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Social Entre(Intra)preneurship & Government

There’s no doubt about it. Entrepreneurship is hot. But what if you don’t want to leave gov to start your own organization? Can you still be a dynamic, creative change agent? Absolutely. Enter socialintrapreneurship.

According to The American Heritage Dictionary, an intrapreneur is “a person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation.” But you don’t have to be in the private sector to be an intrapreneur. Replace “corporation” with “organization” and define “profitable” as “measurable social change,” and, voila, you have the social intrapreneur.

What skills does a social intrapreneur need? The same ones as any social entrepreneur: a clear vision, passion for their cause, a strategy for effecting measurable change, stellar written & oral communication skills, the ability to persuade and rally supporters, a strong work ethic and a thick skin. Because social intrapreneurs work inside existing structures, they also need great people and political skills as well as a solid understanding of how their organization currently operates and why.

So how do you develop these skills in yourself or cultivate an environment conductive to social intrapreneurship on your team? Great places to start your learning include the GreenBiz.com 3-part series on social intrapreneurship, Net Impact’s Making Your Impact at Work toolkit, and Echoing Green’s Work on Purpose toolkit.

Want to do more than just read? Attend the 2012 Next Generation of Government training summit (July 26-27), where you will get to interact with and learn intrapreneurial skills directly from amazing social change leaders, including Echoing Green Senior Vice President Lara Galinsky, Social Change Diva Ericka Hines and Venture Philanthropy Partners founder & author Mario Morino.

Want more in-depth training that one weekend allows? Check out George Mason University’s brand new interdisciplinary Masters degree program specifically for social entrepreneurs and social intrapreneurs. This degree is uniquely:

  • Interdisciplinary: instructors hail from all corners of the university;
  • Participatory: rigorous coursework blends seamlessly with experiential learning involving hands-on, real-world practice;
  • Innovative: The Mason Center for Social Entrepreneurship, in partnership with Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, surrounds students with a community, and provides students an array of opportunities to network, apply their learning to create real impact, and launch new ventures; and
  • Flexible: the degree can be pursued full-time or part-time, and the curriculum allows students to explore in-depth the social issues they are most passionate about.

Rolling admissions for fall 2012 close on August 1.

With all of these resources, what’s stopping you? Get your social intrapreneurship on today!

Bethany Rubin Henderson is the Founder & Executive Director of City Hall Fellows, a non-partisan service corps building the next generation of local civic leaders. She also serves as Senior Strategist for the Mason Center for Social Entrepreneurship at George Mason University.

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