unusual pioneers @ 2020
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Frequently Asked Questions

01What is the Unusual Pioneers Program?

Unusual Pioneers is a global platform for corporate social intrapreneurs to scale,exchange and elevate social intrapreneurship in their parent companies.

We provide solid tools, insights and guidance for scaling impact and gaining influence. Together with Yunus Social Business, Porticus, and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, sister organisation of the World Economic Forum, Unusual Pioneers was created to support Corporate Social Intrapreneurs in transforming our economy into a force for good.

02What does “social intrapreneurship” mean?

A Social Intrapreneur is an entrepreneurial employee in a corporate organization who develops a profitable new product, service, or business model that creates value for society and/or planet. Social intrapreneurs help their employers meet sustainability commitments and create value for customers and communities in ways that are built to last.

We see two general approaches to social intrapreneurship, and intrapreneurs across either category are welcome to apply:

  • Business Model Creators
    • Social intrapreneurs who have created a social business model and are looking for visibility, scale and systemic transformation of their parent company.
    • (e.g., Product Owners for Social Innovation Products, Founders of Corporate Social Businesses)
  • Catalyzers
    • Social intrapreneurs who drive change and organizational transformation through social intrapreneurship initiatives. If you are looking for systemic change through innovative strategy, HR or CSR, apply now.
    • (e.g., Initiators of Sustainable supply-chain initiatives, Managers of Social Intrapreneurship Programs)

03What are the selection criteria?

All applicants must submit an online application, followed by interviews with the program team. We are looking for intrapreneurs that meet the following criteria:

  • Impact: You have a clear and measurable impact on people and/or planet.
  • Scale: You have a working prototype or fully functional product/initiative in place and are looking to bring your initiative to the next level
  • Tracktion: You join with first customers and, possibly, even early revenues
  • Collaboration: You are eager to work with cross-sector & cross-industry experts
  • Transformation leadership: You are eager to support your parent organization’s transformation by direct collaboration with your Executive Board

04Who is behind the program?

Unusual Pioneers is supported by 15 globally leading sector organizations, founded as a joint programme by Yunus Social Business, Porticus, and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, sister organisation of the World Economic Forum.

Yunus Social Business is an organization harnessing the power of business to end poverty through social business — a model pioneered by our co-founder, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus. YSB has supported or invested in over 1,800 social entrepreneurs worldwide to build meaningful social businesses in agriculture, health, education, mobility, clean water, and energy. We also accelerate the transformation of corporations into net ‘people and planet’ positive businesses by applying their core competencies to some of the greatest human challenges.

  • Schwab Foundation For Social Entrepreneurship The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship — the sister organization of the World Economic Forum — is a leading global platform that accelerates outstanding models of social innovation worldwide by highlighting and supporting social innovators in business, government, and civil society.
  • Porticus Porticus manages the philanthropic activities of the Brenninkmeijer family entrepreneurs, collaborating with partners around the globe to foster human dignity, social justice, and sustainability.

Unusual Pioneers is supported by the following sector-leading organizations:

  • The League of Intrapreneurs
  • FDC
  • Craigberoch Business Decelerator
  • Acumen
  • Ashoka
  • Business-Fight-Poverty
  • Business Call to Action
  • Circle of Intrapreneurs
  • The Dive
  • First Moveis
  • Futurice
  • Impact Hub
  • Impak

05What's in it for me as an intrapreneur?

The program curriculum is built around four pillars: implementation of initiatives, personal development &leadership skills, organizational readiness, and (public) advocacy. At the end of the program, participants leave with tangible skills and industry insights they need to scale their initiative, but also an increased capacity to innovate, lead, and navigate their organization.

Unusual Pioneers Program Structure

06How can I participate?

Apply for the 2022 cohort under www.unusualpioneers.com

07What can I expect by the end of the program?

We work with each intrapreneur to set and work towards specific goals for the program duration based on exactly where they are with their initiative, where they most need to grow, but each intrapreneur can expect to come out with the following:

  • Implementation
  • Tangible progress on implementation challenges identified. For example:
  • Clear Customer & Beneficiary Discovery
  • Product Strategy
  • Organizational setup/structuring (Where and how to position the program/the product internally)
  • Storytelling-Approach & Pitch deck
  • Leadership
  • Entrepreneurship Mindset, Tools & Methods, Navigating the internal political landscape of your company
  • Organizational readiness
  • Organizational setup/structuring (Where and how to position the program/the product internally). For example:
  • How to set up organizational structures that benefit purpose-driven innovation
  • How to advocate for structures that incentivise purpose leadership amongst employees
  • Advocacy
  • Communications and public advocacy for social intrapreneurship

08Who will be my mentors?

Each intrapreneur is supported by mentors from the social sector and industry. The curriculum content is primarily delivered through one-on-one sessions with our 100+ topic mentors with deep knowledge in specific curriculum topics. Peer mentoring with fellow intrapreneurs will help build strong connections in the cohort and create long-lasting relationships.

09What is the price of the program?

The price of the ‘Full Growth Journey’ is 38.000 € (net of VAT). The price of the ‘Customised Growth Journey’ is between 10.000 - 23.000 € (net of VAT, depending on the chosen set of topics). Scholarships can be granted to intrapreneurs with demonstrated impact-focus in developing markets and a clear intention to drive their parent company’s transformation.

Executive Circle

10What is the Executive Circle? How do the Executive Circle and Unusual Pioneers interlink?

The Executive Circle is a C-level Circle and an integral part of the Unusual Pioneers Program. Within the Executive Circle, board members of the corporate social intrapreneurship initiative participating in the 9 month Unusual Pioneers Program have the opportunity to exchange in an exclusive closed group of peers. The objectives of the circle are threefold:

  • Create buy-in from executives to personally support individual Social Intrapreneurship Initiatives
  • Foster exchange between executives to drive purpose transformation, moving their businesses towards becoming net positive contributors* to society. (*Business that returns more to society and environment than what it consumes).
  • Drive executive commitment to take an active role in driving the company’s transformation to combine financial and social values.

11Who participates in the Executive Circle?

The Executive Circle is designed for members of the Executive Board of the companies of participating social intrapreneurs. As the objective is to support the acceleration of the social intrapreneurship initiative and the transformation of the participating companies, ideally the CEO her-/himself becomes a member of the Executive Circle. However, the company also can also participate within the Executive Circle with a different executive board member. The participating board member should be part of the global executive board. If the social intrapreneurship initiative is located in a regional unit, a regional executive board member is also welcomed in addition.

12How much exchange will there be between the Unusual Pioneers and the members of the Executive Circle?

There is a continuous exchange between the social intrapreneur and “her/his” Executive Circle member, since one of the pivotal points of the Unusual Pioneers Program is to generate more top management attention for the social intrapreneur’s initiative. The exchange will include informal exchanges, access to resources and creation of visibility.

Furthermore, there will also be the opportunity for unusual pioneers to exchange with executive circle members from other companies mostly in an informal context. However, a limited number of initiatives will also be presented during the Executive Circle meetings.