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The leadership challenge for all commercial organisations today is one of delivering continuous growth to their shareholders while trying to navigate an increasingly uncertain future and a world being transformed by dramatic advances in science and technology. There is also an underlying sense that we have to do everything faster – perhaps for fear that the opportunities may not last very long. In response, we are seeing the growing use of two key growth strategies — the quest for exponential growth and the growing use of corporate venturing. I discussed exponential growth in Part 1, and in Part 2 I focus on the learning and development implications of the adoption of corporate venturing.

Corporate venturing and intrapreneuring are seen as ways of buying ourselves faster learning and growth. As organisations wrestle with finding the right path to the future, we can expect a growing focus on the use of corporate venturing, or corporate venture capital. This is basically the investment of funds in external start-up companies. Intrapreneuring tends to be used to refer to investment in new venture ideas generated by internal team members. Typically, these venturing approaches are focused on capital and resource investments in firms and internally generated ideas that could enhance the core business, create enterprises in adjacent sectors, or generate ventures that could potentially disrupt and compete with the existing entity.

This business model may become increasingly popular as firms look to these startups to help speed up knowledge acquisition, learn about emerging technologies, accelerate entry to new markets, or access critical skills and resources. Core to the success of such models are intrapreneurs and venture managers who can help the ventures gain the support they need from the core business without the imposition of unnecessary central processes and controls. Alongside these venture management skills, success requires internal leaders and functional heads to have the ability to collaborate with new ventures which might threaten their existing business.

As the desire is typically to launch these venturing and internal incubator units at speed, a level of pre-emptive skills investment is required to establish the required structures and processes to manage the activities. Fast track approaches to learning here would include meeting with a range of such venture units in different organisations. These study tours can provide deep insight into the technical aspects of running venturing and how they have tackled the issues of securing internal support, ensuring accelerated decision making, and dealing with the conflicts that can arise as parts of the business feel threatened by the new initiatives and investments. Secondments to and from established venturing units and venture capital funds can also help with accelerated knowledge acquisition.

For internally generated initiatives, while the individuals may have great ideas, they may have little or not expertise in turning creativity into innovative new ventures. Hence, a range of programmes and learning experiences will be required to teach people how to structure an idea, turn it into a business proposition, test the concept, structure the business, and manage the process from business creation through to the launch of the first product or service.

The growing importance of both venturing and exponential strategies to the future strategic agenda provides a powerful opportunity for learning and development. The function can anticipate business needs and pro-actively seek out the experiences, training, and resources that could help accelerate the adoption of these strategies.

A version of this article originally appeared in Training Journal.


Fast Future publishes books from future thinkers around the world exploring how developments such as AI, robotics and disruptive thinking could impact individuals, society and business and create new trillion-dollar sectors. Fast Future has a particular focus on ensuring these advances are harnessed to unleash individual potential and enable a very human future. See:

Rohit Talwar is a global futurist, keynote speaker, author, and CEO of Fast Future where he helps clients develop and deliver transformative visions of the future. He is the editor and contributing author for The Future of Business, editor of Technology vs. Humanity and co-editor of a forthcoming book on The Future of AI in Business.





Perhaps you think I’m crazy or naive to pose this question. But more and more the past few months I’ve begun to wonder if there is a possibility here that this idea may not be too far off the mark.

Not because of some half-baked theory about a global conspiracy or anything of the sort but simply based upon the behavior of many multinational corporations recently and the effects this behavior is having upon people everywhere.

Again, you may disagree but my perspective on these financial giants is that they are essentially predatory in nature and that their prey is any dollar in commerce that they can possibly absorb. The problem is that for anyone in the modern or even quasi-modern world money is nearly as essential as plasma when it comes to our well-being.

It has been clearly demonstrated again and again — all over the world — that when a population has become sufficiently destitute that the survival of the individual is actually threatened violence inevitably occurs. On a large enough scale this sort of violence can erupt into civil war and wars, as we all know too well can spread like a virus across borders, even oceans.

Until fairly recently, corporations were not big enough, powerful enough or sufficiently meshed with our government to push the US population to a point of violence and perhaps we’re not there yet, but between the bank bailout, the housing crisis, the bailouts of the automakers, the subsidies to the big oil companies and ten thousand other government gifts that are coming straight from the taxpayer I fear we are getting ever closer to the brink.

Who knows — it might just take one little thing — like that new one dollar charge many stores have suddenly begun instituting for any purchase using an ATM or credit card — to push us over the edge.

The last time I got hit with one of these dollar charges I thought about the ostensible reason for this — that the credit card company is now charging the merchant more per transaction so the merchant is passing that cost on to you — however this isn’t the whole story. The merchant is actually charging you more than the transaction costs him and even if this is a violation of either the law or the terms and services agreement between the card company and the merchant, the credit card company looks the other way because they are securing a bigger transaction because of what the merchant is doing thus increasing their profits even further.

Death by big blows or a thousand cuts — the question is will we be forced to do something about it before the big corporations eat us alive?

Existential Threats