Enabling a culture of innovation and entrepreneurialism

Employers can support the entrepreneurial interests of their workforce and foster a culture of corporate innovation.


Accenture surveyed 600 corporate employees, 200 corporate business decision makers and 200 self-employed individuals in the United States. The survey aimed at better understanding how the workforce and small business owners view the importance of entrepreneurialism and how companies support idea generation.

Innovation has been a hot topic for almost a decade now. It's common to hear executives report that their employees are not creating enough new ideas to help the company grow. However, the reality is that most companies must work harder at nurturing, creating and enabling an entrepreneurial culture that encourages innovation. In fact, the best sources of innovation and creative thinking lies within the companies.

Our survey looks at answering the following key questions:

  • How important is an entrepreneurial attitude among employees of large corporations?

  • How much is it currently valued by companies in the United States? 

  • In what ways can large organizations foster an entrepreneurial attitude among young employees and what are the benefits of doing so?


Download PDFExplore the survey findings in detail and find out how your company can become an effective clearinghouse for innovative ideas and their swift implementation.

Key Findings

Here are the key findings that emerged from our survey:

  • Nine in 10 respondents say an entrepreneurial attitude can lead to new ideas that promote growth in a tough economy.

  • Nearly half the respondents believe management support is critical, but only one in five believes their company delivers it.

  • More than half the respondents have tried pursuing an entrepreneurial idea within their company despite the perceived lack of support.

  • Eighty-five percent of respondents say their ideas have been focused on internal improvements rather than external, and 98 percent claim their ideas, which were implemented, have been successful.

  • More than one in four respondents seem to have avoided pursuing an idea due to concerns about negative consequences, and three in four say their company rewards an entrepreneurial idea only if it works.

  • More than 60 percent believe collaborative thinking, which corporations can readily support, is the best source for new ideas.

  • Among the self-employed respondents, 93 percent pursued ideas with their previous employers, but 57 percent say their company was not very supportive.

  • There is some good news too: 55 percent say their companies are better at supporting entrepreneurialism than they were five years ago.


We recommend that companies create a model to nurture entrepreneurial talent built on a push-pull cycle as described below:

  • Push: Encourage senior management to incorporate appropriate levels of risk and tolerance of failure within business units; create programs to promote an entrepreneurial culture and clarify the rules for employees; and implement processes and infrastructures to enable collaborative idea generation.

  • Pull: Implement clear incentive policies that offer appropriate rewards for idea generation, not just successful implementation; establish a clearinghouse process by which business cases for new ideas can be cleared, accelerated or shut down; and create an internal ecosystem, including mentors, outside business advisors and venture capital expertise to accelerate assessment and commercialization.

It is clear from this survey that businesses should look within their own company for entrepreneurial ideas and effectively harvest the ideas with true potential.