrepreneurs prove that almost no problem is too big to be tackled through innovation and business acumen. Last week I wrote about the exemplary the inspirational Leila Janah in the post Is Leila Janah the most inspirational and exciting leader in the world
Increasingly my research is revealing extraordinary examples abound of quester leaders who through ingenuity, optimism and hard work are developing effective, scalable solutions for a wide range of societal and organisational challenges.
But are quester entrepreneurs only found on the fringes and as leaders of exciting start-ups? We often think of innovators as propellerheads, wide-eyed crazy haired loners, or charismatic entrepreneurs.
The misconception that, thinking differently requires questers to be maverick characters who owe their disruptive creativity to a life lived on the fringe, is far from the truth and the reality of the real world. True questers — the sort who are behind the vast majority of innovations that improve our lives every year — can be found in many of the giant corporations around the world where they choose to make their mark from within. They are integrators, problem solvers and facilitators, for the role of the quester innovator often has the greatest impact when operating within the mainstream.
Questers are a rare but valuable species. They may sit anywhere within corporate structures and are often hard to find. Their ideas are likely to be highly unusual and often appear in conflict with existing business priorities. Yet, this is a species that must be patiently nurtured. The promise for society and opportunity for business makes the task of identifying and supporting quester intrapreneur within large corporations a highly rewarding challenge. Finding, supporting and nurturing your quester intrapreneurs is not only the right thing to do, but it is the smart thing to do.