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 Rudyard Kipling quote: “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”. Eric Verzuh, The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management, Fifth Edition

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 the innovative 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. Davila, Epstein, Shelton. Making Innovation Work, Updated Edition. FT Press. 

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”. Eric Verzuh, The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management, Fifth Edition

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.

“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.

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The Innovation Process

Step 1. – An Idea

The entrenovational process flows from your “idea”: an innovative product or service. Questions that must be answered include:

  • What is the product/service?
  • Can the product/service be created?
  • What is the timeline to fully develop?
  • What resources will development employ?
  • What will be the cost of development?

 Step 2. – Validation and Justification

Complete the validation process and then write a Justification Statement – a succinct summarization of information gathered during the validation process. This is a significant undertaking that the founder(s) can complete with little cost and a lot of focused effort. Matters to be validated include, but are not limited to:

  • The viability of the product or service that is the idea.
  • Why will this product or service be important, or valuable, to a customer?
  • The market: it’s nature, size and accessibility? Potential? Location(s)?
  • Competition: nature of? Barriers to entry?
  • Financial considerations: revenue potential, operating expense, profitability. Will the outcome represent desired value?
  • Risks: identify and rank according to significance of threat.

If your founding group remains unshakeably convinced the idea is justified as the right opportunity, proceed to planning the project. Otherwise, re-visit the validation findings, or move on to the next idea.

Step 3. – Plan

I believe it is beneficial to think of the process not as a business but rather as a project. By definition a project is unique and has a finite existence. 

  • Develop and implement a budgetary control system that identifies needs at least twelve months in advance.
  • Utilize a project management professional or tools to develop the plan.
  • “Fail to plan … plan to fail” – trite but true.

Step 4. – Develop

  • Use classic feed-back loops during execution of the plan to keep the plan on budget, focused, and aimed at the target market.
  • If you are not aimed at the market, you will likely miss it!

Step 5. – Integrate

  • The entrenoveur will either employ entrepreneurial skills and, at the appropriate time, develop a business plan, or engage an entrepreneur to assist in the generation of a business plan.
  • Entrepreneurial skills will be required to execute the business plan, take the product or service to market. The entrepreneur may, or may not, be the entrenoveurial founder. If the project is internal to an existing business, the project will be integrated into the 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 –  H.B.R. August 2002.

Inclusive Democracy – Non-commercial innovation 

Innovation is not limited to business or non-profit endeavours. Following is a link to the description of a political system that excludes political parties and puts the policy making process in the hands of elected representatives who involve the individual constituencies in the policy making process absent the exclusive ministrations of political party elites. Inclusive Democracy – read on:

  • A democratic system whereby the governance of the country is accomplished by all of the people for all of the  people. It is secular and promotes individualism.
  • A shared view about the importance and necessity of providing the opportunity for all citizens to live decently; while recognizing the necessity and importance of the need to give all citizens the opportunity to achieve life goals beyond living decently, and 
  •  “… for democratic structures to endure – and be worthy of endurance –they must listen to their citizens’ voices, engage their participation, tolerate their protests, protect their freedoms, and respond to their needs”.  Diamond, Larry (2008) – The Spirit of Democracy

Disciplines and skills

Entrenoveurs are practitioners of entrenovation and are the managers of the innovation process.  The practice of entrenovation requires knowledgeable input from a variety of specialists and disciplines. 

  • Novel-idea identification that may include the following sources:
    • Bright ideas, and flashes of genius, while rare can be extremely rewarding.
    • Purposeful, systematic research of markets and products to identify novel-ideas to exploit unidentified and overlooked opportunities in existing product lines or markets. 
    • Novel utilization of an existing product.  For example, Apple did not invent the smart phone, but through novel adaptations became the world leader in the smart phone market.
  • Investigation of a novel-idea to determine the potential economic value of a product or service that would result from the development of the novel-idea. 
  • The preparation of formal justification report that supports and recommends the development of the proposed product or service.
  • The project management resources necessary to manage the unique and temporary process that will convert the novel-idea into a product or service.
  • Management of the integration process whereby the new product or service will be used to start a business or be taken into an existing business.