Summertime: Take a Breather with a Quartet of Social Intrapreneurs


By Lionel Bodin, Senior Manager, Accenture Development Partnerships

It all started with four hands on a piano. I met Melody McLaren, an Associate at the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility in London, during a duet we improvised based on Charlie Parker’s “Now’s the Time”. OK, I doubt we would have rocked the charts with our recording, but our interests in jazz sparked off a debate on the parallels between good jazz musicians and another thing we are both fascinated by: social intrapreneurialism.

Fast forward to last month and Melody was presenting a book with her Doughty Centre colleagues, David Grayson and Heiko Spitzeck, drawing on more than five years of research and interviews. I love the title: “Social Intrapreneurism and all that Jazz”.

David Grayson, from the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility, frames the definition of Social Intrapreneurs and gives examples of the behavior of these individuals, who often “act under the radar” or “moonlight.” Jo da Silva, executive director of Arup International Development reflects on her personal journey as an intrapreneur within Arup and opens the discussion to what she calls the “Economy of Enough.” Gib Bulloch, executive director of Accenture Development Partnerships, shares his perspectives on the convergence between private, public and nonprofit sectors, and how Social Intrapreneurship initiatives can infuse into the main bloodstream of corporations. And Melody underlines her passion for jazz by illustrating the parallels between jazz leaders and intrapreneurs with some fascinating stories and anecdotes. All of these exchanges were facilitated by Jon Sopel who reveals himself to be a fabulous improvisator during this session.

I hope you find it interesting and, of course, we’d love to hear your insights.

Lionel Bodin is a senior manager from Accenture Development Partnerships. He drives Accenture's Social Intrapreneurship initiative supporting the League of Intrapreneurs, the Intrapreneur Labs and helping intrapreneurs within corporations to incubate and accelerate their ideas.

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