Episode 2: Intrapreneurship & Innovation

The speed of change and the ever-increasing challenges faced by organizations and communities require new solutions, but how do we ramp up our capacity to innovate? And, can innovation be taught? This week, we explored the connection between creativity and innovation and the emerging concept of intrapreneurship.

I was motivated to explore this topic after reading an article about Tina Seelig, who is the executive director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program—the entrepreneurship center at Stanford University School of Engineering. In her book inGENIUS: A Crash Course on Creativity (HarperOne, 2012), she offers a practical approach for embedding innovation into organizations, a model she has coined as the Innovation Engine. Seelig believes that creativity is the spark of innovation. And, rather than seeing creativity as an innate talent that some have and some don’t, she sees it as a process that can be taught.

Rick Duke, Founding Director of the UWF Center for Entrepreneurship, joined us this week and shared his thoughts about the emerging concept of intrapreneurship, which is being championed by the Center as an approach to building innovation within organizations. A simple definition of an intrapreneur is someone working within an organization who takes hands-on responsibility for creating innovation within the organization. I was inspired by his ideas and what UWF is doing to build greater creative capacity within people and organizations.

Rick’s experience in entrepreneurship and economic development is extensive, including 25 years at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He also spent four years as Director of the Economic Development Institute, which was named the “best university-based economic development organization in the country” by Innovation Associates in 2005. Rick then transitioned to the University of Southern Mississippi where he was hired in 2010 to lead the startup of the Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship, a university-based community engagement enterprise. Prior to taking the helm at the UWF Center for Entrepreneurship, he was the Director for Economic Development and Executive Director for Insight Park at the University of Mississippi. In that role, Rick established a framework for the technology incubator and research park marketing plan and engaged the university community to identify knowledge assets suited for both economic development and university-industry partnerships.

Given his knowledge and expertise, I knew he would have a lot of interesting things to say. Take a listen below to our conversation.

And if you’re interested in finding your own inner entrepreneur, I recommend registering for the UWF Center for Entrepreneurship’s upcoming August 4th workshop – Achieve Success in the Workplace by Unleashing your Inner Entrepreneur.

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