I enjoyed your article on Gifford Pinchot III and intrapreneurship ("Secrets of Intrapreneurship," January), but I believe that Pinchot makes a mistake in tying down the number of "mavericks" allowable to the chief executive officer's span of control. If an organization is large enough, responsibility for intrapreneurship could be shared at several executive levels. Quasi-boards of directors combining both inside and outside experience could be formed and charged with responsibility for overseeing each venture, with the insiders drawn from other than the CEO's office.
Such expansion of intrapreneurial ventures would allow a portfolio approach to funding, which, by allowing a mix of risk/reward investments, would in turn provide for higher confidence levels in the overall return. Spreading responsibility would be likely to facilitate the organizational commitment to innovation. Limiting intrapreneurship to one maverick, on the other hand, could lead to low-risk ventures or to an unacceptable failure rate.
While Pinchot's concept of "intracapital" is an interesting addition to the list of such intrapreneurial approaches as brand management, task teams, and skunk works, I will be curious to see the extent to which intrapreneurs will accept it as the payoff in their search for freedom, power, and recognition. It may prove useful in retaining technical intrapreneurs, but my guess is that those who want to run it all will find it less than satisfactory.