Michael J. Lippitz and Robert C. Wolcott,  leading authorities on innovation and corporate entrepreneurship, have been introducing readers at businessinsider.com to their concept of the ‘Four Models of Corporate Entrepreneurship’.

The Producer Model – the fourth of the models they have described – is similar to a “skunk works” organization made famous by Lockheed and a common recommendation in the innovation literature: a separate, well-funded organization to protect innovation projects from turf battles, encourage cross-unit collaboration, build potentially disruptive businesses, and create pathways for executives to pursue careers outside their business units.

Cisco epitomised this approach as, back in 2005, they created a new organization called the Emerging Markets Technology Group (EMTG). EMTG’s mission would be to detect important market trends while they were still nascent, conceive ways in which Cisco could take advantage of them, and organically grow new ventures inside the company.

To build integrated concepts, you need entrepreneurs. In many, if not most, companies, capable entrepreneurial project leaders are a rare breed. Cisco was fortunate, however. EMTG looked around the corporation and discovered that more than half of the entrepreneurs in the start-up companies it had acquired over the past 10 years were still working at Cisco. When these entrepreneurs found out what EMTG was doing, they came knocking.  Read the full story here