Gifford Pinchot

Gifford Pinchot


Gifford PinchotGifford Pinchot is an author, an educator, a coach, and a consultant. He is committed  to the wellbeing of clients, humanity, and life on Earth. With his wife, Libba, he coined the word “intrapreneur” and started the intrapreneurship movement. He has co-founded and run businesses in manufacturing, consulting, and software, and a non-profit in education. Gifford’s experience as a serial entrepreneur, turnaround CEO, innovation consultant, angel capitalist, and technology strategist has honed his ability to build capacity for innovation in organizations. His compassion and coaching experience have made him a good friend when the issues go deeper than just business.

Sustainable Intrapreneuring education: After decades helping companies build innovation cultures and launch over 800 new products and businesses, Gifford is now focused on using the tools of intrapreneurship to deliver profitable innovations that address society’s major problems, such as climate change, poverty, refugees, and environmental health. He designs and teaches intrapreneurship programs both live and online. A typical program has three phases:

  1. Widespread education that emboldens intrapreneurial employees and prepares leaders to manage them
  2. Quick wins: Accelerator workshops that take teams of sustainability intrapreneurs through planning and implementing triple bottom line innovations
  3. The long march of culture change to make beneficial innovation a way of life throughout the organization. This third capacity building phase includes discovery and analysis of sustainable innovation strengths and weaknesses, education, and face-to-face coaching of the organizational leaders from many functions. This is a journey of co-creation and experimentation as we learn together what culture and systems of sustainable innovation are appropriate to the organization.

Coaching: Gifford’s coaching usually includes co-developing solutions to specific business and people challenges, co-creating lasting core competencies, and striving for the client’s happiness and fulfillment.

Consulting: Gifford helps leaders make their organizations more innovative and sustainable. This may include designing and helping to implement sustainability capacity building programs or co-creating solutions to specific problems. In larger consulting projects, he works with diverse teams of outside experts.

Speaking: Gifford has been a keynoter for many years, speaking on innovation and sustainable business.

His story

Gifford, with the help of Libba, wrote Intrapreneuring: Why You Don’t Have to Leave the Corporation to Become and Entrepreneur. It was a NY Times bestseller and published in 15 languages.

Since 1983 Gifford and his wife, Libba have founded run Pinchot & Company, a consulting and training business that has served over half of the Fortune 100 and worked on every continent except Antarctica. The company delivers live and online learning and accelerators as well as coaching and cultural interventions to increase innovation capacity.

Part of our reason for championing intrapreneuring is that when you let employees select what they want to be intrapreneurial about, an essential element of the role, employees gravitate toward purpose driven projects that not only serve customers and shareholders, but also serve the planet and the people of Earth. Of course, being on an intrapreneurial team also makes the lives of employees much more fulfilling, which makes intrapreneurship a powerful tool for attraction, motivation, and retention of talent. Intrapreneuring provides a way to relate constructively to the millennials and the younger generations as well as everyone whose jobs include substantial amounts of creativity and caring. Those are the jobs that cannot be done by machines, so increasingly intrapreneurship management lessons apply to supervising most employees.

In 2002 the Pinchots co-founded and led the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, the first school to offer an MBA in Sustainable Business. That school showed that a school could include a concern with environment and social justice in every course and still attract students and place them in good jobs. This launched and then accelerated the movement to bring sustainability into the MBA in other schools. In 2016, the school  merged with Presidio Graduate School.

Mr. Pinchot has received numerous awards in his lifetime, among them, Executive Excellence, listing him in the top 20 of leadership thinkers. In 2009 he was awarded the Olympus Lifetime Education Award and in 2010 he and his wife were both named Purpose Prize fellows. In 1965 Mr. Pinchot graduated from Harvard University with honors in economics with a minor in social relations. He completed the coursework for a PhD in neurophysiology at Johns Hopkins.

If you have a possible assignment for Pinchot & Company, please email He’d be happy to set up a call to explore whether we might be able to help.