I just started reading Linda Rottenberg's book Crazy Is a Compliment: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Zags at a recommendation from a friend. I haven't gotten too far yet but am enjoying it.
Linda begins by explaining how the book is different than others on entrepreneurship and then defines the four types of entrepreneurs. One of them, the "skunks," actually are not what most people would consider true entrepreneurs.
Skunks work for large corporations, yet because they have entrepreneurial mindsets and see the world differently, they end up innovating within the confines of corporate America.
Linda shares some interesting stories of how several really successful ideas were started covertly (aka, "skunk" projects) and only presented to senior management once proven successful. A great example is Clorox's ecologically friendly line which went on to be a huge success.
Being a skunk not only takes creativity and courage, but the drive to see an idea through, despite difficulty and lack of support. This is what all entrepreneurs need and why skunks are entrepreneurs despite also being corporate workers.
Reading this made me realize the power of individual drive. Yes, culture is important, as is having a supportive boss, but people that are skunks figure out how to work around whatever constraints stand in their way. Very impressive and not very typical.
Have you known a "skunk"? What other characteristics allowed them to innovate and succeed?