Entrenovation – The Practice

Entrenovation is a practice that is separate from entrepreneurial practice. Entrenovation is the carrier of innovation.  It deals with entrenovational management, from the identification of a novel-idea through to completing the development of the idea to create a marketable product or service.

[Entrenovation] is neither a science nor an art.  It is a practice.  It has a knowledge base.  … [entrenovation] is not a personality trait, it is behaviour.  And its foundation lies in concept and theory rather than intuition1.  

Abridged from Drucker, Peter F.– Innovation and Entrepreneurship.  HarperCollins e-books.  Kindle Edition.

Entrenovation is a source of qualified innovative products and services developed through the practice of entrenovation.  These products and services will have been prepared for integration into a business by entrepreneurs who may want to start a company or manage the growth of a company.

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The “Practice of Entrenovation”

Whether resulting from the successful search for a novel-idea, an insightful flash of genius, or a suggestion from within the organization, the entrenoveur “owns” an innovative idea that may have significant potential as a business opportunity.  The entrenoveur(s) manage the process:

  • Identification of a novel idea, be it a flash of genius, a result of research, or internally generated by staff.
    • Through rigorous investigation and analysis, validate the idea and prepare a justification statement recommending development of the idea.
    • Upon acceptance of the recommendation a development project is born. 
    • The development project requires knowledgeable, possibly professional, project management input.
    • The developed product or service will be integrated onto a new business or be added to the growth potential of an existing business. 

The task of managing a project is nicely summed up in this quote2:

I keep six honest men (They taught me all I knew);

Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who.

Rudyard Kipling

2 Eric Verzuh, The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management, Fifth Edition– John Wiley & Sons, 2016 (Recommended, if not essential, reading)


Purposeful innovation 

The most successful path to organic corporate growth is purposeful innovation that is focused on opportunity rather than risk.  It must be market driven, aimed at market leadership, and take advantage of the strengths, interests and knowledge resident in the company.  Entrenoveurial flashes of genius are rare; rarer still are flashes of genius that qualify as justifiable opportunities.  Even the brilliant insights that pass the test remain the riskiest of innovative opportunities. Most of theinnovative success of enterprises will result from a purposeful, systematic entrenovation program.

The entrenoveurial enterprise 

 “A company’s business strategy focuses on winning, and innovation is a fundamental element of long-term success.  … The amount and type of innovation must match the company strategy.  … Clarity and alignment in the organization must surround the selected innovation strategy; it must fit the business situation and be clear throughout the organization”. 3 

Davila, Epstein, Shelton – Making Innovation Work, Updated Edition. FT Press.  Recommended reading.

The strategy (i.e. the business plan) of a company should specifically address the role innovation will play in the growth of the company.  That section of the plan should include the goals attendant thereto, and the policies and procedures expected to provide for the achievement of those goals.  It must also describe how the entrenoveurial and entrepreneurial practices will intersect and how the specific innovation will be championed to maximize the corporate benefit.

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Entrenovation is the organic growth engine.  Regardless of how entrenovation may be embedded in the enterprise structure, the entrenoveurial management is tasked with identifying novel-ideas, and to be the clearing-house for novel-ideas proposed within the organization.

  • Innovation is not an outcome that just happens, or results from creative thinking.  It is a process that needs to be defined, implemented, and managed.  The practice of entrenovation should be viewed as a purposeful systematic necessity of an enterprise.

Upon receiving approval to proceed with the development of the qualified novel-idea, a professional, or highly skilled, project manager should be engaged to create, and manage the execution of, a development plan.

“Project Management is a discipline – a set of methods, series, and technique that have evolved to manage the complexities of work that is unique and temporary”.2

Following development, the new product or service will be integrated into a new or existing business through the co-ordinated efforts of entrenoveurs and entrepreneurs.

The entrenoveurial new venture 

Even if the founder, or founding group, have experience in business, in recognition of the possible pitfalls that can plague a new venture. The founder(s) should:

  • Engage the services of a qualified advisor and consider forming a four-person committee to manage the venture; each member of the committee having an equal vote in the decision-making process.
  • Prior to generating a development plan, rigorously investigate the innovative novel-idea and proceed with development only when it is agreed such action is justified, as described in a detailed justification statement. 
  • Employ high-level project management skills to create and control the development of the justified novel-idea. 
  •  From the outset focus on the target market, and leadership in that market, must be accepted as critical and be maintained throughout the development period by adjusting and pivoting the program as necessary. 
  • Establish and rigorously maintain capital control and budgetary processes that identify monthly capital needs, at least twelve months in advance.

As the entrenoveurial development plan approaches a conclusion, and the market comes into view, a business plan will replace the development plan, and the organization will morph from entrenoveurial status and require entrepreneurial input to complete the integration of the product or service into the business.

As the new venture begins to take the form of a business a decision regarding the ongoing relationship of the founder(s) to continuing operations will be important.  It cannot be taken for granted that the entrenoveurial team, or a member of the team, will be sufficiently well versed in entrepreneurial practice to efficiently manage the new business. 

An entrenoveur identifies or acquires a novel idea and manages the process that converts the novel idea into a market-worthy product or service that, upon integration into a business, will disrupt business paradigms and assume a market leadership status.

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“Innovation is the specific function of [entrenovation], whether in an existing business, a public service institution, or a new venture started by a lone individual in the family kitchen. It is the means by which the [entrenoveur] either creates new wealth-producing resources or endows existing resources with enhanced potential for creating wealth”.

P. Drucker, The Discipline of Innovation.  Harvard Business Review, August 2002.

Read about: Entrenoveurs – the practitioners of Entrenovation