While corporate entrepreneurship sometimes succeeds in companies due to cultural and leadership factors, most firms struggle in their attempts to create new businesses for strategic renewal. In this chapter, observations are offered from an 11-year research program on managing breakthrough innovation in large established firms. The results indicate that expertise development in breakthrough innovation, and, by implication, several specific categories of corporate entrepreneurship, is in its infancy and some of the management practices that plague these attempts are described. Among these are: (a) a lack of distinction between current strategy and strategic intent, which influences evaluation criteria used to judge project progress and success; (b) the failure of project managers to address the full complement of technical, market, resource, and organizational uncertainties they face; (c) the failure of breakthrough innovation program leaders to operate with a portfolio mentality; (d) undertaking breakthrough innovation projects without regard to the complete set of management system elements that support the high uncertainty context that plague them; and (e) high rates of turnover among personnel, which prevent the learning required to develop sophisticated expertise. Propositions are offered for management practices that may help develop a dynamic capability for breakthrough innovation as a form of corporate entrepreneurship.
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