Controversy Over HR, Workplace Creativity and Innovation – Insert People Who Break Things


For more than 25 years I have held to the belief that innovation, the element of exceeding customer expectations faster and with more rapidity than ones competitors while seemingly challenging isn’t difficult if you focus more on HR than merely R&D. The most successful innovation strategies quite actually are the ones who focus primarily on people and human capital. So think about it.  As you seek novel ways to reduce costs and increase profits you only have to go as far as your HR department. That will begin by staffing it with talent as opposed to “do-drop ins that don’t fit anywhere else. All due respect to the countless talented people currently in HR. The other would be to give HR a bigger chair in the C-suite. Below are a few tips on innovating hr. I repeat hire people in HR who want to break things. Jim.

“Contrary to popular perception, an organization’s success does not appear to be determined by a company’s R&D spending; rather the most successful corporate innovation strategies are the ones that predominantly focus on people and human capital issues.

The ten best ways HR can improve workplace creativity and innovation (you’ll need to provide your own drum roll):

10. Reward innovation via more engaging work and/or autonomy

Creative types aren’t always motivated by money — for them, the work is the reward. Allow those creative minds the flexibility and space to create.

9. Track innovation talent at both the college undergraduate and/or graduate level.

Innovation is one of the largest differentiators between high- and low-performing organizations, and the battle for that innovative talent is heating up once again. The most effective companies find the brightest minds earlier than their competitors — sometimes even before graduation. Qualcomm leverages an intern program to attract technical talent from top universities, and encourages its best performers to return to their schools as “campus ambassadors.”

8. Put in place a formalized or structured idea/innovation review process.

When the creative ideas come flowing in, the next step is to create gates that allow purposeful review of those ideas, so that budgets for new projects can be allocated correctly.

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7. Provide internal training in creativity and innovation practices.

Innovation and creativity levels vary from person to person, but that doesn’t mean those abilities can’t be improved. Research shows there are proven methods of improving the innovation process in the brain – take advantage of these. Capital One Financial provides employee teams with the time, tools, training and settings to address specific business challenges in creative ways.

6. Put in place discrete budgets to fund innovation projects external to the enterprise (i.e. to generate ideas or products from non-employees).

Don’t limit your avenues of innovation — many groundbreaking ideas come from unlikely sources, and when it comes to innovation, more is almost always better. Even small rewards can be enough to interest customers in submitting their ideas.

5. Have a formal program to find and promote creative/innovative programs, products, or ideas.

There’s innovation happening all the time at your organization — without a way to harness and showcase that creativity, much of it could be going to waste.

4. Tie individual bonuses and/or salary increases to innovation.

You can’t buy creativity, but you can show that innovation is a key component of your organization by rewarding the innovative minds in your business. Only 15% of companies surveyed by i4cp indicated that they had these financial rewards for innovation — this is certainly an area for improvement.

Flextronics has instituted programs that reward creative ideas and innovations monetarily and through recognition. It has two bi-yearly awards focused specifically on innovation — one chosen for the best idea and results overall, the other for the best cost reduction idea.

3. Include innovation as a major competency in leadership development plans.

Having innovative leaders helps promote the commitment to creativity in your organization, but only 26% of responding companies include innovation as a key competency. At 3M, innovation and leadership are linked directly, and innovation is part of each leader’s responsibility.

2. Define and promote organizational values related to innovation.

Having an explicit message that innovation is important creates a more robust environment for innovation, and can allow employees to feel safer when taking the risks necessary for successful innovation.

via The 10 Best Ways HR Can Improve Workplace Creativity and Innovation 


Jim Woods is president of The Jim Woods Group. A management consulting firm. Go here to see his work He advises and speaks to organizations large and small on how to increase top line growth in times of uncertainty and complexity. Some of his speaking and consulting clients include: U.S. Army, MITRE Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Whirlpool, and 3M. See more at his website

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Posted in Human Resources, Innovation, Leadership
One comment on “Controversy Over HR, Workplace Creativity and Innovation – Insert People Who Break Things
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