If you Google “innovation” you get 411 million hits. That’s a lot. If you Google Charlie Judy you get like 200. That’s not. There’s a really simple reason for this: Innovation is just a lot more interesting.
And it’s pretty damn important too. According to an annual PwC survey, “CEOs say the race to innovate defines today’s global business environment.” Sue Meisinger, retired CEO of SHRM, spoke this morning at the Annual Conference in Atlanta about “HRs role in Driving Innovation.” This is a good topic for HR. The packed house seemed to think so, at least. And for that I’m glad.
The good news: 89% of HR Executives Surveyed by SHRM say HR has a role in driving innovation in organizations. The bad news: they aren’t really doing anything about it. Roughly 70% of the same Executives responding to the same survey say they aren’t doing anything to screen candidates for their innovative savvy; and 70% say their performance management system does nothing to measure innovation. Huh.
This is the classic HR conundrum. We’re smart enough to know what we should be doing. But we just can’t seem to do it. Yes, there are lots of mitigating factors in this equation. I get that. But the biggest factor, in my opinion, is that we make it too complicated. We have the end in mind, but we over-engineer the hell out of the path to getting there. Slow it down, baby. Sue echoed these sentiments: Innovate incrementally and innovate iteratively. Here’s how to start (according to Lynda Gratton).
- Help create a cooperative mindset, where there’s trust and willingness to share information and ideas. It’s a ‘we’ thing.
- Give your organization the ability to share information across boundaries and outside the typical silos that exist. You do that, and you’ll greenhouse innovation.
- Understand, define, and articulate your organization’s “igniting purpose” and share it with people. People want a reason to do good work. Every employee plays an important role in your organization. Presumably they wouldn’t be employed if they didn’t. Help your people realize their purpose.
Image Credit: EssG