Article: Driving impact through innovation: An HR futurist’s view


Driving impact through innovation: An HR futurist’s view

The author talks about incorporating design thinking skills to create the right culture in the organization. Read on to know more.
Driving impact through innovation: An HR futurist’s view

What is culture?

Clinton Wingrove, the CEO of Clinton HR, delivered an excellent take on how to drive impact through innovation in the HR domain. The talk covered major areas like why and how HR needs to include innovation as a culture and not as a forced upon guideline. Here is the key takeaways from his brilliant cast:

HR shouldn’t be a servant, they should provide a service, Clinton said.

“It is no good having hiring great talent if they are falling behind, We’ve got to future proof our organizations and keep them ahead”

It is important that HR maximizes individual development as well, because:

“Most often organizations focus on High potential talent. High potential would develop despite you, not because of you, which is why they are high potential”

HR should also ensure there is sustainable talent across the organization not just for the next quarter, but for the next 3-5 years and this involves not just hiring the right talent, but also retaining them. The focus should be on minimizing the cost to acquire, retaining and nurturing this talent so as to have a meaningful return on the investment.

Innovation is not!

Innovation goes much beyond brainstorming, creativity, benchmarking, copying other’s ideas, using newer technology or just following fads.

“Innovation should be about getting that return on investment and not only about finding new ways of investing”

Innovation is!

Innovation is about generating ideas – ground breaking ideas that can ensure a return on investment. These ideas shouldn’t just be new; they need to have potential so they can be converted to meaningful, value added solutions.

How HR can be innovative

Innovation in organization structures: HR today is revolutionizing how holacuracy is, with globalization there is immense scope for innovation in relocation and talent acquisition.

Innovation in maximizing organization, team and individual performance: Behavior engineering has come a long way and is being applied across processes and tools. Roles are being redefined, while a creating a healthy and inclusive work environment has taken center stage.

Innovation in maximizing individual development: E-learning industry is probably one of the very few domains that accept change positively and is transforming rapidly. Real time feedback tools are helping managers keep their tone of communication in check, psychometric based development tools are helping target and train particular skills in certain individuals.

Innovation in talent acquisition: Automated head hunting tools have taken the industry by storm, talent acquisition is no longer about mapping skills- it is now about what more an individual can offer apart from his core skill set.

Innovation in reducing costs: Freelancers, gig workers, targeting the senior members of the society, including the millennial crowd to reduce costs - HR now has its disposal various way to engage with great talent with lower cost of acquisition

So why is HR struggling?

Stop incentivizing creativity: HR needs to focus on building a culture of creativity and not just reward a select few that came up with a good idea.

Stop benchmarking: Benchmarking is great for organizational reporting, but it doesn’t work in innovation. If anything, benchmarking often breeds mediocrity. HR needs to innovate and set a new standard that will help create differentiation and value.

Stop investing in the latest technology: Concentrate and look for the right technology and not the latest technology. The tools need to be appropriate for the organization and not just new/in-trend.

Stop investing the most popular solution: Organizations need to stop going after the “bright and shiny new thing”, most companies are keen to learn from other organizations that just implemented a new solution and showed value. But they need to step back and see if the solution will add value to their organization.

Stop looking for simple solutions: “Innovation is not about simplicity.  Simplicity often trivializes, and you cannot hope to innovate if you are always looking to simplify things”

A classic example is of Apple products, they are not the simplest devices to use, but they are easy, and that makes them work! HR needs to focus on making our work environment easier to engage with.

How do you create the right culture?

“Innovation is about taking creativity and turning it into added value”

  • Demonstrate that you believe in creativity and innovation

  • Build collective collaboration towards innovation 

  • Nurture paranoia and fear: Being successful simply means you have a higher chance of failure, so it is important to keep everyone in check and remind them that unless they keep innovating and creating, there is a high possibility of things going wrong

  • Call out the Nay-Sayers: There shouldn’t be a culture that encourages the “Yes, But...” crowd. Why?

    Because “Yes, but...” simply stifles creativity.

    Encourage them to say, “Yes, and we can do this...” or “ Yes, how do you propose we do that..”

    “Yes, but..” acknowledges someone’s ideas and then cuts off the legs off under them”

  • Add creativity to job profiles, protect resources, encourage creativity and tolerate mistakes

Keys to creativity:

  • Know your skills and differentiators 

  • Listen to your customers

  • Predict and design

  • Develop courage

  • Surround yourself with excellent talent

  • Engage with the diversity you have acquired, they are not just for numbers

What HR must stop doing

  • Stop relying on benchmarking

  • Stop trying to incentivize innovation

  • Stop viewing diversity as an optimal route to innovation

  • Stop relying on research and feedback alone. Innovate!

In conclusion, to be able to innovate in HR you need brilliant HR leaders - leaders who showcase commercial, technological and analytical acumen and are courageous to drive through their ideas with personal effectiveness and passion.  Innovation is key to survival and growth, so you need to create a culture of growth that celebrates attempts while rewarding success.

“Develop great HR leaders and not just good HR professionals”

(This article is curated from the session: Driving Impact through innovation: An HR futurist's view by Clinton Wingrove at People Matters TechHR’ 17)

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Topics: Diversity, #TechHR2017

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