Innovate or die: Insights on entrepreneurial leadership

  • An environment that enables entrepreneurship and innovation needs to be consciously created and resourced.
  • Leadership style is essential in building a culture that will allow the organisation to flourish beyond the founder.
  • Research shows that small, autonomous, diverse, cross-functional work teams will yield greater innovation and creativity than a strictly controlled homogeneous workforce.

Lightbulb surrounded by illustrations of office paraphernalia, charts and diagrams

A certain type of organisation is dominating the market at present, following certain core principles based on and built to facilitate and enable innovation. For many, there is a belief that entrepreneurship is ethereal, a rare quality that some amongst us have and can grasp, yet elusive to others. However, exposure to entrepreneurship, both in practice and through academic readings leads one to believe that entrepreneurship is a management style; there is a structure, system and strategy that can be employed to enable and inspire an entrepreneurial workforce. For an organisation to survive competitively in any market today, it needs to enable proactivity, innovation, risk-taking, competitiveness and autonomy by employing an entrepreneurial orientation (EO)1 framework.

This article will focus on three key insights gleaned from a Bond University study tour visiting the following large tech companies Salesforce, LinkedIn, Uber, Google and Autodesk and incubators such as 500 Startups and River City Labs, including smaller Brisbane startups RedEye, Superloop, SiteSee and Codebots:

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